Taking inspiration from loss of a loved one, former hotel and hospitality maven Carol Brownman Sneider founded the 501c3 organization known as Bakes for Breast Cancer in memory of her mother, who succumbed to the tragic disease in 1973.
This past Mother’s Day, Sneider hosted the 17th annual B4BC event in Boston and celebrated the third edition of the RI B4BC event. As she prepares for the first ever Cape & Islands Bakes for Breast Cancer June 6-12 (noting that The Cape has a 20% higher incidence rate of breast cancer than the national average), Sneider looks back with appreciation for her mother’s life and also for all that she has been able to accomplish through desserts. The events thus far have raised more than $1 million dollars, but much more is still needed. That is what keeps Sneider moving and baking.
How do you define your venture?
I took a horrible loss and turned it into something positive. This was meant to be my venture.
For me it is important for anyone and everyone to make a difference and help in the fight against breast cancer by simply buying a dessert, taking a cooking class, holding an office bake sale, a bake sale or other events we will kick off in the future. I think my mission in life is to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer and do these events to make a difference. I know there is so much more I can do, but I am grateful for the support I have received from so many to be able to do what I do. It is my participants that make my events come to life. I am able to accomplish this through desserts.
What gave you the idea?
My widowed mother (an Ashkenzi Jew), passed away from breast cancer at the age of 44 in 1973 when the odds of getting breast cancer were 1 in 20, at time when no one mentioned the word cancer or breast cancer. She left behind two daughters – aged 16 and 11 years. We only found out one month before their mother’s death that she had breast cancer.
In 1990, we started a Fund at Dana-Farber named in her memory. The Eva Browman Breast Cancer Fund got us into fundraising and events. By 1999, I wanted to create an event that crossed all socio-economic demographics, enabling everyone to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. In 2011, B4BC became a nonprofit organization and, ever since, we have expanded our vision beyond this one event and have more that we would like to do to raise more money for breast cancer research.
Our signature event is Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer. It takes place the week of Mother’s Day every year. It was based on memories of baking with my mother- sugar and spice and everything nice! We have grown from just holding this one event!
Who is your customer base or demographic?
Our demographics are endless. Everyone knows someone touched by breast cancer. The potential for what we are doing more is limited by our imagination; There is incredible growth possible for our current events and for events in new markets. We want to grow our organization, do more and raise more money for breast cancer research.
How do you hope to fit into the market?
We enable everyone to make a difference in simple, easy ways that are meant to fit into everyone’s daily lives.
What do you most need to be a success?
We need sponsors who want to help us reach new levels in new markets as well as our current markets. We also look for more participants in our events and more people to enjoy the desserts who can help make a difference for a disease that touches so many we know and love.
This interview is part of Matt Robinson’s continuing set of Jewish and Israeli entrepreneur features. Please look for it on Sundays and suggest subjects. Todah!