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Via Starbucks.
Via Starbucks.

Starbucks today unveiled its first-ever original content series called “Upstanders” that it hopes will “inspire Americans to engage in acts of compassion, citizenship and civility.”

Via Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks.
Via Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks.

The coffee giant on Wednesday released ten stories “about ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities,” according to the company’s news release.

Each story comes with written and video content. Starbucks will also release weekly podcasts related to the stories.

This is not Starbucks’ first foray into digital content — it has a partnership with music streaming company Spotify, for example — but it does represent its first big foray into original content.

The series is written and produced by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Executive Producer Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former senior editor at The Washington Post.

“We’ve asked ourselves what is the role and responsibility of a public company and, as citizens, how we can catalyze hope in a time when we need more optimism, empathy, compassion and leadership,” Schultz said in a statement.  “The upstanders featured in this series are inspiring individuals whose actions are emblematic of the American spirit and what is missing from so much of today’s national dialogue. We have always been storytellers at heart, and more of these stories need to be heard. We are using our scale to share them as broadly as possible.”

Schultz told Business Insider that the point of “Upstanders” isn’t to sell more coffee, but rather to inspire and unite Americans. Schultz, who is now focusing on long-term projects, has long been vocal about political and societal issues in America. At the company’s most recent shareholders meeting, he said that U.S. political leaders have caused “dysfunction and polarization.”

“Broken promises — void of truth and leadership — have led to a lack of trust and confidence not only in our elected officials, but in our institutions,” he said in March.

The stories will be available on various platforms, including Starbucks’ website and mobile app, on Medium, and through media partnerships with Mic.com and Upworthy. New podcasts hosted by Schultz and Chandrasekaran will debut each week.

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