Taste of Madison benefits local non-profits

Madison, Wis (WMTV) -- The Taste of Madison isn’t only about the taste, it benefits over 25 non-profit organizations one drink at a time.

The Optimist Club of Downtown Madison is one of the non-profit organizations that volunteer at the festival. They said they strive to make kids’ lives better.

Most people come to the food-themed festival because of the taste, but for most non-profits, the drinks are doing more than just quenching thirst.

"It is a chance to get our name out and talk to other members of the community and see if they're interested in joining us," Philip Sheahan, Optimist Club of Downtown Madison President said.

Volunteers from more than 25 non-profits man the drink stations just like The Optimist Club of Downtown Madison. The organization serves as mentors and friends to kids in Dane County to help them achieve positive and productive lives.

“We have a big partnership with White Horse Middle School, and we also sponsor scholarships for students going to Madison College," he said.

Every tip they receive, and each volunteer hour they serve goes back to their organization

For a non-profit that's been around since the early 1900s, Sheahan said the proceeds from this event helps keep them around.

"To me it's the legacy and the fact we've been around for 90 years now and we're continuing that legacy into the future," he said.

Visitors said enjoying food from more than 80 restaurants with the opportunity to give back to local non-profits concludes a weekend of good taste.

"I think it's great that non-profits can benefit from this. It's a classic wonderful annual event. It's an added bonus to give back to the community in a way that's delicious," Mark Schilcher, Taste of Madison participant said.

Organizers said The Taste of Madison raises over $60,000 every year for local non-profits.