Candice Lockard did not hesitate when asked to help Percent Tap House raise $50,000 for a Harrisburg-based nonprofit that gives those living with disabilities, or life-altering medical conditions, the chance to experience their ultimate sports fantasy.
That’s because her cousin, Brandon Furr of Matthews, is one of the more than 100 individuals who has benefitted from the generosity of Dream On 3 since its 2013 founding by Harrisburg couple Brandon and Elizabeth Lindsey.
Diagnosed with a brain tumor at 21, Mr. Furr, a husband and young father, had the opportunity to attend the 2016 X Games in Austin, Texas. Dream On 3 arranged for him and his wife, Dallas, to attend the popular extreme sports event, and Mr. Furr even had the chance to hang out with six-time X Games medalist and motocross competitor Axell Hodges.
“Dream On 3 made his dream come true,” Ms. Lockard said of her cousin, who was diagnosed in 2015 and continues to recover from cancer. “Seeing his dream come true, and hearing everything they did for him, is what made me come on board.”
A loyal Percent Tap House customer, Ms. Lockard of Harrisburg was one of four friends – a group that includes Shannon Rilloraza, Renee Molzon and Alessa Arnone – recruited by tap room co-owner Carl-Jay Castaneda upon learning that his company was one of four in the running for Dream On 3’s coveted Queen City Small Business of the Year title.
In addition to the brewery and tap room located at Harrisburg Town Center, the other small business nominees are: BGW CPA, certified public accountants with offices in Charlotte, Cornelius, Hendersonville and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Promo Logic, a Concord-based branding company; and The Vining Group, a real estate firm with offices in South Carolina.
The four finalists have until Saturday, January 25, 2020 – the night of the nonprofit’s annual Dream Gala – to reach and, ideally, exceed their individual $50,000 fundraising goal.
“Whatever dollar amount that we raise, and however we raise it, goes to our campaign,” Mr. Castaneda says. “I’ve never done anything directly benefitting a charity or a nonprofit. I’m a rookie at this, and that’s why I chose these guys to help us.”
Percent Dream Team
Ms. Lockard is joining Ms. Rilloraza of Harrisburg, another tap room patron, and Ms. Molzon and Ms. Arnone – both of Charlotte and former Publix coworkers of Mr. Castaneda’s – in scheduling several fundraisers over the next few months. Along with Mr. Castaneda, they will also be doing their part to help sell tables at the nonprofit’s annual Dream Gala.
The gala serves as Dream On 3’s main fundraiser for the year, and has raised approximately $2.3 million since the nonprofit’s inception. Though based in Harrisburg, Dream On 3 also has offices in Georgia and Washington D.C.
To hit their goal, Percent Dream Team members are organizing several fun events, including an ugly holiday sweater contest and a bottle share silent auction that will feature an assortment of exclusive and hard-to-find craft beers. Local businesses interested in supporting the effort can even sponsor a beer tap at Percent for $1,000, according to Mr. Castaneda.
Percent’s patrons can show their support by enrolling in its Huddle Up Club. They just need to pledge $10 a month, or $120 for the year, and their funds will be credited to Percent’s donations and given to Dream On 3. As a thank you, pledgers receive a free Percent Tap House pint glass and other goodies, according to Ms. Molzon.
Like her teammate, she says her response to Mr. Castaneda’s text request for fundraising help was met with “a resounding, ‘Hell, yes!’’
Ms. Molzon explained that her aunt’s boyfriend’s 18-year-old son benefitted from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit that grants the final wishes of the terminally ill, when he was suffering from leukemia. Before passing away this summer in Virginia, he was able to meet former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck thanks to the nonprofit.
“He died on the same day that Andrew Luck announced his retirement,” Ms. Molson says, adding that she considered her aunt’s boyfriend’s son a part of their family. “I just feel so blessed with this opportunity to be able to work with Dream On 3.”
‘Beer Brings People Together’
Percent Dream Team members will officially kick off their $50,000 fundraising effort with a Halloween House Party at the tap house on Saturday, October 26. The party, which runs from noon until 5 p.m., will feature both pumpkin carving and costume contests, as well as games, live music and food trucks.
It costs $25 to enter the pumpkin carving contest, and teams of up to two people can design and carve an entry. Kids are encouraged to design the pumpkins, so long as an adult does the carving. All proceeds will benefit Dream On 3.
The Halloween costume contest is open to both children and adults. There will also be raffles, prizes and live music courtesy of DJ Vonn.
The silent auction bottle share will be next up on the fundraiser list. Though plans are still in the works, the auction will be held on Sunday, December 8, most likely at a larger brewery somewhere in the greater Charlotte area.
Ms. Rilloraza plans on hitting up her beer-loving friends, as well as others with connections at some of the most desirable breweries, to assemble an eclectic assortment of coveted and hard-to-find small craft beers for the raffle.
“It’s not going to be beer that you can just go pick up at the store,” says Ms. Rilloraza, a former nurse and speech therapist. “Beer brings people together.”
“It truly does,” adds Mr. Castaneda, who opened Percent Tap House with three partners in late 2018. “That’s what I’ve learned in the year that we’ve been around beer.”
Organizers plan to incorporate additional events as they progress to help them achieve their goal. Those interested in learning more about the latest events are encouraged to visit www.percenttaphouse.com, and also follow Percent Tap House on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest happenings.
Winning Isn’t Everything
Though it would be nice to take home the Queen City Small Business of the Year title, Mr. Castaneda says that is not the main motivation.
Rather, it is the children, teenagers and even young men and women who remain positive and undeterred even when facing serious and life-altering medical conditions.
It is a sentiment shared by his team of fundraising volunteers.
“To me, I think the key is not thinking about it as a competition,” Ms. Arnone says. “It’s just letting the kids drive you.”
As part of their fundraising training, Percent Dream Team members watched videos of Dream On 3 dream recipients, and had a chance to question prior fundraiser contest winners. Mr. Castaneda even met some of the dream recipients last month after learning from Mr. Lindsey, who is serving as their fundraising coach, that their small business had been nominated for the award.
Still, what surprised Mr. Castaneda and his team the most was the uplifting nature of the Dream On 3 recipients.
“We take so much about life for granted … and the kids that Carl-Jay met had such a positive attitude on life,” Ms. Arnone says. “If you are in such a negative situation and you can still maintain that attitude, it should serve as an inspiration to all of us to be more like these kids.”
- To make a donation and support the Percent Tap House fundraising drive, please visit www.percenttaphouse.com. Those interested in sponsorship opportunities should contact Mr. Castaneda at 980-258-8651.
- Tickets to the Dream Gala will go on sale on Friday, November 29, and can be purchased at www.dreamon3.org/dreamgala.