Philanthropy comes in many shapes and sizes. To prove that point, Kern Community Foundation and Bakersfield Young Professionals, a program of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, have joined forces to host an exciting event series: Philanthropy on Tap.

Designed to educate and expose young professionals to local nonprofits in a casual and intimate setting, the series is quietly gaining popularity. Here’s how it works: On the first Tuesday of the month, interested young professionals gather at Imbibe (4140 Truxtun Ave.) at 5:30 p.m. to enjoy a glass of wine and tasty appetizers and hear a brief presentation from a local nonprofit organization. They have an opportunity to ask questions, speak directly with the nonprofit representatives and talk with other like-minded peers.

Each month is an opportunity to learn about a different nonprofit organization. Kern Community Foundation picks up the tab and our nonprofit partners increase their visibility while introducing themselves to the next generation of community leaders. Our overarching goal is to connect young professionals to the causes they care about, planting the seeds that may, in time, lead them to serve on nonprofits’ board of directors, participating in community events or donating highly valued time or money.

Nonprofit organizations are selected to participate through a competitive application process and must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization registered with Kern Community Foundation. In 2016, 39 organizations submitted applications for just 11 2017 openings. Each application is read and evaluated by a committee of community volunteers who collectively make the final selections.

Presentations range from elaborate video productions to more simple PowerPoint slides, some involve hands-on activities while others may showcase their fascinating clientele – think a porcupine from CALM or a desert tortoise from Wind Wolves Preserve!

So if you are a young professional with an empty calendar on the first Tuesday of the month, head over to Philanthropy on Tap at Imbibe. You never know who you might meet, what you might learn or how you might get involved! 

Kristen Beall Barnes, Ed.D., is the president and CEO at Kern Community Foundation. Contact her at or 616-2601. The views expressed in this column are her own.

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