Philanthropy: Michael Holthouse and Lemonade Day
Michael Holthouse is best known in the business world as founder and President of Paranet, Inc., a computer network services company. As an INC. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year and a two-time “Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company” winner, Michael grew Paranet in 6 years to 27 offices, 1600 employees and revenues in excess of $100 million. He ultimately sold the company to Sprint in 1997.
Since then he has focused on philanthropy, investments and a variety of business interests. Community involvement is an enormous part of Michael’s life; he has served on a variety of children’s and civic boards.
His family foundation, The Holthouse Foundation For Kids, works with at-risk youth. His philanthropic venture, Prepared 4 Life, prepares middle school youth for life through fun, proactive and experiential after-school programs infused with life skills, character education and entrepreneurship. His newest venture is Lemonade Day – a community-wide education event teaching youth how to start, own and operate their very own lemonade business.
Lemonade Day recognizes America was built on the back of small business. Entrepreneurs used to take risks believing they could realize their dream if they worked hard, took responsibility and were good stewards of their resources. Today’s youth share that optimism, but lack the life skills, mentorship and real-world experience necessary to be successful.
In 2007, founder Michael Holthouse had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through helping them start, own and operate their very own business: a lemonade stand. Lemonade Day is a strategic 14-step process that walks youth from a dream to a business plan, while teaching them the principles required to start any big company. The kids are inspired to work hard and make a profit. They are taught to spend some, save some and share some by giving back to their community.
Launched in Houston, Texas in 2007, Lemonade Day has grown from 2,700 kids in one city to 150,000 kids in 36 cities across America and Canada. With the help of partners like Google, Lemonade Day will bring this entrepreneurial experience to 1 million kids in 100 cities across America, sparking entrepreneurship and empowering youth on a scale that’s never been done before.