Cookies For a Cause

Ninth grade entrepreneur donates her earnings to charity


Photo: Wendy Katzman

Carly Katzman drops off supplies at the food bank that she had earned by selling cookies.

While many third graders were playing in a sandbox or learning how to multiply numbers, Carly Katzman was starting a baking business.

Now a ninth grader, she runs Donation Desserts. 

“It’s a social entrepreneurship business where I donate all of my profits to charity,” Katzman said.

It all started during a family trip to San Francisco in third grade. After seeing the large homeless population, Katzman was motivated to make change. 

“We went back to the hotel we were staying at, and asked if we could exchange the couple of dollars my mom had for quarters. And then I went out and I put quarters in cups,” Katzman said. “Then we were just kind of talking about it and came to the idea of combining my love for baking and for helping people.”

The business donates to two different charities: Paws and the University District Food Bank’s Packs for Kids program. Katzman’s product is a gift that comes with nine shortbread cookies

Katzman is in her sixth year as an entrepreneur and has to balance the business with school, sports and friends. 

“There’s a lot of time necessary to make all the dough, freeze all the dough and bake all the cookies. I spend every Saturday doing that because it takes 10 hours sometimes” Katzman said.

However, Katzman believes her hard work and time is worth it. 

“I think that the most rewarding part is seeing it all come together at the end, and knowing I finished and this money is going to a good cause,” Katzman said.

To stay inspired and informed, Katzman likes to keep in touch with the charities in between visits.

“I like to read the newsletters to see just what the organizations are up to and know that in some way I’m contributing to that,” she said.

Over time, she has learned to innovate in order to attract customers.

“I recently did a rebranding last year. And this reduced my amount of packaging and the amount of time it took to package materials,” Katzman said, “I also added some new cookie flavors: chocolate dip and lemon glaze.” Despite her independence, she could not have done it alone.

“I think that the most rewarding part is seeing it all come together at the end, and knowing I finished and this money is going to a good cause,”

— Carly Katzman

“My mom throughout the years has been a really big supporter. She taught me how to design and edit websites,” Katzman said.”So I can update my website now,”

Her mom, Wendy Katzman, is very pleased with her daughter’s hard work.

“I feel incredibly proud of Carly for continuing to devote her time and energy supporting organizations in our community that are making a difference in the lives of kids and animals,” Wendy Katzman said. “As any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a business has a lot of ups and downs. I’m proud of her for sticking with it.”