Spreading Hoptimism: Yard Goat gives back

Fans of Yard Goat Artisan Ales love the first Wednesday of each month when the popular Huntingburg craft brewery opens up for Spreading Hoptimism.

It is the one extra day a month they can stop by to raise a few pints with the added benefit of raising money for a local nonprofit a dollar at a time.

Yard Goat began Spreading Hoptimism in February of 2022 when the owners created the first special community-driven event.

“We believe in giving back to the community,” Kelley Schipp said.

Schipp’s husband, Jeff, is one of the four owners of Yard Goat, along with Stephanie Pierce, Gary Altman and Jason Barnett.

“The community has been really generous to us, so it’s important for us to support them back,” she added, speaking for the group.

The extra Wednesday fundraiser has grown in popularity each month since it began. According to Schipp, Yard Goat already has every slot until November booked with a nonprofit participating in Spreading Hoptimism.

Along with the dollars raised through the sales, the organization being highlighted is also invited to set up a table at the entrance to Yard Goat to allow them to pass out information for the services they offer and take direct donations. Those donations can actually surpass the amount collected from the $1 per pint that Yard Goat donates.

“It has really grown since we started,” she said. “And a lot of times, nonprofits are reaching out to us to take part in the event.”

Yard Goat does set aside a couple of months for specific charities like Backpack Buddies of Dubois County. The local nonprofit sends meals home with students. “We have that in August because it is right at the beginning of the school year,” Schipp explained, adding that the nonprofit’s mission really resonates with their customers.

So far this year, Yard Goat will spread some hoptimism with Dubois County Young Life (January’s organization), Dubois County Humane Society, Community CHEW, Rafe Milligan Scholarship, Red, White & Brauen, Southwest Indiana Child Advocacy Center Coalition, Survivors of Suicide and Anderson Woods.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Cancer Pathways Midwest will be the featured nonprofit. The Evansville organization, previously known as Gilda’s Club in honor of actress/comedian Gilda Radner helps anyone impacted by cancer — patients, friends, family members, and the bereaved — at no charge.

They offer support through counseling, peer-to-peer support, activity groups, art therapy, and much more. According to Cancer Pathways Midwest Executive Director Krista Wilson, a cancer diagnosis and battle can affect a person’s emotions, mental health, relationships, and even their faith. Bringing them into a supportive environment can help them through these tough times as well as overcome the isolation some experience through the disease.

“We have an art studio for art therapy, there’s music therapy through a partnership with University of Evansville’s music therapy program,” Wilson said.

“Sometimes there’s Nerf gun wars going on,” she added. “I mean, it’s just a very inviting, comfortable, non-clinical atmosphere.”

Wilson said that being featured as the February nonprofit for Spreading Hoptimism is a great way to raise awareness for the organization in an area it serves.

“We love telling people who we are and what we do because we know it’s such a needed resource,” Wilson said.

Yard Goat sees the Spreading Hoptimism event as an extension of the community they are building through their patrons. “We feel like the craft brew industry is about making new friends,” Schipp said. “We’re building a community and this is one more way we can do it.”

“It’s a great event that we all look forward to each month,” Schipp said.

Next Wednesday, stop in to help raise some money and learn more about this nonprofit. The rest of the month, unless otherwise noted, Yard Goat is open Thursdays through Sundays. Check them out on Facebook here.