WeldWerks Brewing Co. announced the launch of the WeldWerks Diversity Scholarship, a yearly scholarship for current and prospective University of Northern Colorado (UNC) students of color, with an additional preference towards those who have an interest in Brewing Science. WeldWerks has donated $25,000 to seed the endowment with an additional $4,000 to fund the fall 2021/2022 scholarship. The brewery pledges to increase the endowment to $100,000 by the end of 2022, which will make the $4,000 scholarship live on in perpetuity. Which is a baller move. An endowed scholarship is a permanent fund in which the capital is preserved so that generations of students can benefit.
As a brewery that welcomes people from all walks of life to share a pint in their taproom, George Floyd’s murder and the country’s social unrest gave WeldWerks pause to rexamine its complacency and speak up. The brewery donated $5,000 to Black Lives Matter 5280, $5,000 to Campaign Zero, and participated in Weathered Souls’ Black is Beautiful collaboration beer initiative. Actively seeking more ways to help move the needle, WeldWerks consulted with community stakeholders, including the organizer for Greeley’s Black Lives Matter march and Dr. George Junne, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at UNC. From there the scholarship was born.
“WeldWerks is using their philanthropy to demonstrate their values and put action behind their desire to increase diversity in their own industry. This scholarship will provide support to students for years to come and will help ensure that cost does not become a barrier to a college degree,” says Allie Steg Haskett, Vice President for University Advancement at UNC. “Philanthropy is more than just an investment in a scholarship, gifts such as this are also an investment in each individual student who receives the award and a vote of confidence in the next generation of Bears.”
According to a 2018 Brewers Association Brewery Operations Benchmarking survey, brewery employees are disproportionately white, ranging from 72.6% white for production staff (non-managers) to 89% (brewers). The WeldWerks Diversity Scholarship aims to help create a more diverse workforce in brewing.
“There was great momentum last summer but we didn’t want these gestures to be performative,” says WeldWerks Chief Marketing Officer Jake Goodman. “Now, the important thing to do is keep the work going, steadily for the long haul. It’s easy to get behind the push for something when it’s the main topic of the moment, but the harder part is sustaining that effort, with authenticity and intentionality, and making these changes a more substantial part of our culture, both on the micro and macro levels. Our hope is that this endowment will be a small part of making Greeley and Weld County a more diverse and welcoming place for years to come.”
Effective immediately, students may apply online for the WeldWerks Diversity Scholarship through the UNC Scholarship Application. The scholarship of $4,000 will be selected in the spring semester of 2021 to be awarded during the 2021-2022 academic year.
“UNC is incredibly grateful to be partnering with WeldWerks on this scholarship. Having community minded businesses like WeldWerks is part of what makes Greeley such a special place. WeldWerks shares UNC’s commitment to diversity and recognizes that greater diversity, equity, and inclusion make our communities and institutions better,” says UNC President, Andy Feinstein.