Kids selling lemonade outside their suburban homes – it’s a brilliant intersection where nostalgia, entrepreneurial spirit and endless summer meet. For little nine-year-old Detroit entrepreneur Joshua Smith, it was something else. Smith’s efforts at saving Detroit from bankruptcy by selling lemonade have attracted not only the attention of his peers, but the entire country.
Saving Detroit by selling lemonade
Among the increasing number of bankrupt cities in Michigan, Detroit would appear to be one of those cities that is “too big to fail.” Yet on a financial level, Detroit is grasping at financial straws. Smith simply wanted to help his home town by selling organic lemonade, fruit punch, water and popcorn in his Russell Woods neighborhood in west Detroit. Beginning last Monday, he set a sales goal of $1,000. Within two days, he blew past the mark. For Thursday, Smith’s goal was to reach $2,000 total. He gained $2,1775.64 that day alone.
By Friday’s end, he had $3,392.77 in profit, earmarked to save Detroit. According to Smith’s mother, additional donations from those sympathetic to Joshua’s cause have come flooding in. This included a $2,000 scholarship from the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation for when he graduates high school, provided he maintains at least a 2.5 GPA. Reportedly, Joshua Smith is the first person to receive a scholarship award from the organization who is not already a high school senior.
“Special consideration for a scholarship was given to Joshua because, at such a young age, he is an enterprising civic-minded young man who shares Mrs. Parks’ spirit of service and commitment to building a brighter future in his community,” said Rosa Parks Foundation president Delora Tyler.
“The philosophy behind the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation is to give young people every opportunity to be prepared for the future, to engage (youths) in their communities, and to demonstrate the importance of civic involvement and the value placed on civic involvement,” she added.
Huge support from his community
In addition to the financial contributions made to Joshua Smith’s campaign to save Detroit, many members of the Detroit community offered their services – and even tractors – in the spirit of volunteerism.
“I’m just getting a lot of support, and that makes me feel good,” Smith said.
Members of the University of Michigan Men’s Basketball team joined, and Wolverines merchandise was signed for auction.
“I was so impressed right after I read the story,” said junior center Jordan Morgan. “I just felt like, if more people had a mind-set like Joshua, this world would be a better place. Seeing the city and the situation that we’re in, you hear a lot of people just complain about what’s going on there, but it takes a collective effort for everybody to want to change it.”