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Wish Upon A Car

When is a reference to cars and lemons a good thing?

The idea of neighborhood kids setting up a lemonade stand on a hot summer day is as American as apple pie. For many people, it's their introduction to entrepreneurship. But for the children who participate in Car-X's Lemonade-for-Wishes program one weekend each summer, the stands mean much more.

Started at St. Louis Car-X locations in 1997, the annual event raises money for the local Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter, which helps grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Kids pick up lemonade stand kits at participating Car-X auto repair centers; each kit includes a lemonade recipe, two posters, background on the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a thank-you letter from the organization.

"Lemonade-for-Wishes encourages kids to go out and do something for other kids," says Allison J. Bauman, a Car-X advertising manager involved in organizing the fund-raiser. "When the kids get that concept, when they understand 'Wow, I'm raising money for someone my age who is sick,' it's really amazing to watch their response."

Lemonade-for-Wishes was brought to Chicago Car-X locations last summer with promotion from Radio Disney. Participants also received contest entry forms with their kits. The weekend of the fund-raiser, 10 winners were chosen to receive a visit from Radio Disney's Party Patrol van.

Make-A-Wish was also a winner. Accepting donations for the lemonade they made, Lemonade-for-Wishes participants in Chicago raised over $3,000 for Make-A-Wish.

Car-X hopes to see Lemonade-for-Wishes expand to their locations nationwide. Says Bauman, "There's no reason we can't explore that."

Contact Sources

  • Car-X, 8750 Bryn Mawr West, #410E, Chicago, IL 60631, (773) 693-1000
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Illinois, (312) 943-8956,

This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »