Charity

Brewery News: We’re a very-small number of weeks away from starting to brew beer at the new place; after that, it’s a couple of weeks until “real opening” and first-beer-served. Then more styles will come on-line fairly quickly after that. I post pix and general updates a few times a week over on our Facebook page (I believe you can view it without an account/logging in).

It has always been a big part of the ManyFriends business model to do charitable things. In the past, our focus has been on the environment and giving a boost-up to kids who don’t have all the advantages that we had growing up. We’ll likely continue along those lines, though helping kids is now slightly complicated by us being an alcohol production facility. This is not insurmountable, but it makes things less straightforward than they used to be. I also think it’d be more ManyFriends-ish to give the customers more agency in what we do.

Ooo, first I should probably talk about the “what we do” part. Of course, it’s easy to write a check to one’s favorite foundation — and we do some of that — but we strongly prefer a more active participation in our charity; something to give it more of a “helping the community” (as opposed to “buying the community presents”) feel. By way of example, spending time building homes with Habitat or working at the Homeless Garden Project or acting as adoption councilor for the local animal rescue or working the local Food Bank — those are the sorts of “participatory” activities that we prefer.

…And our new status as “#1 brewery in Saratoga”* puts us in a unique position to act as a sort of rallying point to organize the ManyFriends community around that sort of thing. So now it’s not just me and my family (as in previous iterations of ManyFriends) but, potentially, dozens (hundreds? More?) of like-minded people.

* We are the first & only (currently) Brewery in Saratoga. 🙂

Anyway, I was noodling on this idea the other day, and thinking about how we would implement such a thing. Several breweries have “vote for which charity we should give to”-type things, but I’m trying to take it a step further and get people more involved. For example, our friends at Greater Purpose Brewing (formerly East Cliff Brewing) give customers, with each pint, a little wooden token that they can then put into one of several “voting boxes”, each labeled with a charity. If I understand correctly, GPB’s giving is then guided by the number of disks which go into each box.

So my idea — a variation on that — was that we’d have several boxes (or jars, or whatever) into which customers put their tokens (bottle caps, or whatever) with semi-vague-ish charitable concepts — as opposed to specific charities — for example, maybe “Help the Homeless”, “Feed the Hungry”, “Improve the Environment”, etc. and, when a jar gets full, we schedule a “Town Hall” meeting, where we discuss how we plan to (for example) Feed The Hungry. My pipe-dream is that people toss out various ideas (ex., work a soup-line, deliver for a food kitchen, hand out meal gift-certificates, etc.), we discuss and eventually settle on a plan whereby we select a couple of point-people to work logistics, culminating in a “Charity Day” where our participants go and do The Thing, whatever it is.

For our part, we would participate, of course, but also organize all of the above parts, and provide nice thank-yous for the participants (TBD: t-shirts, a growler, or something similar).

NOTE: this is all in flux, a fresh idea barely-baked. To get it going, my plan is to (a) publish it for comment (done! 😀 ) then (b) chat it over and develop it with anyone who stops-in and is willing to help make it better. The main important thing that I want to keep is for MFBC to become a rallying point to gather folks who want to help make the world A Better Place. Details are all yet to be determined.

But that’s where it’s at, today. What do you think?

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