News Athletic Brewing to Match First $100,000 Donated to The MJF Foundation’s 2nd Annual Diversity Campaign

The Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling (The MJF) has launched its second annual matching fundraising challenge in partnership with Athletic Brewing Company and ProBrewer. Beginning today and continuing through May 8, 2023, Athletic Brewing will match the first $100,000 in donations made to The MJF’s latest campaign, including contributions from both individuals and organizations.

ProBrewer will also support The MJF as an official media partner and promote the campaign to its base of industry members and daily newsletter subscribers.

This matching campaign will create the opportunity to raise more than $200,000 toward The MJF’s technical education scholarships for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the brewing and distilling industries.

Since its founding in 2020, The MJF has funded scholarship awards supporting the career advancement of 29 individuals. This year’s matching fundraising challenge will enable the organization to increase and accelerate the impact it’s having on diversifying the brewing and distilling industries.

“The impact that these MJF scholarships are having are both immediate and enormous,” explained Garrett Oliver, Founder and Chair of The MJF. “For example, one $40,000 donation put ten brewers of color through Siebel’s WBA Concise Course in Brewing. That’s massive. Our awardees have told us that not only have they been able to put their new knowledge to work immediately every day, but they are now able to dream bigger than they had before and to join the industry leaders of the future. We are grateful to our current donors who’ve stepped up and hopeful that the big breweries will get more involved this year as well. A diverse industry is a healthy industry with a big customer base – and that’s what we all want to see.”

In just three years, The MJF has already had a significant impact as its past scholarship award winners advance in their careers and assume leadership roles. A number of past winners now hold titles of Head Brewer and Head Distiller, while others have joined the production or fermentation teams at such renowned organizations as Russian River Brewing.

Part of what has made The MJF successful over those three years is partnering with like-minded organizations, both inside and outside the beer and distilling industries, that can help drive awareness and impact.

“It’s no secret that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are underrepresented within the brewing industry,” said Bill Shufelt, Co-Founder & CEO of Athletic Brewing Company. “We’re proud to support the MJF, and we hope other breweries will step up and contribute to the campaign as well.”

There is still plenty of work to do to create that more inclusive, equitable, and diverse future that is the vision of The MJF. It’s estimated that 8.2% of brewers in the beer industry are people of color1. That number contrasts starkly against the 40% of the U.S. population that identifies as a person of color2.

“The brewing industry has historically lacked diversity, and it’s critical that we continue to support education and career advancement opportunities while building a more inclusive community for everyone,” added Shufelt. “We have an opportunity to make a significant difference with this campaign, but only if enough people take action.”

Pat Hagerman, Co-Founder of ProBrewer, echoed those thoughts, “The support received last year was amazing. Breweries, suppliers, brewery employees, and consumers all contributed generously. I hope we receive the same level of support this year, if not more. The more we receive, the more impact we can have in changing the industry for the better.”

The fundraising campaign will start today and continue through May 8, 2023. To contribute to the campaign and have your donation matched by Athletic Brewing, go HERE.

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