Meet a Very Special Sunflower Bakery Patron

An Interview with Carol Trawick of the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation

Carol Trawick“G-d wanted Sunflower Bakery to happen,” Carol Trawick announced as she sat down to speak with me in Café Sunflower. She explained, “The Jim & Carol Trawick Foundation was already funding Sunflower Bakery at the time, and we had already fallen in love with the concept of Sunflower Bakery, but when I heard that a bakery went out of business and donated all of its equipment to Sunflower Bakery, I knew that G-d was with them.”

Carol views the funder-organization relationship as a partnership. She views all the organizations she supports as investments and is very interested in their long-term success. According to Carol, Laurie and Sara had all the ingredients for a successful nonprofit.  They were filling a need for a quality product; they had an exceptional strategy for filling that need; and they understood the need for earned income in order to succeed since earned income reflects well on the trainees and is a tremendous marketing vehicle. Moreover, she described Sara and Laurie as the “yin and yang”: Sara brings the technical social services experience, and Laurie provides the entrepreneurial expertise. Finally, it was important to Carol’s Foundation that this venture had commitment from the community and the fact that they began their operations in Beth Shalom, a synagogue, indicated community support for the venture.  All of these factors, in Carol’s view, worked well to put Sunflower Bakery on the path to success

“When I heard that a bakery went out of business and donated all of its equipment to Sunflower Bakery, I knew that G-d was with them.”

Carol’s foundation has been assisting local health and human service and arts non-profit organizations in Montgomery County, Maryland, for the past decade. The Foundation, which awards grants for specific projects that will make a demonstrable impact on the local community, has provided generous funding to Sunflower Bakery for the past 6+ years. Carol explained that their Foundation has changed their approach to grants over time.  She said, “We consider our foundation to be a laboratory.  Because we are small and private, we can respond rapidly to changes in the environment.”  In order to encourage nonprofits to work together, the Foundation has created TeamUp grants which have since gone viral.  The Team-Up grants are currently focusing on supporting youth at risk in middle schools and high schools through creating collaborations for after school programs. For Carol, who began her career in education and then devoted so many years to nonprofit development, the merging of these interests is a thrilling new direction for the Foundation.

When asked for anything that surprises her in her work with the Montgomery County non-profit community all these years, Carol glows “how much they give and how much they squeeze out of so very little.  I am just amazed.” Does she have any suggestions for people thinking about starting a new nonprofit, Carol’s smile widens as she says, “They should ask Laurie and Sara!”

Learn from more of Carol’s wisdom on her Blog ‘From Under My Hat…” at http://www.trawick.org/#!carol-trawick/co0h.

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