Non-profit organization

Fridays with Dr. Glass: Getting to Know Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Cancer Awareness

Photo Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass

What led you to found Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.?

Cancer is an atrocious beast that has impacted my family and friends, and I am a resilient and boisterous fighter who wants to bring awareness through baking cheesecakes as a medium to communicate awareness, so in March 2014 I founded Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

I knew I wanted my first venture in philanthropic work to be based in food. There is something about a connection that exist between a cook . . . a chef and his or her cuisine, between an artist and his or her canvas, between a baker and his or her confections, between a musician and his or her instrument. I wanted to embody the word meraki, a Greek verb often used to depict what happens when an individual leaves a piece of who he or she is (his or her love, creativity, soul) in his or her work; simply, the adoration of doing something from the core of who you are and embedding that into your passion. When you love doing something, anything, so much that you put something of yourself into it—that’s the essence of what meraki means.

Without funding for research, it’s difficult to seek any form of advancement in treatment for each cancer awareness. Why not explore “Pampering your Sweet Tooth” for “Year Round Cancer Awareness” through baking or purchasing some darn good cheesecake!? I want there to be more awareness, education, information out there about ALL of the cancers battled during the awareness month.

I noticed that Breast Cancer (pink ribbon), for instance, is recognized vehemently during its awareness month of October by local communities, professional sports, and celebrities, but not every cancer has a celebrity face to it. October is also Liver Cancer Awareness Month (emerald ribbon), and most individuals aren’t aware of this nor do they acknowledge it during the month of October. One of the main reasons, therefore, that I started Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. is to bring “Year Round Cancer Awareness” to each cancer during the awareness month.

What does Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. do?

The mission of Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. is to generate an interactive and educational platform about the various cancer awareness causes that take place throughout the year. This is accomplished through the baking and selling of individual portioned cheesecakes during the respective host month where significant contributions by Baking Ambassadors through donations to cancer research and cancer research facilities can be made.

January, for example, is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month with the cancer ribbon colors of teal and white. The color of the ribbon is taken into consideration for flavor profiles and decor of the mini cheesecakes. Part of the proceeds from the sales of CFTH, Inc. and the organization of the Baking Ambassador will go to the local charities, research, events, etc. specific to the cancer awareness month. Most people don’t know that every month of the year, except August and December, has a national cancer awareness and ribbon color(s).

What distinguishes Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. from other non-profit organizations?

All cancers, no matter how rare or lesser known, have an immeasurable impact on the individuals who battle them daily as well as their families. The research, however, for most of the cancers are underfunded.  YEAR ROUND CANCER AWARENESS, funding, research, education and empowerment are needed to provide ALL individuals battling cancer a FIGHTING chance for a cure.

Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. is different because in the spirit of love, compassion, darn good cheesecake, and hope we will foster empowerment, gratitude, the healing power of laughter, revenue, and community to lead efforts across the globe in promoting “Year Round Cancer Awareness.”

Where do you see Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. in the next five years?

In the next five years, my desire is to see Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. trending on Twitter and Facebook, flourishing on a national and global scale with Baking Ambassadors from various states and countries, established grassroot events for each respective cancer awareness (races, walks, bake sales, etc.), funding grants and new treatments for various cancers, and scholarships for cancer patients and survivors in pursuit of higher education.

How are you able to balance running a successful for-profit small business and a successful non-profit corporation?

Again, as I stated in our last interview, “No success is ever an individualistic act.” Yes, on most days, I find myself having late nights and early mornings processing thoughts and organizing all I want as an empire builder, but the power of laughter and just letting go of the reigns helps tremendously. I ask for help from those I trust, seek advice from mentors, ask as many questions as possible from other cancer non-profits based in the food industry receptive to answering, TIME MANAGEMENT, I say “no” without qualms to some extended opportunities, hard work in keeping up with both organizational cultures, volunteers, interns, and libations.

What do you need from others to reach optimal success with Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.?

One of the main things I need from other individuals is to capitalize on the power of social media and good old-fashioned running your mouth to others: follow Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. and use hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, share Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. posts on their personal and business Facebook pages, tweet/retweet about the cancer awareness for each month, and purchase the cheesecake flavor(s) featured from us and our Baking Ambassadors in each respective month. Oh! If someone could let Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Fallon know about Cheesecake For The Cure, I’d be forever indebted.

Stay Connected with the Power of the Hashtag . . .

#CheesecakeForTheCure® – #CheesecakeForAwareness® – #TheKitchenIsOURHaven® – #Sweetspreneur® – #YearRoundCancerAwareness® – #FudgeCancer

Site: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Instagram: cheesecakeforthecure

Facebook: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Twitter: cheesecake4cure

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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You Cannot Lead Anyone When You Need to Be Led

While there is a need for more non-profit organizations, everyone is not qualified to start and lead a non-profit organization.  Too many people are talking about starting a non-profit organization for the wrong reasons.  The people who are talking about forming non-profit organizations for the wrong reasons need to be led.  They don’t need to be presiding over anyone.  Some of the erroneous reasons people are talking about developing non-profit organizations are as follows: (1) simply because they are unemployed; (2) they are using discourse about starting a non-profit organization for self-aggrandizement; (3) starting a non-profit organization is the only thing they can think of to do; and (4) they need something to boost their self-esteem and this augmenting of their self-esteem has nothing to do with helping the people the organization is supposed to be founded to serve.

You have to have some qualifications, experience, skills, and accomplishments to lead people.  Traditional qualifications, experience, skills, and accomplishments are not always requisite to being able to lead people effectively, but your qualifications, experience, skills, and accomplishments must be genuine.  You cannot be an effective leader of an organization by just randomly thinking you are qualified to be a leader of an organization.  Leading, starting, and managing an effective non-profit organization is not easy.  In fact, it’s quite challenging.  If you don’t have a true love for helping people, then don’t talk about starting a non-profit organization.  Starting an effective non-profit organization is not something you can just jump up and do.  It’s also deeply offensive to the strenuous and thorough work that leaders of effective non-profit organizations do to pretend like you are serious about starting a non-profit organization when you know that you are going to do it.

For those Black men who don’t have a true commitment to launching non-profit ventures that focus on mentoring young Black males, don’t play with the serious need of mentoring young Black males simply for the vain purposes you are toying with starting a non-profit undertaking supposedly for them.  The need to ameliorate the lives of disadvantaged Black males is far too important for people to be playing around with.  For those who are attention hungry and simply see talking about starting a non-profit organization for Black males or youth in general, you need to understand that our children are too precious and important for you to attempt to use them for your own selfish gains.

We all need good people in our lives to provide us with support.  Many authentic leaders are among us.  It is vital, however, for those who are not leaders to understand that they are not leaders.  You know when you are not a leader and you know when you’re not willing to lead or don’t have what it takes to lead.  Everyone was not created to be a leader—face it!  Just as we need leaders to be great leaders, we need followers to be great followers.  The work of great leaders is significantly buttressed when they are able to benefit from great followers.

When you find yourself experiencing daily bouts with self-doubt and self-pity, the harsh reality is you are not ready and fit to lead.  There’s nothing wrong with knowing when you need to be led and when you are not ready and/or capable of leading.  It’s always critical for human beings to seek and embrace the truth, for this is the essence of what “being real” is.  Sorry to break the much needed news to you, but you don’t become a leader just by calling yourself one and pretending like you are one.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison