#Changemakers in the Disabilities Community: Michael Finley

photo courtesy Michael Finley

When Michael Finley was growing up in Dallas, his grandmother offered afterschool care out of her home. Every afternoon, he would head to his grandmother’s and spend time with her and the other children. In that group of kids was a young girl named Nikki who had Down syndrome. Finley’s grandmother looked after Nikki from the time she was six months old until she was 13 or 14. Through that time, Finley formed a friendship with Nikki that would impact his future path.

In May of 2015, Finley began working at Peticolas Brewing Company near downtown Dallas, eventually moving into a marketing and events role. About a year later, My Possibilities reached out to him about hosting a beer dinner. My Possibilities (MP) is a Plano nonprofit that provides continuing education and job training for adults with intellectual disabilities. MP’s students are lovingly called HIPsters, or Hugely Important People.

“One of my friends from middle school actually used to work at MP in the culinary department, and she reached out about the dinner,” Finley shared. When Peticolas – and Finley – learned about MP’s mission, they jumped at the chance to host.

Michael Finley (left) with My Possibilities Executive Director Michael Thomas at the release of HIPster Ale // courtesy My Possibilities
Michael Finley (left) with My Possibilities Executive Director Michael Thomas at the release of HIPster Ale // courtesy My Possibilities

“When My Possibilities came to do the dinner at Peticolas, they did everything for us. The HIPsters cooked all the food, set up all the tables, did all the serving. Seeing them do it all with a smile on their faces – it just warmed my heart to know that there is a program out there like that,” Finley said.

Since that dinner in 2016, Peticolas has partnered with My Possibilities on several events. “We partner with MP on an annual basis for Give Back Thursday. We donate 15% of our beer sales and all donations from charity bingo and food sold that day,” Finley said. In 2018, the MP buses were vandalized so the brewery initiated a fundraiser to have them fixed.

In the summer of 2019, Peticolas launched a limited-edition beer called HIPster Ale. Half of the profits earned on HIPster Ale benefit My Possibilities.

Sales of Peticolas' HIPster Ale benefit My Possibilities
Sales of Peticolas’ HIPster Ale benefit My Possibilities

MP was also the benefactor of the Velvet Hammer 5K put on by Peticolas. “With the money raised from that, we hosted the Community Ball afterparty at The Thirsty Growler in The Colony,” Finley shared. 

And for the last two years, Peticolas has sponsored holes at the HIPster Golf Classic held in Frisco. “We offered free Peticolas beer to the players, and in 2019, we were able to pour HIPster Ale,” said Finley. Last year Peticolas was the craft beer sponsor for MP’s “A Special Evening” event, which was held at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Finley also saw an opportunity for the brewery to get involved in MP’s mission of training adults with intellectual disabilities for gainful employment through the LaunchAbility Career Services program. Peticolas hired LaunchAbility client Josh P. with the help of Monnica Bruno, his MP job coach.

LaunchAbility client Josh P. works at Peticolas Brewing Co.
LaunchAbility client Josh P. works at Peticolas Brewing Co.

“Finley and Josh’s relationship is amazing. From day one with our job developer, Finley recognized Josh’s abilities and provided a position to capitalize on those abilities,” Monnica shared. 

“Finley is a natural at providing accommodations as the need arises with utmost respect for Josh and his disability. Finley ensures Josh’s safety and well-being, then tackles the unique requirements needed for Josh to excel at his job,” she continued.

“People like Finley are rare,” said My Possibilities Executive Director Michael Thomas. “He constantly presents creative ways to support MP and bring awareness to our mission. It’s an honor to collaborate with someone who genuinely gives his all to the HIPsters.”

Finley’s persistent work to help Peticolas collaborate with My Possibilities has truly made an impact on the lives of many HIPsters. Through each collaboration, these Hugely Important People are reminded that they play an integral role in the community throughout the DFW area. Finley is already looking forward to the next chance to collaborate with the team at My Possibilities.

My Possibilities >

The above content is sponsored. We have partnered with My Possibilities to spotlight #Changemakers in the disabilities community.

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