Our Economic Opportunity Road Tour made its first stop at Lemonade Day in Houston where we visited lemonade stands around the city beginning with a special Lemonade Day event hosted by Michael and Lisa Holthouse at their home. More than 40 donors from across the country got a first-hand look at this unique model for training young entrepreneurs, and Lemonade Day champions from across the country eagerly shared their strategies for helping others bring this program to their communities.
Fourteen young entrepreneurs manned individually designed lemonade stands set up along the Holthouses’ driveway. Each stand demonstrated a core value of Lemonade Day. The team from the Boys & Girls Clubs spoke of setting goals at their stand, while the Boy Scouts presented the lesson, “Setting Up—Being Prepared.”
Profusions of lemons in every form, ice sculptures, music, and culinary delights added zest to a party which could never be described as low on energy. As exciting as the gala was, however, the lasting memories of the event came from the personal stories of young entrepreneurs and the adults who support this program. John Sheptor shared his remarkable journey from standing in line for public assistance to becoming CEO of Imperial Sugar, and Michael Holthouse told the story of his daughter’s first lemonade stand, the seed from which the idea for Lemonade Day grew.
At our pre-tour breakfast at the Houstonian Hotel, Gov. Rick Perry greeted us in a special welcome video in which he lauded the positive effects Lemonade Day has had upon citizens and communities in his state.
We also visited a National Blue Ribbon School, T. H. Rogers, which has programs for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, the multiply impaired, and the gifted and talented. Every sixth grader there was hard at work on a lemonade stand.
As the tour continued through Houston’s neighborhoods, the community support we saw for this program was extraordinary. In a park full of lemonade stands in the Heights, Delilah’s “all-natural lemonade” was a hit, and one of our guests even took a lacrosse stick in hand to place a winning shot for a free refill at the LAX BRO stand.
Tina Knowles, co-founder of the House of Deréon Media Center and mother of Beyoncé, greeted us in the center’s lot, which she had transformed into Lemonade Day fair grounds.
At the Project Row Houses, a neighborhood-based nonprofit art and cultural organization in Houston’s Northern Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American communities, there were stands manned by teams of enthusiastic young entrepreneurs in front of every historic house.
Lemonade Day’s entrepreneurship training teaches kids not only the skills to become successful but also the value of giving back to their communities. If you would like to learn more about Lemonade Day and The Philanthropy Roundtable's Economic Opportunity program, please contact us at (202) 822-8333.