Denver Nonprofit The Underdog Family Celebrates Its Anniversary | Westword

Wing It on Sunday at a Celebration for Nonprofit That Helps Restaurants Navigate the Digital World

The Underdog Family is celebrating its next chapter with a party in RiNo complete with free wings from Genna Rae's.
Raspberry mango habanero wings from Genna Rae's, one of the best wing joints in town.
Raspberry mango habanero wings from Genna Rae's, one of the best wing joints in town. Molly Martin
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If navigating Sunday brunch — with its inevitable crowds — seems unappealing this weekend, consider hitting up Lustre Pearl at 1315 26th Street in RiNo instead.

On Sunday, June 9, the bar is hosting a fourth-anniversary party for the Underdog Family (TUF), a nonprofit organization that assists local restaurants with their digital presence, and you're invited.

Show up at 3 p.m. (another bonus: You get to sleep in!) at Lustre Pearl, where you'll be able to taste some of the best wings in Denver from Genna Rae's Wings & More.

Genn Dickerson owns the takeout-only spot in Whittier, which has been serving seriously delicious comfort food for seriously affordable prices since 2016 and has worked with TUF since the nonprofit's inception in 2020. "[Genn's] wings are unbelievable, but he didn't have a website," notes Derrick Knudsen, TUF's vice president and board director. "There were a lot of opportunities for efficiencies."
click to enlarge two men standing outside near a tree
The Underdog Family co-founder Chin Weerappuli and Genna Rae's owner Genn Dickerson.
Courtesy The Underdog Family
Over their years of partnership, Knudsen continues, Genna Rae's has seen increases of up to 20 percent in its margins "by building the website, getting Menufy [online ordering] and funneling away from Uber Eats and DoorDash."

The Underdog Family launched with a heavy focus on volunteers providing technical services, Knudsen explains, but that's changed as COVID-related business restrictions have disappeared. "The team went from thirty to [co-founder] Chin [Weerappuli] and myself," he notes.

Recently, the two have brought on three employees to handle social media, a website redesign and events. It's a big change that has necessitated a shift in operations. "Now we’re more community-driven and bringing awareness to existing client businesses," Knudsen explains. Rather than having volunteers maintain client websites, "we do more of a tech workshop. Now we do it quarterly — bring clients in and do a two- to four-hour workshop and teach them to maintain it themselves.

"The volunteer model is ever-changing," he acknowledges. "It’s like a living organism, and every couple of months, it's like, 'What can we do differently?'"

Sunday's celebration will also serve as a kickoff of sorts for "this next chapter of the Underdog Family," he adds. No tickets or RSVPs are required: "Come one, come all," Knudsen says.

Guests will nosh on free wings and enjoy tunes from DJ Dill; the bar will be serving both boozy and N/A drink specials like $5 green tea shots. It's a great opportunity to enjoy some great bites and connect with folks at TUF about their new model, which Knudsen says will still utilize volunteers but on an event-specific basis.

To learn more about the organization, check out its Instagram page and newly redesigned website, which launches on June 8. 
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