Rotary Club’s Beerfest Helps Raise $20,000 for YWCA

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Rotary Club of Youngstown has doanted $20,000 to YWCA Mahoning Valley, money largely raised from last year’s Groundhog Beerfest.

“It’s one of the largest grants we’ve given in recent years,” said Rotary President Samantha Turner at a press event Friday at the YWCA.

The $20,000 gift “helped us continue our mission and essential programs and also to expand our mission for racial justice and empowerment for women,” said Leah Merritt, president and CEO of the YWCA, which is located at 25 W. Rayen Ave.

“We were so surprised to get it, because so many funders had other priorities this past year and that makes it hard for a nonprofit,’ Merritt continued. “The money helped us maintain 300 people in housing, whether permanent or transitional.” 

It also was used for the YWCA’s drug and alcohol and mental health programs, which have seen increased demand during the pandemic, Merritt said.

Last year’s Beerfest took place Feb.1 – the day before Groundhog Day – at Stambaugh Auditorium. It was one of the last events to take place last year, as the pandemic forced the shutdown of all public gatherings in early March.

This year’s event will be July 10 in the parking lot directly behind Stambaugh Auditorium, to allow for social distancing. Outdoor events also carry a much lower likelihood of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Capacity will be limited for this year’s event to comply with state regulations, and there will only be one session: 6 to 9 p.m. VIP tickets holders can begin at 5 p.m.

Last year’s Beerfest had about 400 attendees spread over two sessions.

More than 30 brewers offered their beverages at the 2020 event, said the Rotary Club’s Turner. She is currently talking to craft brewers about participating in this year’s Beerfest.

“We are focusing on local brewers,” she said. “We have 10 so far and that number will grow.”

The final list of brewers and other vendors at this year’s Beerfest will be unveiled at a later date.

Tickets are $40 for general admission and $60 for VIP (there is also a $5 service fee). To purchase, go to or call the Stambaugh box office at 330 259 0555.

To become a sponsor of the event, call the Rotary Club of Youngstown at 330 743 8630 or go to

Also at Friday’s event, Premier Bank presented a $2,500 check to the Rotary Club of Youngstown to fund the Beerfest.

Pictured: Leah Merritt, president and CEO of YWCA Mahoning Valley; Samantha Turner, president of the Rotary Club of Youngstown; and Groundhog Beerfest mascot Youngsatowney Paul at Friday’s press conference at the YWCA.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.