Launched in 2018, the Portland Charity Cocktail program supports local nonprofits serving people experiencing homelessness in Portland. For each featured cocktail sold at a participating bar (see list below), $1 is donated. Travel Portland regularly collects donations from program participants and presents them to the designated nonprofit organization.
From January–June 2019, proceeds from the Portland Charity Cocktail program will support the Transitions Projects Mobile Engagement Unit. Transition Projects delivers life-saving and life-changing assistance to some of Portland’s most vulnerable residents. The Mobile Engagement Unit is a pilot initiative that connects people experiencing homelessness to essential health, shelter and housing services. From February–June 2018, the Charity Cocktail program raised $5,080, which was matched by the Travel Portland Foundation for a total contribution of $10,160 to Transitions Projects Mobile Engagement Unit.
The beneficiary for the latter half of 2019 will be chosen in April.
From July–December 2018, the program raised $11,548, plus $5,000 from the Travel Portland Foundation, for a total contribution of $16,548 to the New Avenues for Youth Service Industry Training & Placement Program. This New Avenues for Youth program helps young people develop the skills to gain and retain employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. It also helps foster a pipeline of talent for the region’s growing tourism sector.
How it started
The charity cocktail concept was originally created by Kimpton Hotel Monaco’s general manager, Ryan Kunzer. Kunzer rolled out a similar program at the hotel in fall 2017. After immediate interest from guests and the program’s early success, he brought the concept to Travel Portland for expansion.
“Portland is an incredible city. At the Kimpton, we found that both residents and visitors are looking for opportunities to help strengthen this community,” says Kunzer. “Through the Charity Cocktail Program, our staff are able to talk with guests about one of the many ways we are giving back to those in need while inviting them to contribute with a very low barrier for entry.”
Inspired by Kunzer’s success, Travel Portland invited Portland hotels, bars and restaurants to join the effort. “Every year, the city of Portland welcomes nearly 9 million visitors, in addition to entertaining residents from across the region,” says Tamara Kennedy-Hill, vice president of community relations at Travel Portland. “By expanding the Portland Charity Cocktail Program to the city’s broader hospitality industry, we have the opportunity to raise visibility for two tremendous nonprofit organizations while also creating a sustainable funding stream to support important projects within our community.”
See the cocktails and learn more by following the hashtag #PDXCharityCocktail on Instagram.