ANDERSONVILLE — Hopleaf — a neighborhood staple since 1992 — is hosting its annual “Peirce Day” on Sunday. For the entire day, all of the pre-tax proceeds will go to Peirce Elementary School, located just around the corner from the bar.
Owner Michael Roper said Hopleaf got involved with Peirce Elementary just over a decade ago. He was used to writing several small checks to all the groups and organizations that would approach the bar. But he wanted to feel a connection to the bar’s giving.
Roper said that partnering with Peirce made the most sense.
“When you have a business like mine people are always asking for money for all these great causes, but you never really know what happens with the money,” he said.
Roper met with the principal of Peirce and said he got “a really good feeling” about the educational direction of the school. Thus, a partnership was born.
Initially, Hopleaf held a few brunch fundraisers and a Kegs for Kids beer festival off-site. Over the years, the initiative has morphed into Peirce Day.
Roper said it is probably their busiest day of the year. People from the Peirce community and neighborhood supporters all pack the place. Last year they raised over $25,000. This year Roper hopes to raise $30,000.
“Having a viable public education option for parents who live around here is good for business,” he said. “It helps keep people in the neighborhood.”
Hopleaf is even donating the cost of labor and goods.
Roper meets with the Peirce Elementary administration each year to determine where the school has unmet financial needs. From there, Roper decides where the money can be best spent.
He particularly wants to support art, music, after school programs and technology. Some years Hopleaf has given Peirce money to buy new computers, while other years they have supported theatre programs that help kids come out of their shell. One year they funded a class trip to Washington D.C.
“There is always a lot the school needs,” he said.
Roper said he hopes the event will encourage other local businesses to hold similar fundraisers. He wants every school in Chicago to be sponsored by other businesses who can form partnerships like the one Hopleaf enjoys with Peirce.
“There is definitely a school in every neighborhood that needs help,” he said. “In a perfect world schools would all be perfectly funded by taxes, but that’s not the case. If you donate to the neighborhood you can definitely have a better connection to the results of your giving.”
If you want to support Hopleaf’s fundraiser for Peirce — or if you just want to enjoy a tasty brew — you can stop by Hopleaf anytime on Sunday and know your money will be used to help the kids at Peirce Elementary School.