Springfield, MO

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2014 40 Under 40 Honoree: Annie Pope

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The spirit of giving motivates Annie Pope in her Nixa-based TwentyOne Cakes LLC bakery business and throughout her life. Paired with her passion to educate the public about Down Syndrome, as well as support new parents who receive this diagnosis, Pope has become a dynamic force for positive change.

“Because I’m the owner, I can donate cupcakes, cakes and gift certificates to organizations and events,” Pope says. “Some donations bring in fundraising dollars to their own organization, while other donations brighten someone’s day.

“While a cupcake may not make that big of difference in people’s lives, it gets them talking about our business and our desire to encourage Down Syndrome awareness in our community.”

Pope’s passion is a recipe for success. Her bakery has been featured in local and regional print and broadcast media and in each article, Pope explains her business’ unique name.

“We named our business TwentyOne Cakes to bring awareness of Trisomy 21, commonly called Down Syndrome,” she explains. “My son, Simon, was born in 2009 with Down Syndrome, and we wanted our bakery to stand for something.

“We donate a portion of each sale to Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks, where I’m a board member and focus on new parent and medical outreach.”

In addition, Pope frequently is asked to speak to school and church groups, as well as numerous community organizations such as the Nixa Fire and Police departments and Ronald McDonald House.

“I want people in our area to know that people with Down Syndrome are capable of doing anything a typically developing person can do with the right support. They have the same dreams and desires that we all do,” she says.

DSGO’s goal is to instill the belief that people born with the syndrome are more like their peers than different. Pope has met with 20 families and babies with the new diagnosis. Each time, she shares her own story about Simon and how he is the inspiration for her own bakery.

“I have no formal culinary training. We make all our cupcakes and cakes from scratch from recipes I tried in my home kitchen,” she says. “I have no degree in business, but have been able to successfully run our business paying salaries for two employees, an SBA loan on our own building, and donating to a nonprofit on a regular basis.”

Pope’s DSGO board work also has brought her into contact with nurses and doctors to make sure they have updated information regarding the syndrome, the most common genetic anomaly. Because of her work supporting families, DSGO has asked her to become its new parent coordinator.

“As a parent who received that diagnosis for her child, this time is extremely difficult, unfamiliar and tedious,” she says. “Very few people understand the emotions after receiving news like that.”[[In-content Ad]]


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