Unique partnerships: How beer brewers are working with nonprofits to support social change


Many beer brewers are passionate about perfecting their craft while making a difference. (Photo credit: visitflanders, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Summer has finally arrived here in Oregon, and with that, craft beer month. In July, we celebrate Oregon brewers by hosting a variety of events including festivals, tastings, and meet-and-greets. While some folks kick off the summer by relaxing in the sun with a great beer, many breweries and nonprofits in Oregon and around the country are using our love of this beverage to work together and do some good.

To help budding brewers develop their businesses and careers, the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation in Oregon has a scholarship program that sends brewers from the Pacific Northwest to the Siebel Institute of Technology and the American Brewers Guild to further their knowledge and expertise of the industry. Additionally, the Foundation hosts an annual golf tournament that kicks off the Oregon Brewers Festival. During this event, participants pair up with local brewers for a morning of golf and beer to support the growing northwestern tradition of crafting beer. By supporting local brewers, the foundation ensures the industry and history of northwestern brewing live on.

Another foundation created by craft-beer lovers, brewers, and distributors is the Beer for Brains Foundation in Arizona. Beer for Brains is a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about brain cancer, helping fund groundbreaking research leading to a cure, and giving compassion to its victims. Each year they host large-scale craft-beer appreciation and fundraising events all over the country working in partnership with breweries and local organizations. The money raised goes to support the development of cutting-edge brain cancer research and treatment options at the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC), in Phoenix, AZ. The goal is to encourage people to have fun while making a difference.

The Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware also encourages people to have fun while doing good by donating beer, brewpub gift certificates, and Dogfish merchandise to local nonprofits. One of their biggest efforts has been the Dogfish Dash – a 5 and 10K run. Over the past few years, the race has raised more than $100,000 for the Delaware chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Whether or not you’re a beer connoisseur, you can find plenty of social events that combine entertainment and an opportunity to give back. Ask around and check out what’s going on around where you live! Or if YOU want to partner with a local brewery, find one near you and ask if they work with nonprofits. Meanwhile, here at Idealist, we’ll say “cheers” to enjoying a beer while benefiting our community.

Have you partnered with beer brewers? Share your experiences below.

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