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How This Australian-Based Social Enterprise Is Transforming Lives—One Cookie at a Time

How This Australian-Based Social Enterprise Is Transforming Lives—One Cookie at a Time
Photo Courtesy: Rick Cohen

Worthy Cause, a Melbourne-based social enterprise charity founded by Rick Cohen, isn’t just about selling delicious cookies; it’s about creating opportunities for those who have faced barriers to employment. Through a structured employment program, Worthy Cause not only provides individuals with a means of livelihood but also nurtures their skills, confidence, and sense of purpose.

Inspired By a Personal Journey 

Rick Cohen’s journey to founding Worthy Cause is deeply rooted in his experiences. Rick faced adversity in his own life, grappling with abuse and mental health challenges. His time spent in psychiatric hospitals opened his eyes to the struggles of others who felt trapped in a cycle of unemployment and despair. 

“Growing up, I wanted to go into social change,” he shares. “I love cooking. I learned to cook at my family’s restaurant North of Venice.” This passion for cooking combined with a desire to make a difference laid the foundation for Worthy Cause. 

From Passion to Purpose

Witnessing the impact of a spontaneous fundraising effort during the COVID-19 lockdown, Rick realized the potential of combining his love for cooking with his passion for social change. “One cookie at a time is all it takes,” he recalls, “I could do this for the rest of my life.” 

In 2021, Worthy Cause was officially registered as a charity, marking the beginning of a journey toward empowerment and inclusivity. At the core of Worthy Cause’s mission is its structured 6-month employment program. This program goes beyond providing a job; it offers participants a pathway to stability, skills development, and confidence-building. “We bake and sell our amazing cookies to fund our program,” Rick says. 

Through financial literacy training, emotional counseling, and on-the-job skills building, vulnerable individuals find a supportive environment where they can thrive. “To be employable is to be self-sufficient,” Rick says. “It’s not just teaching people to work; it’s teaching them that their life is meaningful.”

How This Australian-Based Social Enterprise Is Transforming Lives—One Cookie at a Time

Photo Courtesy: Rick Cohen

Challenges and Triumphs

While the journey hasn’t been without its challenges, Rick remains committed to Worthy Cause’s vision of social and environmental responsibility. He acknowledges the importance of maintaining a balance between empathy and professionalism, ensuring that every individual feels valued and understood.

Looking ahead, Rick envisions expanding Worthy Cause’s impact beyond cookies, with plans to venture into catering and even more beyond the food industry. The goal is to create a company that not only supports its employment program but also serves as a beacon of social change and sustainability.

Joining the Movement

Worthy Cause isn’t just a charity; it’s a movement fueled by compassion and determination. Every purchase of their artisanal cookies contributes to a larger cause—empowering vulnerable individuals to build better lives for themselves.

Worthy Cause stands as a shining example of how small actions can lead to profound change. Through Rick Cohen’s vision and the dedication of its volunteers, Worthy Cause continues to spread hope, one cookie at a time. Join the movement, and let’s create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

You can find Rick Cohen on LinkedIn and shop cookies from Worthy Cause here.

Published by: Martin De Juan

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