Industry News | July 27, 2012

Rita’s Raises Nearly $400K in Annual ALSF Fundraiser

Tom Christopoul, executive chairman of Rita’s Italian Ice; Jonathan Fornaci, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice; and Liz and Jay Scott, co-executive directors of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Rita's Italian Ice
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Rita's Italian Ice announced today it raised $388,237 following the June conclusion of the company’s nationwide annual Paper Lemon Fundraising campaign and seventh annual partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a national nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all kids with cancer.  

A check presentation took place yesterday with Hero Families and childhood cancer survivors, along with ALSF’s Jay Scott, accepting the donation and learning to scoop Rita’s famous Italian Ice alongside Jonathan Fornaci, chief executive of Rita’s Italian Ice.

The response was overwhelming during the month of June, as more than 625 Rita's outlets encouraged guests to enjoy fresh lemon Italian Ice and purchase paper lemons for $1 each to raise money for the charity. Each Rita's guest was able to personalize their lemon and then post it on the store’s "Wall of Hope" to demonstrate the local community's collective support.

One particular Rita’s outlet in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, hosted its annual hair-shaving event to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Community members attended the event to honor those children who have lost their battle with cancer.

“Our guests’ show of support for Alex’s mission again this year was truly amazing—every Rita’s was just covered in paper lemons,” says Jonathan Fornaci, chief executive officer of Rita’s.  “Several Rita’s franchisees held Celebrity Scoop Nights and invited childhood cancer survivors to scoop Italian Ice and raise additional funds for the charity.”

Since 2006, Rita’s has been a corporate partner of ALSF, implementing a paper lemon campaign to help raise funds for and awareness of childhood cancer causes, especially research into new treatments and cures, which encourages and empowers others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer. In honor of the Foundation’s namesake, the late Alexandra “Alex” Scott, Rita’s renamed its Lemon Italian Ice flavor—“Alex’s Lemonade.” Lemon, one of Rita’s original flavor offerings when the company was established in 1984, is still one of the company’s most popular flavors.

Over the past seven years, Rita’s has collectively raised more than $3.3 million for pediatric cancer research, becoming a leading corporate fundraising partner for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

“We are so grateful to Rita's Franchise Company for their latest contribution to our goal of finding a cure for all children with cancer," says Jay Scott, Alex's father and executive director of ALSF. "We appreciate all the donations and thank Rita’s guests, franchisees, and communities they serve."