Sweet Impact, LLC
Two powerfully positive values are part of my DNA. One was something that my father taught me: “Don’t just complain about a bad situation; come up with a solution.” And the second one was less overt, but still learned: Re-invention comes naturally.
Food is also part of my DNA. My grandmother was a phenomenal baker. And food was her love-language. Hospitality was a habit. I inherited that gene in full! But the part about turning my skills into a business was hard to imagine. Food was used to care for others; how do you sell it? This was why I knew my work with chocolate would have to have a social justice component.
Beyond my immediate family I’ve witnessed many examples of brilliant people who have chosen lives of chronic generosity. The inspiration they provided, as well as my own inner drive, led me to pursue jobs where my skills would make a difference in the lives of others.
In 2012, my church was making plans to raise money for World Vision Micro loans, as part of our Compassion and Justice Christmas Store. I offered to make fudge to raise money. The mother of my dearest friend gave me her treasured “family secret” recipe for this fudge. She had made and sold this fudge for years to raise money for charity in Alberta, Canada. I knew it was a more tasty fudge than most people in the US were used to and hoped it would be a huge success. It was, and we were able to fund 3 micro loans for women overseas.
During 2012, I’d also started learning more about the issue of child labor and trafficking within the chocolate industry. I also watched the documentary “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The stories of the various ways women banded together to change their communities were undeniably powerful.
Founding “Sweet Impact” was my response to all of this prompting. For the first three years I’ve sold all natural fudge made with fair-trade and organic chocolate and organic sugar. And along with the fudge, I’ve spread the word about human rights tragedies, helped people find slave-free chocolate and donated $2/pound of fudge to fight for women and children in places where they are most vulnerable. For the first 2 years, that money funded microloans for businesswomen. And in the last year I connected with C.R.E.E.R., the only rehabilitation and re-homing facility in the Ivory Coast for children who have been trafficked. The business has steadily grown and I’m thrilled to be a part of a movement that asks people to care about the hidden costs of our food.
In order to create more professional chocolate lines, Sweet Impact needs a commercially licensed, controlled-climate kitchen. So far, we’ve been able to rent space at a local diner with very generous owners. But their wiring is maxed out and their kitchen climate is generally hot and humid, except in winter. This loan will cover the costs to build a small confectionery kitchen, in the basement of my home, that will meet the state and county licensing requirements, as well as equip it with some basic tools necessary for artisan chocolate making. It will open up the hours that I’m able to cook, as well as broaden the market that Sweet Impact sells to. I’ve taken a professional chocolatier course – now I need a facility that provides the environment to fully create a “Sweet Impact.”