Since opening our doors in 2014, we have aspired to leverage our brand and our people to add value to the Athens community. With a commitment to community being one of our founding pillars, we created the Get Comfortable campaign in order to work alongside local nonprofits who address the community’s most pressing needs. We will launch the fourth season of our Get Comfortable campaign this January!
The mission of the Get Comfortable campaign is to become a unifying anchor in the business community to drive awareness, increase engagement, and provide support for nonprofits combating the Athens community’s greatest needs as it relates to living comfortably. In Athens-Clarke County where one in five people are food-insecure and the poverty rate is 36.6% – nearly twice the state poverty rate of 18.4% – the campaign has traditionally focused on hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Through a rigorous vetting process as well as the direction of an advisory committee of community stakeholders, the campaign selected 6 organizations to highlight throughout the season & receive funding when the program wraps in November 2018.
The following nonprofits were chosen as the 2018 Get Comfortable partners: Advantage Behavioral Health, Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Athens Community Council on Aging, The Ark, Chosen For Life, & Mercy Health Center.
“Over the last three years, the Get Comfortable program has become less of a thing we do, and more of a part of who we are at Creature Comforts,” says our Co-founder & CEO Chris Herron. “As a result, we are making some very positive changes to the program this year that will allow us to truly make this a fully integrated year-long program, while still maintaining a dedicated season of emphasis. With the hiring of a full-time Director of Community and Culture, Matt Stevens, we are excited to see what we can achieve through the Get Comfortable program in 2018 and beyond.”
In Fall 2017, we created a full-time position at the brewery with a focus on community initiatives, as well as our internal culture. Matt Stevens was brought on in September 2017 as the new Community and Culture Director and will serve as the head of all programs related to the brewery’s community involvement and culture development, which includes Get Comfortable.
Matt previously served as the lead of Athens Church’s Be Rich initiative for four years, culminating in $786,725 raised and distributed, 7,135 volunteer hours tallied, and 7,000 cold weather garments collected to benefit 15 local nonprofits. Prior to Athens Church, Matt worked for six years as the Associate Director at the University of Georgia Costa Rica, with the primary goal of connecting returning students who had been participating in international outreach efforts with local agencies. He has a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia.
“Having worked in the nonprofit space around Athens the past eight years has been quite an education. Our city has complex, cyclical needs on the one hand, but a vibrant community looking to address those needs on the other,” says Stevens. “I think the business community has been taking admirable strides in recent years to leverage its resources to get involved, and I’m sincerely honored to take on this role at Creature Comforts in the hopes, to some extent, of unifying these efforts – to get the right people around the table to, first, understand the story the data is telling us, and second, to determine a way to mobilize our resources as effectively as possible.”
Get Comfortable in 2018 will be a year-round campaign with a pronounced season of emphasis taking place January 10 through April 4, during which we will donate 100% of our Wednesday “community day” profits towards the Get Comfortable fund. We’ll also create Get Comfortable merchandise, bring back the popular Get Comfortable IPA, and work alongside for-profit businesses to generate additional profits for the fund. The campaign will wrap toward the end of 2018, the remaining time being dedicated to serving the agencies’ individual needs throughout the year.
In early January, we will also launch a website, GetCurious.com, which will encompass all our community initiatives. The website will include details and updates on Get Comfortable as well as Get Artistic, a new initiative serving the local arts community, along with other future initiatives.
Get Comfortable was recently awarded the Cause of the Year for its 2017 campaign at the 2017 Brewbound Awards. The Cause of the Year award is given to one outstanding craft brewery that demonstrates a commitment to supporting a specific cause. The award was announced during the Brewbound Session business conference, which took place on November 29 in Santa Monica, California.
Get Comfortable 2018 will kick off January 10. Get Comfortable merchandise as well as the Get Comfortable IPA will be available at the brewery for the kick off! We look forward to seeing you in our Tasting Room on Wednesdays for our GC season of emphasis!
To learn more, you can read Matt’s interview with Porch Drinking here.