How well do you know Kern County’s nonprofit community?

You’ve probably heard about organizations like our local homeless and animal shelters, museums and youth-focused agencies that serve boys, girls or both. But do you really understand the community impact these nonprofits make, the challenges they face or the opportunities they offer to those who want to give back?

Well, you can learn about a different nonprofit in our community every month and do so while drinking a toast to them courtesy of Kern Community Foundation’s Philanthropy on Tap program.

A partnership between the foundation, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, and local popular drink venues Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant and Temblor Brewing Company, Philanthropy on Tap showcases Kern’s hardworking nonprofits to local business leaders from the for-profit community.

Over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, business professionals get an opportunity to meet the leaders of local community-based organizations, listen to client testimonials and possibly even enjoy a little show-and-tell demonstration — a tap dance jig from Kern Dance Alliance, a friendly static bike competition put on by Bike Bakersfield, a visit from a rescued owl who found his forever home at the California Living Museum or a nice greeting from the gentle service dogs that help Wounded Heroes Fund veterans deal with post-traumatic stress.

Presenting agencies are selected through a “visibility grant” application process that, instead of money, awards them the opportunity to be showcased to potential donors and volunteers at an event hosted by the foundation.

Now in its fifth year, Philanthropy on Tap has consistently drawn attendance from members of the chamber’s Bakersfield Young Professionals group, but in recent years, many leaders from both the for-profit and nonprofit communities have also joined us at these fun, free and engaging events in the hope of developing strategic networking connections.

“Philanthropy on Tap exemplifies Kern Community Foundation’s commitment to strengthening Kern’s nonprofit sector,” said foundation President and CEO Kristen Beall. “We provide an opportunity for selected organizations to build their capacity and increase their visibility with an audience of engaged and community-minded professionals — all at no cost to the presenting organizations.”

Guests also enjoy a half-hour of networking one-on-one with presenters and one another before and after the presentation.

“These casual and intimate interactions help deepen community members’ awareness about local nonprofits’ needs,” Beall said. “Young business leaders, who will go on to become tomorrow’s philanthropists, discover opportunities to engage with charitable organizations through the various facets of philanthropy by giving to them monetarily or in-kind, volunteering or learning how to advocate on their behalf.”

The grant application period for nonprofits wanting a chance to present through Philanthropy on Tap is open every year during the entire month of August.

For more information about Philanthropy on Tap and Kern Community Foundation, visit www.kernfoundation.org, call 661-325-5346 or write to info@kernfoundation.org.

Louis Medina is the manager of community impact for Kern Community Foundation.

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