Get Comfortable has evolved over the years as we continue to learn more about how to best serve our community’s most pressing needs. Here are some of the highlights along the way.
The program was initiated by several passionate employees who decided to produce an annual rotating Get Comfortable IPA and donate all the profits. In its inaugural year, the program raised and distributed $1,800 to a short list of agencies curated by the Community Connection of Northeast Georgia, who at the time managed our city’s 211 Helpline.
By year two, Get Comfortable ramped up its rigor by selecting its beneficiaries by circulating a Request-For-Proposals. That same year, we enlisted the help of the United Way of Northeast Georgia for proposal review and agency selection.
As the scope of this program continued to expand—from $65,000 distributed in 2016 to nearly $120,000 in 2017—it became clear we needed an individual exclusively dedicated to this work. Matt Stevens joined our team in late 2017 as our first-ever Community & Culture Director, taking on the future direction of Get Comfortable.
With dedicated support, Get Comfortable grew into a year-round campaign, assembled the Get Comfortable Advisory Council—comprising representatives from our local government, United Way, Envision Athens, the Community Foundation, and the Wellbeing Project—and coordinated the generosity of 60 other businesses for these efforts. 2018 community support tallied up to more than $450,000.
More changes came in 2019 when the annual Get Comfortable IPA release was elevated into a collaboration project with breweries we admire. This shift helped both to raise awareness for this initiative and to drive excitement behind each unique release, choosing the legendary Russian River Brewing Company as our inaugural collaborator.
Even the Covid-19 pandemic couldn’t slow the program’s momentum in 2020. We brought two new employees into this work, goBeyondProfit presented us with their Champion Award, and we collaborated with Allagash for our annual Get Comfortable IPA release. Altogether, $532,068 was raised in support of our 2020 beneficiaries.
With 2021 came two massive programmatic shifts. First, we made the decision to tether all community impact fundraising to 1% of our annual revenue. With that new predictability, we transitioned from an input-focused (x dollars distributed) to an impact-focused model, now capable of moving a specific community metric from x to y during a specified period of time. We also collaborated with Sierra Nevada for the 2021 release, hosting a pandemic-era virtual roundtable in partnership with the UGA Willson Center.
In 2022, we were thrilled to collaborate with Bell’s Brewery on the Get Comfortable IPA. Not only was our collaboration partner a highlight, but by the close of the year, the program nearly crested $3 million in total community impact!