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Starbucks Coffee Company donates $550,000 to King County’s White Center Heights Park

Published 01-20-07

Submitted by Starbucks Corporation

January 19, 2007 - Just like the reality TV shows featuring extreme home makeovers in only a few days, the White Center community is getting a new park, thanks to the generosity of the Starbucks Neighborhood Parks Program.

A $550,000 gift from Starbucks Coffee Company is the largest ever received by King County Parks and will fund an "ultimate makeover" of White Center Heights Park over a period of just seven days. The donation is part of Starbucks $1 million commitment in 2007 to neighborhood parks in the Puget Sound area.

The underdeveloped 5.57 acre park is located at a hub of activity for children and families. White Center Heights Elementary School, the Boys & Girls Club and Greenbridge Development are across the street.

The park-in-a-week transformation will come with the help of residents, community groups, King County staff and hundreds of Starbucks partners (employees) after community meetings are held to decide what the makeover should accomplish.

"This gift will not only give White Center a new, beautiful park, it will also build community spirit as people help plan what the makeover should look like and then join in the work parities," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "The county is grateful to receive such a generous contribution that will have such a positive impact on so many lives."

"Starbucks coffeehouses are gathering places for the community," said Cosimo LaPorta, Vice President of Pacific Northwest Operations. "We look at parks the same way "“ places that mirror the character of the community, where people can reflect, reenergize and play. Through our gift for White Center Heights Park and the upcoming Ultimate Park Makeover in June, we are proud and excited to work with the White Center community to renovate and create a new gathering place."

Two community meetings are scheduled to hear people’s ideas for possible amenities in the redesigned park, Feb. 6th and 15th from 6-8 p.m. at White Center Heights Elementary School, 10015 6th Ave SW. in the Multi-purpose Room. Spanish and Vietnamese translators will be available for the meetings at the school.

The Starbucks Ultimate Park Makeover at White Center Heights Park will be this year’s signature project for the Starbucks Neighborhood Parks program. The park renovation will involve significant improvements identified by community members. Improvements could include a new playground, major landscaping and structural improvements. The park-in-a-week makeover will be a volunteer event in June.

"The Starbucks Ultimate Park Makeover is a great example of King County Parks’ commitment to finding innovative way of doing business," said Parks Director Kevin Brown. "We pride ourselves on finding partners such as Starbucks who will work with us and the community to increase amenities which make our neighborhoods better places to live."

"The revitalization of White Center Heights Park will provide a terrific benefit to the community, especially for students at White Center Heights Elementary School, the Boys & Girls Club, and the new residents at the Greenbridge development, which is scheduled to open in August," said King County Councilmember Dow Constantine, whose Eighth Council District includes White Center.

Sims launched the White Center Enhancement Initiative in 2005 with $15 million in King County investments to promote White Center advancement. Since then, King County has leveraged millions more in private investment, such as this.

Starbucks Commitment to Neighborhood Parks

The Starbucks Neighborhood Parks Program was created in 2000 to focus the Company’s commitment to building community by supporting park improvement projects in the Puget Sound region. Since its inception, the Starbucks Neighborhood Parks Program has provided $2.4 million in funding to help protect and revitalize over 104 park projects in the Puget Sound area. The company supports local parks because they play a role similar to that of its coffee shops, by providing a Third Place where people gather and build a strong sense of community.

Through the Starbucks Parks Fund, the company funded three signature renovations in 2005: King County Trails Wayfinding System, Wright Park Play and Sprayground in Tacoma and the Van Asselt Play Area in Seattle. In 2006, the Parks Fund funded the renovation of Powell Barnett Park for the first-ever Starbucks Ultimate Park Makeover.

In addition to the White Center Heights Park gift, the Starbucks Neighborhood Park Grants Program will again provide 30 grassroots volunteer organizations with grants of up to $15,000 this year to improve their local parks. Any neighborhood-based organization can apply for one of these grants. The application process begins in June. For more information visit starbuckslovesparks.com .

About Starbucks

Starbucks Coffee Company provides an uplifting experience that enriches people’s lives one moment, one human being, one extraordinary cup of coffee at a time. To share in the experience, visit www.starbucks.com.

About King County Parks "“ Your Big Backyard

King County Parks "“ Your Big Backyard, offers more than 25,000 acres of parks and natural lands, including such regional treasures as Marymoor Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 175 miles of regional trails, plus pools and a world-class aquatic center. By cultivating strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partners, King County Parks enhances park amenities while reducing costs. Learn more at http://www.metrokc.gov/parks/ .

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Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks Corporation

It's the way we do business Contributing positively to our communities and environment is so important to Starbucks that it's a guiding principle of our mission statement. We jointly fulfill this commitment with partners (employees), at all levels of the company, by getting involved together to help build stronger communities and conserve natural resources.

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