Why Working With Nonprofits Helps Define a Role in Your Community​

HenHouse Brewing has values, ​and co-founder and CEO Collin McDonnell said they live by them.

​”I feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of bringing forth socially conscious parts of the brand,” he told Brewer. “We are community members and we act like it.”

McDonnell, who’s brewery signed on to create Brave Noise, a Pale Ale that supports a collaborative effort to provide inclusive and safe environments for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ throughout the beer industry, believes that calling what they are doing as “branding” doesn’t really fit, “particularly when talking about keeping people safe from harassment in the workplace, it’s just doing the right thing,” he added.

Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling ​and ​the ​Brave Noise ​collab ​share the same core​ ​values, teamwork, inclusion, communication, and community. ​The Rhode Island brewery released its Brave Noise Pale Ale on September 5​. A part of being a part of Brave Noise is for breweries to list a code of conduct along with making a donation to a verified non-profit organization that best reflects the mission of this initiative.

READ MORE: How Codes of Conduct Make the Backbone of Brave Noise Collab

​Newport chose ​The Women’s Resource Center ​to receive all beer proceeds from that day.​ ​​The Women’s Resource Center is a listening ear, a helping hand, and in some cases a lifeline to individuals experiencing domestic violence​, the brewery explained.

​This isn’t the only example of breweries that are standing with this effort, it’s a part of their identity to engrain into its community.​

​”​We think to create a safe, welcoming, and equitable space, it truly involves everyone,” said Proclamation Ale owner and Creative Director, Lori Witham. “It starts at the top with what defines you as a company and what culture you create and allow to thrive. This involves internal management, management to an employee, and employee-to-employee interactions. But along with that, it also includes employee interactions with vendors, patrons, business partners, and such, as well as how those people, in turn, interact and treat our employees as well as other patrons.

“Beyond that, it extends even further to external events when our employees are representing Proclamation and knowing that they’ll bring that same company culture we strive for out into the community. Everyone within that big circle must work together and have each other’s backs along the way. Advocate for each other, support one another, and continue to grow, learn, and try to make things better.”

​McDonnell said HenHouse is a mission-driven company and so everything relates back to the mission, which is to create meaningful employment that enhances beer quality for the end consumer and creates wealth for our community.

​”​We make sure our team and our community knows that’s the mission by referencing it constantly, publicly displaying the mission, and putting out money where our mouth is​,” he said. ​”​Our goal, particularly when it comes to having a harassment-free workplace, is to live our values in such a way that no one is unclear where we stand and what our priorities are.​”

​McDonnell wants​s​ all charitable donations to be representative of who ​the team is as community members, and ​the brewery just started a donations committee that helps prioritize and vet donations​.

“Whether that’s beer donations for events or collab beers with cash contributions​,” he said​. ​”​We’ve made donations to local educational foundations like If Given a Chance, supported local musical organizations like the Railroad Square Music Festival, and we have a semi-regular collab with the Pink Boots Society, all of which are extensions of our involvement in the community.”​

Newport Craft also likes to support local organizations and causes. This summer ​the brewery worked with Newport OUT to raise $5,000 to develop LGBTQ+ youth programs at Rogers High School and the MLK Center. To raise awareness for breast cancer, ​it donated product and $5,000 to The Aquidneck Club for their ‘A Day for Pink’ event ​set for September 13. ​It also donated $5,000 to the Aquidneck Farmers Market.

​”​Newport Craft will continue supporting organizations and causes near and far that align with our core values​,” they told Brewer.​

For the Brave Noise collab, Proclamation Ale will work with Sojourner House, a non-profit that provides housing, support services, and advocacy for all those who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse. The beer will be released at its monthly Empowerment Night that is held the first Wednesday of every month, which will be October 6, and will kick off Domestic Violence Awareness month for Sojourner House.

“Community and civic responsibility are incredibly important to us,” Witham said. “As a business, and just as humans, we believe it is our responsibility to help bring awareness to certain causes that are important to us and help people in need along the way.”

Photo courtesy Newport Craft

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