Milwaukee Brewers Serve Nonprofits at Home Games as Well as Bratwurst and Beer

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October 16, 2011; Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | The Milwaukee Brewers took it on the chin Monday night and succumbed to Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals, losing the National League Championship Series and missing a chance to face off against the Texas Rangers in the World Series.

But this loss touches more than just Brewers like Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun or even their fans. There are some Milwaukee-area nonprofits that stand to miss out as well. With little publicity, the Milwaukee Brewers and its concessionaire, Sportservice, have allowed volunteers from nonprofits to staff some of the concession stands at Miller Park, with the nonprofits receiving 10 percent of gross sales. Fifteen different nonprofits were working concessions stands at the stadium during Saturday’s playoff game. On a typical day a group can earn maybe $1,000 for a game’s work. One group apparently made $50,000 in one season by staffing a concession stand.

The Brewers also have their own foundation, the Brewers Community Foundation, which runs a 50/50 raffle in the stands during each home game. The foundation and the raffle winner split the proceeds. The executive director of the foundation says that the average take (presumably for the foundation) at each game has been about $50,000.

Where does the money go? We took a peek at the Brewers Community Foundation website and found some of the foundation’s program initiatives, including the Money Savvy Education Program which “helps teach children how to handle money responsibly and that learning about money can be fun.” (Longtime second-baseman Craig Counsell was the nominal player sponsor in 2009 of this effort, though Sunday night he probably had his last at-bat ever for the Brewers). Other grantees include the Selig Scholars Program (Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was previously president and majority owner of the Brewers) and the Student Achievers Program which gives high-performing students in grades 7 through 12 a certificate of recognition and Brewers game tickets. (This effort is co-sponsored by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the very conservative Milwaukee funder that has had lots of supportive interactions with Selig and the Brewers).—Rick Cohen