Lulu Cerone Leads the Way For a New Generation of Philanthropists
Posted May 30, 2012 by Alejandro De La Cruz
It’s likely that at 10 years old most of us were thinking about bicycles, swimming pools, and spelling tests. At that age, Causes leader Lulu Cerone was single-handedly creating, organizing, and executing a large-scale, school-wide fundraiser to help earthquake victims in Haiti. “After the  earthquake in Haiti I realized the world was so much bigger than I thought it was.” Encouraged by her parents, Lulu rallied 24 classmates and created a lemonade stand to raise funds. The idea for a lemonade stand came easy. “It was the classic fundraisier I’d been doing since I was little.” Lulu added a twist: she told her classmates it was a competition and made it a boys against girls face-off to see who could raise the most money. “There were stands all over town with kids competing.” The idea worked and Lulu’s campaign raised over $4,000 for two nonprofits, Hollywood Unites for Haiti and UNICEF.
Now 13-years-old, Lulu is tackling clean water in Sub-Saharan Africa through her cause, LemonAid Warriors. She is collaborating with Blood:Water Mission, a nonprofit building fresh water wells in Sub-Saharan Africa, to provide clean water to communities. Lulu came across the organization after Googling nonprofits and found their mission exciting. After watching a Blood:Water Mission video, she was hooked. Coincidentally, they had their own lemonade fundraiser and a partnership developed.
Lulu learned of Causes a few years ago during the Three Dot Dash Global Teen Conference in New York City. Other young philanthropists were exchanging ideas, advice, and tips, and our site caught her attention. For her 13th birthday this year, Lulu created a Birthday Wish on Causes, organized a party, and asked attendants to give donations to Blood:Water Mission instead of giving her gifts. Inspired, she added an activity element to the party. “I asked kids to help carry jugs of water down my neighborhood to illustrate the length girls have to walk in Africa to get fresh water.” Lulu raised over $4,500 from family, friends, and from local businesses who sold her lemonade and donated the proceeds from the day to her cause. “It’s really important for kids to see the mom and pop shops participating with the community.” The money will help build a well for 400 people, which will provide fresh water for 20 years.
Today, Lulu is targeting a new generation of children organizers like herself by inspiring a sensational new idea: PhilanthroParties. “I want to change the way my generation parties, so I created a philanthroparty planning service. Instead of birthday presents, people donate money to whatever cause they choose.” Lulu helps mentor young cause leaders in her community by drafting cool activities and calls to action for the parties, including brainstorming game ideas and raffles. She’s also working with nonprofits to craft their own philanthroparties specific to their needs.
Lulu’s efforts have raised more than $20,000 in four years, including this year’s Birthday Wish. More importantly, her mentoring is paving the way forward for more young, energetic warriors and philanthropists to call us to action. In the future, Lulu hopes to visit some of the places she’s been trying to help. “Right now I want to spread the word about Philanthroparties and, also, I’ve always wanted to visit countries in Africa as well…some time really soon.” Below, catch a glimpse of Lulu talking about her work with LemonAid Warriors.