I am writing to ask for your support of the United Sommeliers Foundation. We organized this charity when we realized there were no resources for unemployed sommeliers. What began as a GoFundMe page has evolved into a charitable foundation. We are asking for your assistance to support the people who have and will continue to sell your products and/or influence your dining experiences. We are fully expecting the IRS to approve our 501(c)3 application which means that any monetary, product or in-kind donations will be tax deductible retroactive to the day we began the USF.
We have established a Board of Directors, filed articles of incorporation and approved bylaws. The people on our board are incredible industry figures with decades of combined experience. Additionally, we have moved away from the GoFundMe and integrated all funding into our website: www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org
So How Can You Help?
1) We are in critical need of more money in the fund. We are off to a good start (having recently dispersed our first round of $500 grants to 29 applicants). However, we cannot yet make a difference for more than a small fraction of the more than 600 sommeliers who have already applied for assistance. The applicant number continues to rise daily. I sincerely hope you and your company can contribute. I myself have already donated and intend to contribute more. Note, if your contribution needs to be tethered to a 501(c)3 organization we have a partner organization that can collect the funds on our behalf (though we do pay a fee for this).
2) Secondly, we would like your endorsement. Your recommendation to others and forwarding of our messaging to your winery partners will go a long way. You have a broad sphere of influence within the industry that can greatly bolster our efforts. Our team is embarking on an active social media campaign, and validation by top people in the industry will help accelerate donations. Recent endorsements/articles from The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and The Court of Master Sommeliers have caused a huge uptick in applications. You can also send others to the website privately by sending emails or posting on social media.
3) Through the generous assistance of Acker-Merrall auction house, we will be hosting a rolling auction of lots from different wineries and collectors, with the proceeds going to the United Sommeliers Foundation. So far we have acquired lots of large formats, verticals, OWCs and Grand Cru wines that make this a truly incredible auction thus far.
We will be heavily promoting our benefactors. If you are willing to divert some of your marketing/events budget to support our cause, you’ll not only be helping people feed themselves, their kids, pay medical bills, rent/mortgage, etc. but every single applicant (there are over 600 at present) will know that your organization contributed. Furthermore, your logos and branding will be featured on our website and in our social media and marketing campaigns. It would be realistic to expect lifelong loyalty to your brands from the hundreds of sommeliers who will know that your company helped them through their financial desperation. We are hoping to reach the $250,000 fundraising threshold by the end of the month in order to continue disbursing urgently needed emergency funds (based on objective need analysis). Our initial round of distributions was limited largely due to the amount of money we had in the Foundation’s account.
If you know of sommeliers in critical financial need, please direct them to our website. We have created an objective and anonymous evaluation process that is above reproach and complies with IRS standards for charity. Applicants’ personal information is removed so that the selection committee is basing their decisions solely on objective criteria and severity of need.
Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions. Thank you in advance for any willingness and ability to assist in this charitable cause.
Auction Donation Letter www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org/s/USF-Auction-Donation-Letter.pdf
Launch Press Release https://www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org/s/USF-Launch-Press-Relese.pdf
Owner & CEO
Second City Soil
United Sommeliers Foundation – Board Member
Sommelier of the Year 2018– Food + Wine Magazine
’40 Under 40 Tastemakers’ 2017– Wine Enthusiast Magazine