You gotta love the big hearts and generous wallets of craft brewers. Here comes another tale of community altruism from a quality craft beer brand. Since opening the Mitten Brewing Co. in 2012, owners Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler set out to ensure the business would have a positive impact on the Grand Rapids community. In 2014, the Leonard Street brewery raised more than $30,000 for area organizations in need through a monthly partnership program, which includes an event where 50 percent of food sales head to the partner. The Mitten also raised more than $30,000 in 2013, bringing the company’s two-year giving total to more than $60,000. The CBB crew raises its pints.
“We worked with several great new groups this year who were very enthusiastic about the program,” Trierweiler said. “We can’t thank our customers enough. Their amazing support has allowed us to make these gifts.”
The Mitten paired with organizations such as Paws With A Cause, Autism Support of Kent County, Habitat for Humanity, Grand Rapids Community Foundation Challenge Scholars, Make-A-Wish Michigan, Crash’s Landing and more.
“We select our partners based on how active they are within the community and make sure the money stays in West Michigan,” Andrus said. “We want our contributions to make a significant difference within these small, but vital organizations.”
Other contributions to the community include the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Brewers’ Grove project, various donation baskets to events and more than 12 meals to randomly selected tables during Christmas. The Mitten staff also competes individually to see which server can raise the most money for the cause each month.
February’s nonprofit partner is Humane Society of West Michigan. All month a portion of sales will head to the organization, including 50 percent of food sales on Feb. 23.
The Mitten’s 2014 contributions were responsible for:
- Provided Oasis of Hope medical visits (including lab work) for 80 uninsured and economically disadvantaged residents of the westside of Grand Rapids.
- Allowed 56 kids to experience one day of Boys and Girls Club programming, which includes sports, homework and reading support, art, music, character and leadership development, a snack and a hot meal.
- Helped Make-A-Wish Michigan to give Alyssa from Wayland — who is suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma (bone cancer) — her wish for an all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii.
- Enabled Comprehensive Therapy Center to train 50-plus volunteers in therapy techniques, train their entire summer staff in CPR, sponsor a brain-injured child’s weekly tutoring for two months, fund two speech therapy sessions for a child with a disability, and purchase 50 new books for the lending library.
- Funded zero-overhead cancer and Parkinson’s Disease research by Van Andel Institute scientists.
- Allowed Crash’s Landing to provide one month’s worth of basic medical expenses and daily care for 58 individual cats awaiting adoption.
- Helped fund The Building Blocks Campaign (aimed at restoring West Side neighborhoods) that is working to provide housing for 55 low income partner families.
- Gave 18 economically disadvantaged students with severe cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder the financial support needed to attend an entire year’s worth of classroom outings with their peers. Without this funding, they would have to stay at school and miss out on mainstream educational and enrichment opportunities.
- Were part of a fundraising effort that will provide guaranteed free or low-cost college education for Westside students from Harrison Park Elementary, Westwood Middle School and Union High School, provided they meet scholastic, attendance and behavioral standards.
- Helped create the Paws with a Cause assistance dog team of Mark and Pryce. Pryce is a Golden Retriever who, along with other specific tasks, was trained to retrieve the phone and open doors for Mark. Pryce’s goal is to work together with Mark to increase his independence.
- Funded another endowment for the The Kathleen Pavlovic Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a West Catholic High School student(s) wishing to pursue education as a career.
- Provided production funding for the 2014 Lamp Light Music Festival, which featured 50 independent artists and 850 attendees.