March 15, 2010

Society Notebook: Leading the charge

Portland Greendrinks institutes a nominal cover to ease crowding – and finds it's also a great way to raise money for worthy nonprofits.

By Avery Yale Kamila
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Leslie Rosa, Lacey Vassar and Morgan Kirkham.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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Sarah Cushman, founder of Portland Green Streets, Elliott May, founder of Portland Greendrinks, and Jessie Baines, Portland Greendrinks board member.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

Additional Photos Below


IF YOU'RE LOOKING to party, network and support a good cause this week, check out:


SOUTH PORTLAND BUY LOCAL, 5 to 7 p.m., Snow Squall Restaurant, South Portland. Enjoy food from local eateries and a cash bar at the kick-off event of this group raising awareness about locally owned businesses. Free. 767-4243.


BALLYHOO, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland. Fundraiser for Youth Alternatives Ingraham features eats from local restaurants and a live auction. $60.

BUSINESS AFTER HOURS, 5 to 7 p.m., Purpoodock Club, Cape Elizabeth. Portland Regional Chamber members get together for networking, food and a cash bar. Free to members/$15 nonmembers. 


PINK TIE BALL, 5:30 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland. Support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fund at the ball featuring live music, auctions and food. $75.

MARION GRACE UNLEASHES THE MADNESS, 8 p.m., Port City Music Hall, Portland. After a cocktail hour, Madgirl World unveils a collection of streetwear fashions for men followed by performances from Marion Grace, Sly Chi and The Adam Ezra Group. $10 advance/$13 at door.


CHOCOLART, 2 to 5 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn. Enjoy a variety of chocolates and raise money for SeniorsPlus. $35. 800-427-1241.




Sarah Cushman, who is the founder of Portland Green Streets, told me as the party was winding down that "it was great exposure. Considering it was an environmentally interested crowd, there were plenty of people who hadn't heard of Green Streets."

Of the $850 the nonprofit raised at the event, Cushman said "this will be our biggest fundraiser of the year."

While the thinking ahead of the event seemed to be that the cover charge would thin out the crowd, that didn't happen.

"People were giving $10 instead of $5," reported Emily Straubel, who helped greet people at the door. "It was very much a 'keep the change' kind of crowd."

The other thing I can tell you about is the apartment building. Outside the crush of party room No. 2, I had a chance to catch up with Greg Shinberg, who along with State Sen. Justin Alfond, developed the complex. Shinberg told me the 56-unit building is two-thirds rented, with most of the studios already snatched up. He gave me a quick tour, and I was impressed to see original wood floors, tubs and sinks in the sleek, modern units. Residents have access to bike storage, free wifi and a furnished studio apartment they can rent for $90 a day for overnight guests. Tenants get $75 off their rent if they don't need a parking spot.

It's features such as these that attract young professionals like Jack Woods to live in the building.

"I absolutely love it," Woods said. "Particularly the ease of access to the neighborhood."

As a Greendrinks fan, Woods said he was glad to see the cover charge and the involvement of a nonprofit. He wasn't alone.

"Here it feels like it's really directed toward an organization and an action we can take," said Jenna Vendil, who serves on the Portland School Committee. "The event itself is very focused on how everyday people can be sustainable on a day-to-day basis, such as bring your own glass."

"It was getting out of control," Chrisso Rheault said of the past events. "The earlier ones were smaller, and you could meet more people. Everyone's willing to chip in and support it."

And as Thomas Hillman told me, "two dollars is more than reasonable" for free drinks.

Which makes me think maybe they should charge $10?

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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Additional Photos

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Eric Gordon, Leanne Krudner and Abbie Plimpton.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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Kaylene Waindle, of Southern Maine Community College, Chrisso Rheault and Jenna Vendil, who serves on the Portland School Committee.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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Kate Squire and Susan Pye.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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Emily Marczak and Tom Marczak, who serves on the Portland Greendrinks board.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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The Sebago Brewing crew at Greendrinks included Bronwen Williamson, Ryan Fitch, Tom Abercrombie and Peter Dahlen.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer


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