THROWBACK: Northwestern Mutual & Alex’s Lemonade Stand

“At our company, employees love three things: t-shirts, jean days, and supporting a good cause.”

In 2012, Northwestern Mutual launched a campaign to raise money and create awareness for their Childhood Cancer Program. In doing so, they partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a local Milwaukee nonprofit. Together, we helped provide support for families by raising over $15,000 for cancer research.

“The Lemonade Ladies” — Carolyn Cento, Jenny Rae Peterson, and Alicia Lorino

We reached out to the Lemonade Days volunteer coordinator, Jenny Rae, about their fundraising efforts!

Ink: What is the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation?

Jenny: At the age of four — while battling cancer — Alexandra “Alex” Scott announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand and give the proceeds to doctors so they could “help other kids, like they helped me.” Alex and her family built a stand and for one weekend in June she sold lemonade. Over the next four years, Alex held her stand each June. She set a goal to raise $1 million. As word spread, more people stopped at her stand to buy lemonade. Then something amazing happened: other kids and adults from around the world started holding stands in her honor and sending her the donations. In August of 2004, shortly after Alex and her supporters raised $1 million for childhood cancer research, she passed away. Alex started a movement that her parents, Jay and Liz Scott, continue today through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. As of 2015, ALSF has raised more than $75 million and funded more than 375 research projects across North America.

Ink: How did Northwestern Mutual get involved with ALSF?

Jenny: Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children from ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. Yet, childhood cancer research and services are vastly and consistently underfunded. That’s why Northwestern Mutual launched its Childhood Cancer Program in 2012 to accelerate the search for cures to childhood cancers and to provide support to families battling the disease. Northwestern Mutual is committed to working with nonprofit partners such as ALSF.

Ink: Why did you decide to do the t-shirt fundraiser?

Jenny: We wanted to find a way to create a lasting impact that could be shared beyond the walls of our campuses. At our company, employees love three things: t-shirts, jeans days, and supporting a good cause. We were thrilled to be able to satisfy all three through our t-shirt campaign. Much to our surprise, we sold 701 shirts with last year’s campaign and are hoping to match that this year!

Ink: What have you liked most about your campaign with Ink to the People?

Jenny: We’ve had a great experience with Ink to the People and loved the idea that we could create a shirt that would give back in so many ways. Ink to the People made the process simple, were always incredibly helpful and responsive, and provided us with a terrific product that created a lasting impression. Long after the campaign is done, our message will be out in the world thanks to the work of Ink to the People. We were nervous about taking on such a large project, but Ink to the People made the process less daunting, so all we had to focus on was spreading the word and driving people to order our shirts. We’ve utilized emails, posters, Yammer, and any other channel we can get our hands on! Thanks to Ink to the People, we’re able to make an impact that’s even larger than we could have ever imagined!

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