Here's something interesting: Bill Gates, one of the most well-known technology entrepreneurs of all time, may ultimately be remembered not for the role he played in shaping the "computer age" but for his philanthropy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the country, giving away billions every year. Bill Gates is both an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Wouldn't it be something if all of our brightest, boldest, most fearless risk-taking entrepreneurs also applied their talents to solving the world's problems? I mean, Bill Gates actually has a goal of eradicating polio worldwide. Yes, eradicating polio worldwide.
Our goal with Lemonade Day is to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and philanthropists: the future Bill Gateses of the world. Specifically, Lemonade Day teaches kids how to start, own and operate their own business: a lemonade stand. Kids begin signing up in March and are provided access to a web-based workbook to learn how to run their lemonade business and prepare for the big day when they "open up shop" and sell lemonade to the community. (Lemonade Day this year is on May 17th.) The kids keep the money they earn and we encourage them to "spend some, save some and share some" of their Lemonade Day profits. This last bit – sharing some – is where the philanthropy comes in.
In April and early May, we offer several workshops and contests to supplement what the kids are learning through the workbook. We've partnered with the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII) and Junior Achievement of Central Indiana to offer what we call a "Philanthropy Fair" for Lemonade Day participants. We want these budding entrepreneurs to decide for themselves the charity with which they want to share some of their Lemonade Day profits. So, we invite Local non-profits to set up booths and tell the kids what they do and how their donation would make an impact (and they incorporate some kind of activity for the kids). The kids walk around, stop at the booths that interest them and ask questions. There are other events like this for adults who are looking to join a board or want to volunteer their time but I'm not aware of any other event like this specifically for kids. Then, with support from Kroger, post-Lemonade Day, we reward kids who have a special story about the donations they made.
And they have great stories. Like Dylan who gave $130 of his $190 profits to Make-A-Wish, so, as he put it: "sick kids can have their dreams come true too." Or Avery who shared with us that he felt "butterflies in his stomach" because he was so excited to hand deliver his donation to the Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County to help kids who "don't have food or homes" like he does.
Bill Gates is #1 on the Forbes billionaires list. We know the impact he made on the world with Microsoft. And now he has the nation's largest private charitable foundation. He is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Yes, the kids have some big shoes to fill, with role models like him. But I'm confident that one day we'll be in awe of one or more of these Lemonade Day kids, and talking about how they are changing the world with their ideas and talents.