Robbie York (ABJ ’05) has made his home in electrifying New York City where he and three partners run American Whiskey Bar and Restaurant in lower Manhattan. During college football season, American Whiskey is a magnet for the 6,100 UGA graduates living in the New York City area. This Bulldog haven proudly displays a red and black banner year-round – a comforting symbol for those far from Athens.
When American Whiskey was forced to close its doors in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NYC Dawgs sprang into action to protect their home away from home.
The NYC Alumni Chapter leadership board immediately made personal donations to help cover the staff’s salaries and expenses. It was important to the chapter leaders to support the personnel who do so much to match Sanford Stadium’s game-day energy each Saturday in the fall.
After the NYC alumni board made an initial donation, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to continue supporting the staff as it became more uncertain when the restaurant would open its doors again. All the donations received via the GoFundMe campaign went directly to the staff.
“It amazes me to see the community we’ve built in New York City, and that our alumni feel so connected to our New York chapter that they want to donate,” said Shelby Clayton, president of the NYC Dawgs. “That’s a testament to UGA as an institution, a place where we have common ground to rally together to support those who have supported us.”
Athens, Georgia doesn’t seem so far away for more than 6,000 University of Georgia alumni in New York City when they step into the doors of American Whiskey to cheer on the Bulldogs. @drpepper pic.twitter.com/tHMEG5PL1W
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 22, 2019
As of May 1, more than 320 donors have contributed to the GoFundMe campaign and raised over $41,000, with the first $10,000 matched by Dawgs 365, a Georgia fan sports group. Even former Georgia football standouts like Aaron Murray (BS ’12), Arthur Lynch (AB ’13) and Tavarres King (BSED ’12), rallied for the cause.
“Donations have been from all over. We have raised a little over $51,000 for our staff,” York says. “The NYC Dawgs were first to ‘answer the bell’ and since then we have received support from Dawgs_365 on Instagram, UgaSports.com, and regular game-watching party attendees. We are overwhelmed and humbled by the response as a whole.”
The NYC Dawgs and American Whiskey also teamed up to host a virtual G-Day tailgate on April 18. More than $800 was raised that day through a variety of games alumni and fans played on Zoom.
If there’s anything this story reveals, it’s that Bulldogs Never Bark Alone. No matter where how far they may travel from Athens, the UGA alumni family supports each other. And during these uncertain times, Bulldogs know that’s all we need: each other.
Do you know a Georgia Bulldog helping others or their alma mater during the COVID-19 outbreak? We’d love to hear their story!