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  • Writer's pictureGrant Means

A Year and a Half Later…

Context for this Post

Greetings, friends! It has been a wild ride since December 2017. Not only did I begin my first full-time job in consulting, but Start Now Press also took several unexpected turns (the primary prompting for this post is, perhaps, the least expected twist of all… more on that in Uganda be Kidding Me!). Financial literacy for the next generation is a personal mission, and I consider myself blessed to continue walking this little-trodden path nearly two years after starting Personal Finance Picks. Most readers probably know of our Three Little Pigs series, which was inspired by the idea that you can infuse nearly any simple story from childhood with a meaningful financial twist — few are aware that this line of thought got its start with Rematch: the Tortoise and the Hare. If you are interested in learning more about compound interest and how it defies human intuition, feel free to check out some of our previous articles!

From PFP to SNP

Before delving into the implications of my travels to Uganda, it is important to highlight the path from Personal Finance Picks (PFP) to Start Now Press (SNP) to One Day Endowments (ODE) and how all of these TLAs (three-letter acronyms) have led my mission abroad. In autumn 2017, soon after brainstorming PFP’s re-telling of the Tortoise and the Hare, I had a perspective shift. Content written for adults, while fun and interesting, was unlikely to be as impactful as content that positively influences children before they develop a tangible relationship with money. Since online blogs are not necessarily the media of choice for society’s youth, I decided to start writing children’s books for earlier, more direct delivery of empowering ideas. The decision to act on this idea was prompted by a unique intersection of personal and social circumstances that left me determined to make a difference for future generations.

The Publishing Path

We hit the ground running — Start Now Press published our first book, The Prodigal Pig, in January 2018 and finished our first trilogy by March. My old elementary school hosted our first public book reading and even got us on the local news. During this meaningful and exciting whirlwind of activity, SNP’s next steps became clear. My cousin and I were brainstorming what it might look like to have a piggy bank go around the world to learn about diverse cities, cultures, and currencies. He mentioned that pigs do not have global appeal, but perhaps we should consider cows. This happened to be around the time that we found out Chick-fil-A (CFA) –whose primary mascots are cows– had plans to expand internationally. I hired a summer intern to help flesh out our data collection and determine which cities have compelling material to draft our first stories. We worked tirelessly to craft our pitch for a July meeting with CFA’s President & COO. He loved our idea for a Cash Cows series and referred us to their foundation for further conversations.

A Turn for the Better

Autumn 2018 proved a season of immense transformation for Start Now Press. Not only did I meet Kim, who took my books back to Uganda, but we also had a paradigm-shifting conversation with the Chick-fil-A Foundation. Because several stories occurred in parallel, the nuances are a bit twisted here — the bottom line is that SNP’s vision expanded beyond mission-driven book publishing, and we temporarily hit “pause” on new content creation. We then began to consider how SNP might more intentionally use our content as a conduit for creating environments that engage students, along with their parents and educators, on the topic of investing in themselves. We moved quickly to establish One Day Endowments as our nonprofit arm and began to develop templates for “Activation Events” as well as associated micro-scholarships that are invested in index funds on behalf of students who participate in our programs, and whose market performance is also used as an educational tool for our programming. We have been developing these ideas alongside potential education and nonprofit partners, and my preparation for mission work has strongly influenced ODE’s offerings. As we currently stand in 2019, we are moving forward with conversations to partner with community-focused organizations like Chick-fil-A, Junior Achievement, several education institutions, and various financial services companies. It has been an exciting and fulfilling journey thus far, and we look forward to the next steps along our path!

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