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Jeni’s ice cream supports effort to get more women running for elective office

She was not quite a teenager when Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, got a huge vote of confidence that would impact her future.

At age 12, her grandmother told her she could be anything she wanted to be -- doctor, lawyer, or astronaut, said Bauer in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch.  

But Bauer quickly decided she didn’t want to be any of those things. Instead, she wanted to own her own business.

In 2002, Bauer opened the first Jeni’s ice cream shop at North Market in Ohio during an Ohio State-Michigan game. Her first attempt at selling ice cream in that location, a public market in downtown Columbus, had ended in a melt down, but she was determined to succeed. 

Now 15 years later, the company operates 32 scoop shops, including four in metro Atlanta (Avalon, Decatur Square, Krog Street Market and Westside Provisions District) and has placement in hundreds of grocery stores nationwide.

This year, for its annual fundraiser, Bauer is supporting an effort to give hundreds of girls and young women the same vision for their future that her grandmother offered to her so many years ago. 

On Feb. 3, national Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Bauer is opening her scoop shops three hours early. The company will donate 50 percent of all sales made between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to She Should Run, a nonprofit close Bauer’s heart.

“We’re supporting She Should Run this year because we believe the work they do is bigger than politics. As more women are elected into office they become role models to young girls and women,” Bauer said.

Anyone who doesn’t live near a Jeni’s scoop shop can support the effort by ordering online now through Feb. 3. The company has released two “Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” online collections that feature six or nine of their seasonal pints.

She Should Run is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 2011 to empower a diverse group of women to lead in elected office.

During the 2018 Women’s March earlier this month, women across the country and in Georgia, vowed to become more politically involved, not just by protesting or marching, but by actually running for office. 

Read More: One year after Trump’s inauguration, Georgia women plunge into politics

She Should Run has a series of initiatives ranging from a partnership with Mattel to create the first Barbie president and vice-president dolls to an online incubator and upcoming mentorship program to help women who are interested in political leadership. Their goal is to have 250,000 women running for office by 2030. 

“(Women elected to office) show what’s doable by example. Meaning the next generation of women can actually envision the possibilities of leadership, not just dream about it. Which is a pretty amazing thing,” Bauer said. 

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.