The events of 2020, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, murder of George Floyd, and subsequent calls for social change, urged the Cookie Cart Board of Directors to envision what’s next for Cookie Cart by centering equity and sustainability in a new strategic plan. As a result, Cookie Cart has deepened our commitment to the communities we serve by updating our mission and adding a vision statement and values as our guideposts.

Our Mission

Cookie Cart teaches life, leadership, and employment skills to teens of color through on-the-job and classroom experiences in nonprofit bakeries.

Our Vision

Equitable communities where Cookie Cart alumni thrive and lead.

Our Values

The potential of every young person

We believe in the innate strength of and possibilities for every young person we engage. We lift up their talents and support their future as tomorrow’s leaders.

Equity and opportunity

We advocate for a world that is just and fair, one in which all people have opportunity and a strong sense of value and belonging. We believe our presence and the benefits youth gain in our program are essential contributors to equitable communities. We support sustained action to dismantle systemic racism.

The power of relationships

We believe trusting relationships make it possible for youth to prosper and for communities to be places of connection and support. We seek to be a trustworthy employer and neighborhood partner.

Compassionate accountability

We seek excellence in all we do, holding ourselves accountable with compassion and care. We treat mistakes and questions as opportunities for learning and growth.

What this means for Cookie Cart, our Youth Employees, and Communities

Our new mission, vision, and values lay the framework for Cookie Cart’s continued growth and elevate our commitment to equity and sustainability. The forward-thinking values of our founder, Sister Jean Thuerauf, have inspired us to develop a more precise mission that specifically names the population we employ, engage, and train; a clearer vision that communicates the deepened impact we seek; and transparent values to guide future growth and decision making.

Our new strategic plan encourages us to lean into our social enterprise model to be more efficient and profitable, creating opportunities for expanded learning experiences for our youth employees – including additional leadership positions in the bakery and classroom. The plan also affirms the long-term sustainability of Cookie Cart, ensuring we will continue to be one of the largest year-round employers of youth in the Twin Cities for years to come.

We’ve deepened our commitments diversity, equity, and inclusion and seek to be an essential contributor to equitable communities. We will continue to build relationships and partnerships with our communities in order to be a trustworthy employer and neighbor.

Frequently Asked Questions

The events of 2020 – namely the COVID-19 pandemic, murder of George Floyd, and subsequent calls for social change – urged the Board of Directors to initiate an update to our Strategic Plan in order to better incorporate equity and sustainability.

The Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of Board Members and Staff, reviewed the relevancy of our mission and vision, keeping in mind who Cookie Cart is in relation to our communities and the youth we serve. The Strategic Planning Committee leaned into the forward-thinking values of Cookie Cart’s Founder, Sister Jean Thuerauf, to develop:

  • a more precise mission that specifically names the population we employ, engage, and train,
  • a clearer vision that communicates the deepened impact we seek, and
  • transparent values to guide future growth and decision making.

These updates are firmly rooted in Cookie Cart’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the long-term sustainability of the organization.

The Strategic Plan does not specify any changes to Cookie Cart’s youth program. As we operate within the refinements we’ve made to the mission, vision, and values, the youth program will continue to evolve just as it has over the last 10 years. Staff will conduct a careful interpretation of the organization’s values to determine how they look applied to the youth program.

As a result of the new strategic direction, the Board has established a permanent Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee to guide and monitor its commitment to social justice. The hiring of a Human Resources Director is also a product of the new Strategic Plan. The organization is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the first step in operationalizing this commitment is by having a Director Level position that brings an equity lens to all policies and procedures at the organization.

Cookie Cart has elevated our commitment to equity and sustainability, and now has a structure in place to monitor, evaluate, and strengthen commitments over time. The new Strategic Plan and updated mission, vision, and values, lay the framework for Cookie Cart’s continued growth, deepens our commitment to the communities we serve, and affirms our sustainability plan.

No, Cookie Cart has always been and will continue to be a space where everyone is welcome. The communities where we exist are primarily BIPOC neighborhoods, thus the majority of Cookie Cart youth employees reflect this. Including and specifically naming teens of color in our mission centers the experience and needs of BIPOC youth we employ and engage.

Cookie Cart remains an equal opportunity employer, and all individuals who fit criteria for employment are considered equally. This update to our mission also charts our path for future growth, notating that Cookie Cart focuses our services and delivery of our mission in BIPOC communities.

For reference, in 2020, 61% of youth self-identified as Black, 24% as Asian, 6% as Latinx, 3% as Multi-racial, 2% as White, and 1% as American Indian (3% of youth did not respond).

Have a question not answered here? Please email us at info@cookiecart.org

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