"Crafting" a Better Community Through Beer 1

In the ultimate win-win for craft-beer lovers, the Prairie Brewfest event organized by the Eden Prairie Community Foundation turns samples of pilsner, porter, and pale ale into philanthropy that fills unmet local needs. The 2017 version held Sept. 9 at Purgatory Creek Park was no exception, as a record 600 ticket holders sipped craft beer, listened to music from Wondercure, and basked in 76-degree weather while supporting the programs and operation of the 36-year-old Foundation.

Only four years old, Prairie Brewfest has become one of the Foundation’s two biggest fund-raising and friend-raising events, the other being the EP Gives gathering held each April to celebrate the nonprofit’s newest grantees. Brewfest is growing by about 100 attendees per year, allowing more and more people to hear about the Foundation’s roles, including:

Grant-maker – The Foundation has awarded more than 500 grants to 84 different organizations serving people who live and work in Eden Prairie.

Fiscal Sponsor – Its 501(c)(3) status and administrative help support other organizations with big community projects of their own, from Eden Prairie Miracle Field to the Veterans Memorial.

Community leader – The Foundation’s education and information programs serve to grow awareness of Eden Prairie needs, while programs like The GIVE Gathering provide a path to volunteer involvement and “giving back” in general.

“A lot of Eden Prairie folks, especially young newcomers, don’t know much about the Foundation and its work,” said Executive Director Mark Weber. “Brewfest can be a kind of introduction to giving back to this community.”

“Let’s be honest: Many of them come to Prairie Brewfest just to sample different beers. But we hope that along the way they realize they’re part of a community that really cares … and that by supporting the Foundation and its programs they’re actually supporting neighbors in need.”

Who knows? Maybe an adult lifetime of philanthropy can actually start with a sip of beer.