Tavern League nonprofit lends community supportIn less than a year, the Superior-Douglas County Tavern League has pumped more than $20,000 into local nonprofit organizations through its new foundation. Next week, the league will hand an additional $5,000 check to the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
In less than a year, the Superior-Douglas County Tavern League has pumped more than $20,000 into local nonprofit organizations through its new foundation. Next week, the league will hand an additional $5,000 check to the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse.
“We can do more for the community together than we can individually,” said Dan Patterson, treasurer and Safe Ride coordinator for the league.
When the Tavern League of Wisconsin offered a program to help counties create their own nonprofit foundations, Douglas County members jumped at the chance. Launched in June, the new charitable foundation allows the league to give away the money it raises.
“We cut some checks right away,” Patterson said, including $1,000 each to Solid Rock Mission and the Salvation Army. This fall, another $15,000 was distributed to Harbor House, CASDA, Honor Flight Northland, the Humane Society of Douglas County and other organizations.
According to the Tavern League of Wisconsin, Douglas County was the guinea pig, the first to create a foundation under the new program. It took some work, Patterson said, but it was worth it “especially when we can give away this much money.”
Patterson, who owns Dreamland Supper Club, was tapped to travel the state to speak to other league leaders and encourage them to do the same. To date, a dozen additional leagues have started foundations and more are working on it, according to the Tavern League of Wisconsin.
Previously, money raised by the Superior-Douglas County Tavern League was earmarked for the Safe Ride program, which provides safe cab rides home for patrons who have had one too many drinks. It also provides a ride back to their vehicle the next day. The cost of running the program in Douglas County is about $20,000 per year. State DWI surcharges help pay for the program. Since the surcharge leapt to $15 per conviction instead of $5, Patterson said, state funding now covers most of the yearly cost. That means more of the money raised through golf outings and other events can go to the community.
The $5,000 going to CASDA next week was collected at the league’s annual Partner Party. Instead of waiting until they had another $15,000 chunk of money to give away, league members decided to hand it to CASDA now. The organization recently moved to a new building and launched a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million to renovate it. Until the renovation is complete, a temporary shelter has been set up for victims. But it only has three bedrooms; formerly, the organization had eight bedrooms.
“That means they can help a lot less people,” Patterson said.
The Douglas County league currently has 81 members. There are a total of 147 liquor licenses granted in the county, Patterson said, but some establishments belong to another league.
“We’ve been active, we’ve been doing very well,” he said. “The tavern league is doing good things.”