By Todd Layton
Spring is just around the corner and harkens the return of the East Atlanta Beer Festival. While festival goers look forward to this rite of spring, the Festival is not just a fun event, but also a major fundraising effort, which directly benefits various East Atlanta organizations and charities that receive grants from the Festival’s revenues.
In 2011, the East Atlanta Beer Festival welcomed more than 4,000 attendees from states across the Southeast. With beer festivals multiplying in the city and country, the EABF’s nine-year longevity, non-profit mission, and commitment to innovation and craft beer have built the festival a strong reputation. Over 200 craft beers; including local breweries Jailhouse, Wild Heaven, Sweetwater, and Terrapin; were poured by the incredible volunteers staffing the event. Rarer brews flowed in the VIP section and were consumed along with beer pancakes.
What many people may not know about the Festival is that it raises money and then gives back to East Atlanta charities and organizations in the form of grants. In 2011, the East Atlanta Beer Fest granted over $70,000 to an unprecedented number of organizations. These organizations benefit the community in a number of ways.
The East Atlanta Community Association (EACA): founded in 1981, EACA seeks to bolster a sense of community and improve the quality of life for all. EACA has received EABF grants for a number of projects that reflect the organization’s wide-ranging goals. EABF grants support EACA’s initiatives including: Adopt-A-Street Program, Neighbor in Need, and the East Atlanta Parents Network.
The East Atlanta Kids Club: founded in 1998, Kids Clubs seeks to provide a safe haven for play and education of hundreds of neighborhood children. Headquartered in the Brownwood Park Recreation Center, operational costs are high to run the facility. EABF grants contribute to keeping the Recreation Center operating.
The Friends of the East Atlanta Library (FEAL): supports the library and strives to boost its resource capacity. Funds provided by the EABF assisted FEAL in purchasing a number of tables and chairs for both the main part of the library and for the children’s area.
The Burgess-Peterson Academy: has benefited from several grants this year, including their Garden Education Program and a field trip to the Georgia Aquarium. Additionally, EABF funds support Burgess-Peterson’s creation of a Leveled Book Library, which will allow teachers to better instruct students in reading at their individual level.
Branan Towers: has been providing healthy, affordable living for low-income seniors since 1973. EABF’s grant sponsors their Wellness Program, which benefits the residents by providing appropriate exercise routines and promote greater independence in general.
East Atlanta Farmers Market: an autumn staple in East Atlanta that has been attracting customers fond of locally grown produce and locally produced confections. The EABF is assisting the Farmers’ Market by providing funds for several necessary positions, including Teen Market Assistant, Market Coordinator, Edible Learning Garden Coordinator, and the funding the Food Stamp Matching Program.
Recycle EAV: founded in 2009 with the goal of providing free recycling for East Atlanta Village businesses. Since its inception, Recycle EAV has removed over 39 tons of recycled material that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. The East Atlanta Beer Fest grants help fund this eco-friendly venture.
In 2005, the Sopo Bicycle Cooperative, Inc. opened in East Atlanta, helping anyone who might need help with bicycle maintenance. EABF is providing funds to the Sopo Bicycle Cooperative so they can purchase tools and material to keep their shop open through 2012.
The Historic Sylvester Cemetery: sits on Clifton Road at Braeburn Circle, and has been the final resting place for East Atlantans since 1838. Today, over 1,400 souls have been accepted there, including children, veterans of the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Historic Sylvester Cemetery Foundation has restored and maintained the cemetery since 2002. East Atlanta Beer Fest grants funds to assist with the cemetery restoration and improvements.
Journey Performing Arts Center: is sponsored by Dance 411 and seeks to promote children’s dance and artistic expression. The EABF has provided funds to help fund community workshops that will be held throughout the year.
B*ATL, otherwise known as the Battle of Atlanta Commemoration Organization, Inc.: hosts a series of events surrounding the anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta, a large portion of which was fought right in the heart of the East Atlanta Village. EABF funds are contributing to historical marker restorations in the community.