WEN FEATURED NONPROFIT
C Love Cookie Project, L3C
By Tony Zeli
What motivates you to buy a cookie? Most likely you’re satisfying a sweet tooth. I get it. I have a sweet tooth, too. But at C Love Cookie Project, L3C you can also satisfy your inner altruist. But, since you really want to satisfy that sweet tooth, let’s start with the cookies.
A PASSION FOR PASTRY
I can speak from personal experience; these cookies are delicious. Baker Katherine Slevin has worked with amazing chefs in Chicago and studied pastry in Paris. She crafts her cookies with the finest ingredients, sourced locally where possible, including King Arthur flour from Vermont, eggs from an Amish farm in northern Maine, and the highest quality chocolate.
“It’s pretty basic ingredients – you know sugar and flour,” says Katherine. But the secret isn’t really the ingredients, is it? Perhaps, it’s the passion of the chef, and that is one thing Kathrine is not missing.
“I always knew I wanted to be a pastry chef.” She describes her love of pastry as an obsession, and she pours her energy into every recipe.
“I chose just one medium and went nuts on the menu,” she says. That menu includes chocolate chip, goat’s milk caramel shortbread, vanilladudes, lavendudes, and coffeedudes (variations on the snickerdoodle, the last being made with Coffee By Design’s Rebel Blend), Lebanese shortbread, and more.
It’s $3 for a chocolate chip cookie and $5 for a bag of 3 dudes, and 21% of sales support immigrants in Portland…. Wait, what?
In addition to being in love with pastry, it turns out our baker, Katherine, also loves humanity. Let’s back up.
BEING OF SERVICE
In 2015, led by a sense of mission and deep understanding of the power of humanity, Katherine joined a friend from Bible group and volunteered on the Greek island of Lesvos. This was during the peak of the European refugee crisis. In fact, Katherine and her friend were in Greece when the three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed ashore. The image of Kurdi’s body made global headlines after he drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on September 2nd, 2015.
For six months Katherine aided refugees. Upon returning to Maine, she was moved to help others in her community. And so, she founded C. Love Cookie Project, L3C to combine her obsession with pastry with her passion to be of service to others.
The L3C business model is a hybrid legal entity for a low profit company that has a charitable mission. The L3C model fits neatly into Katherine’s vision for herself, a 50/50 split between a baking business and a community mission.
21% OF SALES TO SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS
As mentioned before, Katherine gives 21% of sales to organizations that support immigrants in Portland. Why 21%? She wanted to choose organizations that directly support immigrants at each of three stages: welcome, education, and community. Each organization receives 7% of sales, for a total of 21%.
It wasn’t easy choosing, but the organizations that Katherine settled on are: Way of Life Mission, providing basic needs to those who have re-settled in Maine; Portland Adult Education; and The Root Cellar, a community center in East Bayside.
As of print, C Love Cookie Project has raised over $14,000. No small cookie for a sole baker in Portland, Maine. But Katherine is moved to do this work.
“I mean it’s insanely hard,” she admits. “Every year I joke that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done… But I also feel this insane drive. And I’m at a point in my career where I don’t feel any pressure anymore.” This allows Katherine to leave behind the stress of competition and put the mission first.
Katherine also partners with the Opportunity Alliance’s WIN (Women in Neighborhoods) program to provide one-on-one baking classes with immigrant women and their families. “A big part of the mission is supporting women and bringing them into the kitchen. And cookies are the most basic and easiest pastry-thing to teach,” Katherine says.
The baking classes are developing and one day may be a 501c3 project. In the meantime, you can help C. Love by spreading the word and ordering cookies.
WHERE TO FIND THE LOVE
C. Love does not have a retail front… yet. You can find C Love Cookies at Coffee By Design, Portland Food Coop, Browne Trading Market, Standard Baking Co., and many other local retailers. Or order online at https://www.clovecookieproject.com/special-order.
The West End News Featured Nonprofit is brought to readers with support from Benchmark Real Estate.