NEAT Retreat : Mimi Chan with Littlefund

Over the next few months, we’re thrilled to introduce you to several collaborators that will take part in our first ever wellness event the NEAT Retreat – a wellness event in San Francisco. With our expert guest speakers, NEAT will show you how being organized can be the catalyst for endless positive change in many aspects of your life. When you live organized, there is much more space for living well in other areas of your life and we are going to show you exactly how to make simple changes that have huge impact.

We are honored to now introduce you to our friend Mimi Chan and retreat collaborator Littlefund.

Where did you get the idea for Littlefund?

When my daughter Liv was born, I was incredibly grateful for the support and care I received from my family and friends. They sent gifts to celebrate but I felt guilty that many ended up unused or donated since we didn’t have a lot of space. This again happened for her first birthday, the holidays, and any occasion my sister or mother visited. At the same time, my husband and I are extremely conscious about the accumulation of stuff in our home since we’re trying to raise our children with a focus on experiences and creating self fulfillment outside of material things. After researching, I couldn’t reconcile the reality that we spend billions of dollars annually on gifts like toys and clothes for our children, that were by and large wastingaway in landfills, there had to be a better way for all of us to leverage our collective spending power.

As I talked with friends, and soon to be first time parents about this conundrum I was having, I realized I was not alone. It was clear to me that an alternative way to gift that was not based in the material was missing, yet needed for our generation. Especially since savings bonds, a way to buy and give the gift of savings, no longer existed for children today. We were cool with sleeping on other people’s couches (Airbnb!) or doing cash wedding registries (Zola!) and even gifting money to people we didn’t know (Gofundme!), so why not find a simple and easy way to gift contributions towards a child’s goals and dreams that mattered?

 

What is the purpose of Littlefund?

Littlefund is a meaningful way for everyone to give the gift of savings towards your children’s goals and dreams.

Our mission is to inspire people to invest in your child’s future– and we make it so easy for family and friends to do it. It’s an innovative approach to helping families build their child’s financial foundation. Something that’s pretty overwhelming to think about at the start of a child’s life but now you can let family and friends kickstart the process and take a lot of pressure off for parents and give them back more time to spend with their children.

Like a gift card or savings bond, family and friends can go on to www.littlefund.co and gift as long as you have the parent’s email. We’ll either find the match or let you continue to kickstarting the Littlefund and parents redeem the gift for free and in less than 5 minutes into a new Littlefund.

What did you do before launching Littlefund?

I started my career in New York City in real estate finance and investment. Then along the way, I made a career change to follow a personal mission- doing work that was improving the lives of children. I started Pencils of Promise, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit, as the Founding COO. Pencils of Promise provides access to early childhood education in developing countries. Today we have over 430 schools between Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana, and Laos. After Pencils of Promise, I started a commerce fashion app called Thread which was acquired by Shop Bevel in 2013.

Who is your target audience?

Though not everyone is a parent, we are all potential gifters. Littlefund is fundamentally changing the way people think about “gifting” for the children in their lives. A gift from Littlefund is a gift that says, “I believe in you. I’m here for you. And I can’t wait to see what you do next.”

What is your ultimate goal with this company?

I see Littlefund as seed to every child’s journey from birth and onwards. The saying ‘it takes a village’ is the cornerstone to what we are building and Littlefund brings your ‘village to your children to help invest in their future. It’s also a visual story that teaches savings as children grow. Whether the child ends up with $1,000 or $10,000 in their Littlefund for their goals and dreams, those are contributions that let them do things, learn things, and grow with the encouragement from family and friends.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running Littlefund?

It’s rewarding to know that Littlefund impacts lives on many different levels for both gifters and children. Personally, I love hearing the enthusiasm and seeing the customized goals from our community of families. We have even seen families add goals to fundraise for charities they love or hospitals that have helped their children.

Do you have any tricks for balancing work and family?

My husband and I both currently run early stage startups so it would seem we live in a constant state of high stress from work to home. One trick to our ability to balance family and work is to keep our family member count low! Our family is a family of 3 right now so my husband and I get to tag team with Liv! But all jokes aside, the biggest “trick” isn’t even a trick. It’s a blessing. I have a great support system!

My husband and I don’t have family near to help us so we depend on each other heavily and then whoever is our current child care provider. Right now it’s Liv’s pre-school! From there, we just do our best and take it one day at a time and not put so much stress on ourselves to do it all.

What’s one piece of parenting advice that has always stuck with you?

Don’t get so stressed out. They’ll eat when they’re hungry.

 

As a parent, how do you stay organized with kids running around?

That takes a combination of discipline, prioritization, and organization. I box my time for work, require myself time to not work, religiously depend on Google calendar to organize our schedule, and don’t have hesitations when it comes to holding my husband accountable for the housework or child care! I tell him to “Lean in!”

Is there anything else we should know about Littlefund?

We’re excited to build an inspirational community of people investing in a brighter future for children. There are immediate plans to expand into other areas of financial support like investment offerings.

 

Thanks for sharing with us!

We are so excited that Littlefund will be hosting the NEAT Retreat, we’ll see you in September!

 

xx

the NEAT girls

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