A Toast to Ale-Truism: Pub Patrons’ Donations Help Put Books in Hands of Portland’s Needy Kids

This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories, and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.
At the Oregon Public House in Portland, charitable giving — or, as they put it, ale-truism — is on tap along with nearly a dozen types of beer.
Billed as the world’s first nonprofit pub, the bar gives customers a warm feeling (beyond the one that comes with downing a pint) by letting them select one of six worthy causes for the public house to donate profits to.
“Our menu options are ‘eat, drink, give,’ ” owner and founder Ryan Saari told CBS. “So you place your order of food, you place your order of drink, and then you choose where you want your profits to go to from a list of charities.”

One of the current favorites is the Children’s Book Bank, which collects new and gently used books, patches up those in need of repair, and delivers them, free, into the hands of homeless and disadvantaged kids.
Executive Director Danielle Swope told KGW-TV there’s a huge gap in book ownership between privileged and underprivileged kids. In middle- and upper-class families, there are an average of 13 books for every child; in low-income families, there is a paltry one book for every 300 children.

Proceeds from pints and plates at the pub have totaled more than $100,000 in donations to nearly 100 nonprofit organizations, including local PTAs and groups dedicated to preventing child abuse, eliminating hunger, protecting the environment — and giving books to kids who otherwise might have none.

The donation list changes twice a year — and to help customers choose their charity, volunteers come in to serve and lend a personal touch. That face-to-face time is a powerful tool for spreading the word about some very good causes.

Beer and books? Raising people up by raising a glass? How Portland, right?

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