They’re new to Indy, so of course they’re leading an effort to deliver 10,000 pancakes to frontline healthcare workers
Craig Cumberland is a veteran of Silicon Valley. He’s created and led innovation efforts and product development organizations, leading mergers & acquisitions/integration, global team building and leadership development and management, for the likes of Microsoft, Microsoft Research, AOL, Nokia, Adobe, Amazon, Google. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Products and GM, Manufacturing Software division at GE Digital.
In short, he was a player in the center of the tech world. Was being the operative word in that sentence.
Craig and his partner, Carla Mitchell, are among Indianapolis’ newest residents. A few months ago, they put the congestion and expense of the West Coast, along with their management jobs, behind them for better quality of life. Both had ties to the state, as Craig had attended Indiana University – Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, and Carla spent several years lobbying at the Statehouse for AARP.
“One of the reasons I’m here is the growing tech hub,” Craig said. “I’m telling all of my friends, ‘You gotta get out of there. It’s not worth it to be on the West Coast anymore when there are so many opportunities in places like Indy.”
While seeking their next career opportunities, Cumberland is doing volunteer work with local tech groups. Carla, most recently an executive in the senior living industry, is volunteering with a local hospice. They have a lot more free time on their hands than either is used to having and they often get breakfast from the Lincoln Square Pancake House on Meridian Street.
“We’ve always worked in jobs that don’t leave us with a lot of energy at the end of the day,” Carla said. “We’ve always supported charitable organizations but never had time or energy to be personally involved. We have this window of time, so it seems like the perfect time to give back. What we’d do, though, we didn’t initially know.”
Lincoln Square provided the answer to what their form of giving back would be.
“The pandemic has only gotten worse since we moved here, and everyone seems to be fatigued by it,” Craig said (as a veteran of the USMC, he would know). “They are our frontline in this fight against the virus. But healthcare workers and their families don’t have the luxury of giving in or giving up. We want to show them that they’re appreciated, that their families are appreciated.
It was Carla, who came up with the answer. “Let’s give them breakfast!”
Craig challenged, “Let’s make it 10,000 pancakes!”
In just about a week, they had enlisted Lincoln Square, launched 10000Pancakes.org and created a GoFundMe page. Knowing the restaurant industry is suffering from the pandemic, too, they don’t plan to ask for food donations.
They paid for the first 1500 pancakes themselves – along with healthy portions of eggs, sausage and hash browns – and delivered them last Thursday to the 3rd shift workers at Community Hospital North. Additional meals went to the hospital’s Emergency units, Behavioral health and Cardiac hospital as well.
“That third shift is tough,” Carla said. “We wanted to start with them because that shift is often the one hardest to staff and difficult challenges are commonplace during the night when there are few hands to help.”
The experience has helped the couple learn more about Indianapolis and to meet more people. Craig has made inroads into the tech community, volunteering as a mentor for TechStars- Heritage Group and serving on an IU board at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering with TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier.
He had observed the most recent in-person Xtern Finalist Day, and that was the tipping point for him to suggest Indy as his and Carla’s next home base.
“It was impressive to see so many companies come together to interview so many energetic and excited young people,” he said. “It really showed that you have a vibrant and real community here.”
Both Craig and Carla have lived all over the world.
“Indianapolis offers everything we want,” Craig said. “A great culture and environment, impressive universities, a growing tech hub, a great airport and friendly people. We’re Hoosiers now and we’re really loving this way of helping out.”
Want to help Craig and Carla meet their 10,000 Pancakes goal? Start at www.10000pancakes.org to learn more about the effort and then go to GoFundMe – 10,000 Pancakes. Also, #10000pancakes on Twitter and 10000pancakes on Instagram.
All support is welcome, no contribution is too small. As Carla says, “Give ‘til it feels good.”