Mode’s Tavern engages #givebackmode to raise $11,000 for local organizations

In under a year, small business owners Matt and Jill Nemode have used their Give Back program at Mode’s Tavern to raise approximately $11,000 for local organizations, teams, and schools.

What started as a baseball team asking for help has exploded into a full-blown fundraising program, and the Nemodes couldn’t be happier. While both Matt and Jill credit their families for instilling the value of giving in them, their careers with Aflac have also brought the needs of the community front and center. Both work day jobs for Aflac, Matt for 16 years and Jill for the past five years.

Matt says, “What we have learned through Aflac is a lot about taking care of people and doing good things. When we decided that we were going to open a bar, it wasn’t just going to be a typical bar. We wanted to use it as a vehicle to give back to the community and help out.”

Mode’s, 108 N. Linn St., opened in July of 2020, but formalized its giving program in the spring of 2022. Matt says he and Jill looked at what other local restaurants were doing for fundraising – commonly 10% of sales if the customer brought a fundraising slip – and streamlined it.

“It started with a group of Little League parents who asked if we would be interested in doing something. Jill and I were just talking and said if we don’t mess around with the slips and just give 20% of the sales, we could run it for half the day,” Matt explains. “We eventually found it was easier to just run it for the whole day.”

“Jill suggested we do it on a Monday because that’s our slowest day. So we did one, then had another group reach out and ask if we could do it for them. Jill said, ‘Let's post it out there and see what we get for a response.’ ”

The couple didn’t have to wait long. Within 25 minutes of posting, they booked out the remainder of the year with fundraisers, or approximately 38 straight “Give Back Mondays.”

“It was a great response,” Matt says. “We also moved into some Wednesdays because we had so much interest.”

Though Matt’s years of high school coaching led him to understand the need for fundraising in athletics firsthand, the program is open to anyone whose organization or group needs funds. Mode’s has given to Little League teams, hockey organizations, the Disability Services Resource Center, Mitten Mutts, booster clubs, high school teams and events, and BASA travel soccer, to name a few.

Matt, who also serves as Chairman of the Midland Street Management Board, loves meeting the people attached to these organizations and learning the story behind what they do. New groups are approaching him constantly, and he is excited about having the opportunity to give back on a larger scale.

“One of the real positives that we’ve experienced is that we are starting to get larger organizations asking if we can do something, like bigger events, and so we are working on a couple things right now to tie in the whole Midland Street district. It’s super cool to see not only the interest in coming to Mode’s, but also their interest in spotlighting the Midland Street Business District while helping our organization,” Matt says.

Foot traffic on Mondays and Wednesday has noticeably picked up since beginning the Give Back program and is constantly bringing new faces into Mode’s.

“We have a lot of aunts and uncles and grandparents come in for the first time and say, ‘Oh this is nice. We didn’t think it would be like this.’ They come in for a fundraiser on Monday, and then they come back on Thursday for steak sandwiches, or they come in on the weekend. We earn repeat customers. They go in to support a family member and come out with a new place to stop on their list,” he says.

“A lot people say we’re kind of dumb for giving 20% of our sales back, but we wouldn’t have those sales without those organizations, so for us it's an investment into what we do.”

The Nemodes plan to continue #givebackmode in 2023 and beyond. Interested groups and organizations can reach out through Mode’s Tavern’s Facebook page or by email at

Read more about Mode's Tavern in this 2020 Route Bay City article.
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