“Legenade” was the idea of a 7-year-old boy who wanted to help Chicks in Crisis, an Elk Grove nonprofit that offers diapers, wipes, formula and all things baby-related, free of charge.
Ethan Black and his brother, Dylan Black, sold Legenade at local events and donated half their profit to charity. This March, they started their own nonprofit, Legenade Children’s Fund (LCF) with the mission to “help kids become legendary,” through educational and enrichment programs for underprivileged kids. All donations and proceeds from their beverage sales will go directly to serve these programs.
Ethan, now 10, is the visionary and spokesperson of LCF. He enjoys promoting their cause and coming up with ideas on how to help kids.
Dylan, 12, manages the financial side of LCF. He is in charge of making sure they have enough funding to support their programs. Both brothers work together, as a team to make their nonprofit venture a success.
Ethan’s Legenade, as in “Legendary Lemonade,” is a non-carbonated beverage made with real lemons and sweetened with honey. It’s currently sold online and at local shops in the Elk Grove and Sacramento areas.
In partnership with TeaCup Boba, the brothers just did their first official fundraiser, which was a diaper drive for Chicks in Crisis, a local nonprofit that supports young mothers.
They collected more than 1,500 diapers, baby clothes, baby formula and baby wipes. The brothers also received some donations online which they will use to buy more diapers.
Lemonade started as a way to help Chicks in Crisis founder Inez Whitlow, said their mother Mariel Black.
“It’s popular drink to sell during hot summer months, which was when they met Inez at her ranch three years ago. They donated half their profits to Chicks in Crisis,” she said.
They also started the “Color the World Project” while eating dinner at the BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Elk Grove.
“The boys thought it was a waste to throw away kids menu crayons, so Ethan decided to talk to the manager, Sami (Mohamed). He was supportive of the idea and agreed to help collect the crayons. We also have a crayon bin at Chili’s, thanks to manager, Peter. We check and pick up crayons every two weeks,” Mariel said.
They are looking for other children and youth to sponsor crayon bins and help them collect at other restaurants. Crayons collected are shipped to Marikina City and Cebu City, Philippines for preschoolers who can’t afford crayons.
Since the boys started Legenade in 2016, they have received a lot of support from the community, Mariel Black said they sell more than 45 gallons of it at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival and get invitations to other events.
“They get invitations to speak about their story. They appeared on Good Day Sacramento. They hope that this good publicity will help them grow and get funding for the programs,” Mariel said.
She explained the recipe for Legenade came with a lot of trial-and-error and that ultimately the boys decided to partner with their good friends and big supporters, Spease Bees Honey Company for sweetening the drink.
Mariel said they thought the Legenade journey would only last for one summer.
“We figured they’ll get tired of it. But they kept getting inspired to keep going,” she said.
Ethan loves the social aspect of running Legenade, she explained.
“He loves meeting people and coming up with different ways to help. He’s becoming a very good public speaker” Mariel said.
Dylan, the older brother, has always been good at math, she said. So, he’s very involved in the financial aspect of their nonprofit. He does bookkeeping and accounting.
The two brothers work very well with each other. They balance each other perfectly, she said.
“As a mom, I’ve always told them - Ethan is the heart and Dylan is the head. Learn how to balance together and you’ll accomplish anything,” Mariel said.
Legenade is sold at Rescate Coffee in Elk Grove, and the Tomato Alley Collective in Sacramento. You can also get it at community events such as the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival, the Family Fit Fest, Taste of Elk Grove, and community concerts. It costs around $3 per bottle. The boys will also sell wholesale to any local shop interested in carrying the product.
The boys have an upcoming fundraiser at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse on Aug. 8 from 3-9 p.m. BJ’s will donate part of proceeds from their sales that night if guests show them the flier posted on Facebook and Instagram. Also people who would like to support can make a donation online via their website LegenadeChildrensFund.org Or via PayPal to Give@Legenade.com.