Community Tap Expands HUB’S Definition of Sustainability
To say it was rainy is putting it lightly. In fact, weather broke records that day—1.8 inches of rain fell. While most people stayed inside, Hopworks staff donned gear, got on bikes and began planting trees in SE Portland neighborhoods for a Friends of Trees volunteer day
“Our Community Tap program is one of the ways we work to expand our definition of sustainability,” said Christian Ettinger, owner and brewmaster of Hopworks. “Through this program we partner with like-minded organizations we admire and respect and help keep our community connected, healthy and vibrant.”
“We still talk about that day,” said Eric Steen, communications specialist for Hopworks. It was cold enough for volunteers to see their breath, not to mention the downpour. But they cycled several miles, planting fifteen trees at ten locations that morning.
The event was the inaugural employee volunteer event tied to the then newly-launched Community Tap program. The program, started in January 2015, donates 1% of Hopworks brewpub’s pint sales to a featured, monthly, non-profit partner. The program is threefold:
HUB gives back to the community by donating 1% of pint sales—a goal of $12,000 a year—to the selected nonprofits.
The 12 partner nonprofits are invited to kick off their month campaign at HUB—and bring staff and supporters together.
In addition, HUB often orchestrates a staff volunteer day to support the featured organization—which is what the damp bikers were up to that January morning.
Selecting the Community Tap partnerships is not taken lightly. With employee input and a committee review, selections are judged against Hopworks’ core values of quality, community and sustainability. The selection team also looks for programs that advocate for biking, education or, as part of the Hopworks Water Initiative, support clean water and healthy habitats.
Partner organizations have included causes like Friends of the Children and Willamette Riverkeeper, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the Willamette. As part of that volunteer effort, Hopworks employees paddled out to Ross Island for a river cleanup—filling a canoe with bags with trash.
“Organizations that really connect to our values, these are the ones who stand out,” Steen said. “Being involved in this project and giving back to the community is one of the best parts of my job.”
The admiration goes both ways. “Working with Hopworks was fantastic. In addition to receiving a percent of all pint sales, Hopworks was a true partner and used the month as an opportunity to promote our programs broadly,” said Andrew Hogan, development director for Zenger farm. “We really enjoyed hosting them on their staff volunteer day as well. They turned a few scraggly plants into a small Hops garden—and, after Christian’s work with the broom—our driveway has never looked so clean.”
Folks at Growing Gardens, a partner organization that builds gardens for low income individuals and communities, really appreciated the kickoff event at the brewery.
“I had no idea that we would be treated like royalty and [HUB’s] generosity was overwhelming,” said David Greenberg, executive director of Growing Gardens.
Becky Meiers, development director at KBOO Community Radio, hosted a live show at Hopworks as part of their kick-off. “Working with Hopworks was awesome and their service staff were incredible when we did the live remote,” Meiers said “We’re honored to be a part of the Community Tap program. It’s perfect for us because both of our organizations are working to build a better community—and doing it together.”
It’s precisely that concept that kept HUB staff motivated to get on their bikes that dreary January day, the opportunity to give back and support awesome community nonprofits. The volunteers were wet and cold—so cold they could see their breath. But what they really talk about was how great it was to learn how to plant trees and to help local neighborhoods. The post-volunteer tacos and Hopworks IPA didn’t hurt either.