The core mission of Habitat for Humanity – to build simple, decent and affordable housing for low-income families – is enough to attract donors, sponsors, partners and volunteers at every level. Communities always rally around do-gooders like Habitat.
Even so, like all nonprofits the organization must raise funds, and often this necessitates some creative brainstorming. For 2019, Habitat For Humanity of Pinellas County has come up with a can’t-miss method of bringing the area’s younger generation (i.e. Millennials) into the same line of focus as its humanitarian mission.
One word: Beer.
The first event in the “House That Beer Built” initiative takes place this Saturday, Jan. 12 from 1 to 6 p.m. It’s a scavenger hunt, requiring participants to travel between five downtown craft breweries. The adventure begins at Flying Boat, where they’ll be issued “clue cards,” with details about the next stop on the hunt.
The other four, naturally, have not been revealed.
“Once they ‘crack the beer code,’ they’ll go to that next brewery and get a free pint, or a 1-2 ounce flight if they wish,” explains Pinellas VP of Corporate Partnerships and Marketing Alison Riley. “They’ll be a sign at each one, saying ‘Congratulations, you cracked the code.’”
One scavenger stop includes a social media challenge. “They take the photo, tag Habitat and the brewery, and everybody is then entered to win the grand prize,” Riley says. “I can tell you that it is an awesome and collaborative prize that the breweries have put together.”
Scavenger hunt tickets are $35 here.
“We’re also going to keep registration open Saturday for a few additional hours, because there’s going to be people walking all over town, and everybody’s going to be asking them ‘What are you doing?’ Everybody’s going to want to get involved in the beer scavenger hunt. So we’ll stay open.”
The goal of the multi-event beer initiative is to raise $50,000 (the estimated cost of materials for a single house) by June 30, the end of Habitat’s fiscal year.
“We have a very large beer community here, and we found a way that they can come together and help a nonprofit with a fun project – while doing something they enjoy,” says Habitat of Pinellas CEO Mike Sutton.
Pinellas’ “spirit of community,” he insists, extends to the craft breweries. “Maybe as individuals they aren’t able to support a project like Habitat, but by coming together as breweries they can really impact our community.”
The second event, the House That Beer Built Craft Beer Festival, has been inked in for Saturday, Feb. 9 at Ferg’s Sports Bar (1-5 p.m.) Your $25 wristband gets you unlimited samples from between 15 and 25 area breweries (the number has yet to be finalized, as new breweries are volunteering every day).
VIP ($75) tickets also include a swag bag and a special, one-time Habitat brew, a collaboration between Flying Boat, Big Storm and Dissent.
Other beer events, most likely in North County walkable-brewery spots like Dunedin or Tarpon Springs, are in the planning stages.
“Everybody,” Riley says, “knows the brand Habitat For Humanity. They might not know exactly what it is we do, but if you say Habitat For Humanity, everybody knows: ‘Oh, they build homes.’
“They may not know the ins and outs and the operations of what we do, but it’s a very nice way to get community partners – just the name itself.”
Indeed, says Flying Boat managing partner Josh Perian. “Being part of Habitat for Humanity in Pinellas and the House That Beer Built is right in our wheelhouse,” he explains. “It’s the way we like to do things.
“Flying Boat was built on the three tenets of charity, community and craft. So any way we can be involved in those things – improving our community through charitable works, through craft beer – that’s what we try to do. Being able to be the jump-off point for the scavenger hunt, and helping with the other Habitat endeavors that they’ve got planned for the rest of the year to get this house built, fits perfectly with what we want to do and how we want to do it.”
Breweries interested in signing up will find details here.