ProBrewer and Others Raise $255,000 for Michael Jackson Foundation
For the second year in a row, ProBrewer teamed up with Athletic Brewing to raise money for the Michael James Jackson Foundation (MJF). The effort raised more than $255,000 this year thanks to a matching $100,000 grant from Athletic Brewing and major donations from Firestone Walker, Sierra Nevada, Sam & Mariah Calgione/Boston Beer, Other Half, New Glarus and others as well as allied trade members such as Briess, Haas, Rahr and Yakima Chief.
The MJF is a grant-making organization funding technical scholarship awards to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the brewing and distilling industry. Since the foundation began in 2020 it has provided funding for scholarships for 29 different people of color in the industry.
But the effort must continue. According to the 2019 Brewers Association Benchmarking Survey, less than one percent of all breweries are Black-owned.
“We have a lot of work to do here,” said ProBrewer Co-founder Mark SSilva. “Our work is just getting started, and we have to show up for this every year, every day.”
Named after the late beer and whiskey writer Michael Jackson, the foundation strives to make the craft beer industry more diverse, just, and equitable.
“Michael Jackson pushed me into rooms where people were not prepared to see me and used the fact he was a god to whom no one could say no,” Oliver shared with everyone after accepting this year’s donation check. “Who is he, and what is he doing here? That is what I heard in England while judging the Champion of Beer of Britain final panel in 1992 … If you’re a Person of Color, you have heard that whispered or felt that from behind a bar.”
“What does a certificate cost? Four thousand dollars? Twelve thousand dollars? Twenty-three thousand dollars? Thirty-three thousand dollars?” remarked Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery since 1994. He recalled that as brewmaster he required new applicants to either have two to three years of experience or a certificate. “I thought I was doing the right thing, but it turned out that no Brown people ever showed up.”
It’s not too late to contribute to this great cause. Go HERE to donate.
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