Tag Archives: sustainable

Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation Raises $1m in First Year

After just its first year in operation, the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation has raised a million dollars that aided victims of the severe flooding that struck Colorado’s Front Range in September 2013.

Although the Foundation’s initial focus in the first year was maximizing fundraising efforts for flood victims, it also developed national partnerships in a variety of focus areas, including outdoor recreation, arts and music, and environmental sustainability.

Lyons, ColoRADo, is still home to the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew. When Oskar Blues Soul Founder Dale Katechis learned of other local businesses that suffered damage, some so severely that they were in jeopardy of closing their doors permanently, he jumped into action. Starting with a personal donation of $150,000, Dale reached out to the craft brewing industry and fans of Oskar Blues, and issued a matching challenge through the end of 2013. In just three months, CAN’d Aid raised and distributed $515,000 for flood relief and recovery efforts, directly assisting 235 families, 65 businesses and five organizations.

While CAN’d Aid continues to work directly with the Town of Lyons to support flood-related projects, the Foundation’s focus has expanded to include the original concepts that Dale had in mind pre-flood.

The Foundation focuses on “Grassroots Grants”–a concept that celebrates the little guy with a big idea. By incorporating specific program areas, Tunes (music, arts & culture); Towns (disaster relief); Treads & Trails (outdoor pursuits/health & wellness); Love Yer Mama (sustainability & recycling); and throwing in a wild card, Total CANarchy (anything goes). One year after its launch, CAN’d Aid Foundation has emerged as a funky, unique and utterly atypical nonprofit organization.

“As our official transportation sponsor, CAN’d Aid makes it possible every day for 160 kids and teens from all over our county to travel to our Club by bus. The funds enabled us to expand our bus fleet, allowing kids faster and safer access to our programs, including outdoor excursions focusing on healthy and fit lifestyles, community service opportunities, and arts & music instruction,” says Jackie Witherspoon of the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County.

“Love Yer Mama” offers recycling-specific grants to groups interested in starting sustainable recycling programs and incorporates education about the benefits of aluminum packaging over glass or plastic. A national recycling initiative, which the foundation kicked off in June with help from The Alcoa Foundation, Ball Foundation and Novelis, is gaining momentum and will soon incorporate OB-centric recycling hubs in both Longmont, CO, and Brevard, NC.

In addition to the $700,000 CAN’d Aid has given for ColoRADo flood recovery efforts, an additional $150,000 has gone toward grassroots community projects all over the U.S. Oskar Blues Brewery matches every dollar raised by CAN’d Aid, and people are starting to notice. ColoRADo Governor John Hickenlooper has repeatedly applauded the Foundation’s work and recently cited CAN’d Aid as being instrumental in helping Lyons rebuild. Boulder-based eTown, a nationally syndicated radio program, recently awarded Dale and the Foundation their E-chievement award for giving back and having a tremendous impact in that community. (To hear Katechis’ video interview with e-Town hosts Nick & Helen Forster, visit www.etown.org). The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club and Rockies Foundation have also supported CAN’d Aid generously, and Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer recently named CAN’d Aid as his charity of choice, resulting in a $7500 gift from Chevrolet through his Roberto Clemente Award nomination.

As CAN’d Aid enters year two, there is no sign of slowing down. Big focus areas will include partnering with nationally touring bands to fund “TUNES” programs and working with groups like Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and bike-centric companies to increase funding for “TREADS & TRAILS” programs.

For more information about the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation, to make a donation or to get involved, visit www.foundation.oskarblues.com.

Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation launches recycling program

Craft-CAN beer pioneer Oskar Blues knows a little something about aluminum, so it makes sense that the brewery’s non-profit, The CAN’d Aid Foundation, is launching a national aluminum recycling program.

With generous grants from long-time partners, The Ball and Alcoa Foundations, CAN’d Aid’s first national initiative will kick off this summer and concentrate on CAN recycling education and activation.

CAN’d Aid will offer funky and unique programs, focused on keeping aluminum in the recycling stream. “Grassroots Recycling Grants,” funded by Ball and Alcoa, are now available for communities, organizations and individuals interested in starting sustainable recycling programs. CAN’d Aid will provide seed money and equipment to kick off initiatives to those who apply and outline a plan for awesome results (www.foundation.oskarblues.com/funding-areas/loveyermama).

Novelis, the world’s largest aluminum recycler, and ColoRADo-based ZeroHero will work directly with successful grant applicants to provide education, training, on-site support and reporting. ZeroHero’s unique recycling stations effectively corral all recyclable and compostable materials and have helped countless organizations make the move toward less waste.

The goal of the grants is to empower motivated and passionate individuals to make a difference in their communities through recycling. The educational components of the program focus on the benefits of “infinitely recyclable” aluminum and include online webinar training and event coaching from ZeroHero.

Among the first to be awarded a recycling grant was Eau Claire County Recycling, which oversees recycling and waste removal for the entire county of Eau Claire, Wisconsin (population 100,000). The organization was awarded 10 recycling stations plus cash to implement recycling programs at their annual summer “Taste of the Valley” culinary arts festival and weekly concert series.

“CAN’d Aid provided us with the tools, education and training to implement this program, and we’re able to effect real change and produce measureable results around recycling. We are grateful to the foundation and ZeroHero, and look forward to seeing how many pounds of recyclable materials we collect this summer as a result,” said Amanda Haffele, Director of Eau Claire County Recycling.

Western North Carolina Alliance, an environmental advocacy group based in Asheville, NC, also has been awarded a recycling grant. WNCA will provide on-site recycling support at the Oskar Blues Burning CAN Beer Festival on July 5, and afterwards will place the recycling stations into permanent use throughout Western North Carolina.

Since announcing the program, CAN’d Aid has awarded $12,000 in cash and 18 reusable recycling stations have been granted to four nonprofits across the country. Funds and equipment are still available and the foundation’s goal is to award at least a dozen more applicants this summer and fall and continue the program in 2015.

In addition to recycling grants, consumers will have the opportunity to participate in the #ShowUsYurCans social media campaign by posting photos and stories of how they’re making a difference through recycling all summer long. As part of the Oskar Blues Ordeal, CAN’d Aid has set a goal to recycle one million cans by the end of the year.

For the past two years, Oskar Blues has offered the Oskar Blues Ordeal bus tours for a backstage view into all Oskar Blues ColoRADo locations, including the brewery, farm, restaurants and REEB Cycles during the Great American Beer Festival in the fall. Check out a chance to win a trip to the 2014 Oskar Blues Ordeal (ColoRADo) by signing up & recycling at http://www.obordeal.com/.

Look for details about incentives and prizes associated with #ShowUsYurCans in Draft Magazine and enter to win at obordeal.com.

Want to get involved? Apply for a Grassroots Recycling Grant (www.foundation.oskarblues.com/funding-areas/loveyermama), help make a difference, and #ShowUsYurCans!