A Glimpse in the Rearview Mirror and Hope for the Road Ahead


Guest Blogger Michael Holthouse, Co-founder of the Holthouse Foundation, Prepared 4 Life and Lemonade Day

Michael Holthouse


For those of you who know Michael Holthouse, you must know that he has a huge heart for kids…especially kids in underserved communities who are smart and ambitious but don’t always have the resources available for them to reach their potential.  His genuine desire to make a positive difference in the lives of these and other kids led him and his wife Lisa to form the non-profit, Prepared 4 Life to offer after-school programming to at-risk kids.

I have had the great privilege of working for Michael and Lemonade Day for the past ten years.  I can’t imagine any other non-profit founder more dedicated than Michael.  He has provided the inspiration and vision that has helped Lemonade Day grow from one program in Houston in 2006 to 84 programs representing over 100 cities throughout North America, Puerto Rico and Bermuda today. I’m so proud of what Michael has done through Lemonade Day to inspire a new generation of young entrepreneurs and provide them with an opportunity to develop life skills and confidence necessary to succeed in life. I’ve seen firsthand the power of the program through so many of our youth that have gone on to run their own successful businesses and lead with so much integrity, confidence, and philanthropic ambitions. He truly is changing the world!

At our National City Director Conference last month, Michael provided a keynote message and reflected on how far we’ve come since that first Lemonade Day in 2006 and our incredible potential as we look forward to 2021 and beyond. Below is an excerpt from his keynote.


In Michael’s Own Words

Lisa and I created The Holthouse Foundation For Kids to focus proactively on at-risk youth in Houston, TX. In 2007, we co-founded Lemonade Day from our philanthropic venture called Prepared 4 Life. What we were learning and experiencing by working with organizations dedicated to at-risk youth is that there were not fun, hands-on lessons to hold the interest of kids.

We were more determined than ever to develop a program dedicated to teaching every child across North America important business and financial skills, character education, and confidence that are the key ingredients of entrepreneurship. By learning these skills early in life, we knew children would be better prepared to be successful, financially healthy adults.

Our journey led us to understand the four key elements that drove the creation of Lemonade Day and youth entrepreneurial aspiration. Those elements are:

  • Academics is not the key to life’s successes. There is a difference between Intellectual Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). Lemonade Day’s program is structured around Search Institute’s 40 Development Assets that create skills people will use in their everyday lives.
  • Experiential learning is the key to the kingdom. Studies show that the more senses you use in learning, the more those skills are retained. By seeing, hearing and engaging in an activity, 80% of what is learned is retained for the rest of your life.
  • Humans, especially kids, like having fun. Fun activities increase one’s attention span. Learning is more appealing when it is fun. That’s why owning a lemonade stand is experiential, fun, and one of life’s valuable learning tools.
  • Financial literacy plays a key role in our lives. Learning skills like saving, budgeting, applying for loans, and finding investors are important economic lessons everyone should learn. Parents cannot teach what they don’t know so for children in under-served communities, it is more difficult for them to learn the value of financial literacy.


Where do we go from here?

I was fortunate to grow up in an entrepreneurial environment, so it was natural for me to take the risks of entrepreneurship as an adult. The valuable lessons I learned from my parents included investing my earnings as well as giving back through philanthropy and community involvement. My wife Lisa was also raised under similar values.

We need to keep Lemonade Day growing and expanding. More kids, more cities, more lemonade stands. Kids are struggling and we should teach them how to make money. Let’s go change the world, together.


Thank you, Michael!  Please feel free to share this blog with others - parents, teachers, youth organization leaders, and businesses. We want to share the wonderful opportunities available for mentors and sponsors to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

I welcome your comments and suggestions at any time. Please email me at debbie@lemonadeday.org. 

For more information about Lemonade Day, please visit lemonadeday.org.

FB   twitter   instagram

back to blog