Virtual Lemonade Stand Founded By Penn State Alum Raising Money For Health Care Workers

You know what they say: “When life gives you lemons, create a startup to help those affected by unforeseen challenges.”

Well, one Penn State alum’s organization is doing just that by raising money to support those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Makin’ Lemonade is a virtual relief fund created by Penn State alum Alex Sheinman and Jesse Kay, an entrepreneur from Stevens University. The two were then joined by Penn State senior Alex Myers, who has since become the startup’s director of operations.

Makin’ Lemonade works to raise money by selling virtual “cups of lemonade” to benefit the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, which helps deploy emergency staffing to United States public health agencies, fund medical supplies, increase lab capacity, and support to vulnerable communities.

The startup also helps the Direct Relief Fund, which assists in providing medical supplies to front-line health workers, and Feeding America, which works to support food banks and end hunger in the United States.

No, Makin’ Lemonade isn’t actually selling lemonade. Instead, it’s simply inspired by the childhood memory of lemonade stands that many young entrepreneurs once ran.

The startup’s origin came when its founders fondly reminisced on their experiences running lemonade stands as kids to help their communities. They “respect the hustle” of those childhood business moguls and believe that positive spirit and entrepreneurship is exactly what folks need in these uncertain times.

So far, more than 50 universities including Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Rutgers have partnered with the fund.

Makin’ Lemonade’s team consists of students and graduates from all over the country. Approximately 150 students, including Penn State football’s backup quarterback and up-and-coming Tik Tok star, Will Levis, volunteer for the organization.

“Working alongside 150 student leaders and entrepreneurs from over 50 universities has been an amazing experience,” Myers said.

The startup hopes to raise $100,000 to support communities and health care workers as they fight the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of writing, Makin’ Lemonade has raised $51,407.

Three Penn Staters, including Levis, currently volunteer as representatives with Makin’ Lemonade.

“Rather than us kids being looked at as the problem, we can now be looked at as the solution to this horrible time we are living through,” Penn State Head Representative Bradley Kraut said.

Levis, on the other hand, currently serves as Penn State’s director of athletics with Makin’ Lemonade.

“I wanted to make sure that when I looked back on this time later in life that I knew I made a difference in the world we’re living in,” Levis said.

You can buy your virtual glasses of lemonade (read: donate) to benefit hospital workers and local communities across the country on Makin’ Lemonade’s website.

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About the Author

Dana June Nunemacher

Dana is a senior, who is studying public relations. She is from the 570 and yes, she has watched The Office. Her passions in life include drinking unsweetened iced tea and spreading her love for agriculture (yee haw)!

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