“I wanted to escape from my busy, work-oriented life,” notes Dan Dao, a postgraduate level 2 resident with Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy. “I wanted to see more than just the 9-to-5 lifestyle because I felt so overwhelmed that I just got lost in it. I forgot that there was more to life than just work. There is family, relaxation and freedom. What I wanted to see the most from this trip was the human connection, and I saw it abundantly.”
Dao’s quote is pulled from a reflection essay written after a 2013 trip to Malamulo Hospital in Malawi. The trip was offered through the Students for International Mission Service (SIMS) program of the Global Health Institute at Loma Linda University Health.
Dao chose to travel to Malawi with the SIMS team because he felt the need to escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of life. While on the trip, he found something that changed not only his perspective, but also inspired him to start a side business.
“To this day, that trip is fresh in my mind – the great team, the selfless missionaries, dislocating my shoulder jumping into the pond at Mount Mulanji, and the beautiful sights of Lake Malawi, tea fields, African sunrises and sunsets, and the Malawi people,” Dao shared in a recent letter to SIMS Director Ed Drachenberg.
He went on to add that through all this beauty and simplicity, one scene remains vivid in his mind.
One sight that had a major impact on me was seeing the Malawi children playing soccer with balls made out of plastic wraps. It bothered me that such a simple object as a soccer ball was not available to them." Dan Dao
Fast forward to 2016. Dao is Director of Pharmacy for Kindred Hospital Ontario and President and Founder of Funall, Inc, a sporting goods manufacturing company that uses the profits to provide free soccer balls to those who cannot afford them.
“I knew I wanted to start a business,” Dao shared. “I wanted it to serve others first and foremost. The thought of the Malawi children not having access to a simple soccer ball came back to me, and I started Funall, Inc.”
Funall, Inc. began as a project for Dao’s online business certification class. But when feedback on the project came back positive, he took the initiative to move forward with what seemed like a viable plan.
Today, Funall, Inc. sells high-quality, low-cost soccer balls.
“In doing this we increase our margin to generate a profit – which we use to provide free soccer balls to individuals and organizations that are serving others, like SIMS,” Dao expressed.
Funall, Inc. began selling soccer balls on Amazon near the end of June. As a way of giving back to SIMS for the experience that helped shape his career, Dao donated two soccer balls to be taken to Malawi for the children. His only request: if possible, photos be taken and shared so that he can see the smiling faces.
A brief Q&A with Funall, Inc. President and Founder, Dan Dao.
Q: Is Funall, Inc. your primary job at this time? What helped to inspire this business?
A: I'm currently running Funall on the side. My full time job is being the Director of Pharmacy for Kindred Hospital Ontario (Ontario, CA). The teachings of the bible had a profound influence on me to start a company whose primary purpose is to serves others. I definitely got the idea for Funall from my SIMS missionary trip to Malawi.
Q: Tell me briefly about your company?
A: Funall started as a capstone project I had to do for my online business certification class. I had to create a company from scratch--outlining all of its operations, marketing, and finance. God has blessed me so much in my life so I wanted to give back and pay it forward; combine it with my passion for business, I knew I wanted to create a company that served others.
After proposing the idea of Funall to my class, I knew had a viable plan and so it began. At Funall, we leverage e-commerce to sell soccer balls and by keeping cost low, we increase our margin to generate a profit--which is used to provide free soccer balls to individuals/organizations that are serving others (like SIMS).
I truly wish that this company can help as many children as possible. A soccer ball is so simple and fundamental to fun. During my trip to Africa, I was saddened to see the Malawian children not having access to them.
We started selling on Amazon near the end of June, so we are still an infant company. Originally, the plan was to wait for the profit before giving away the soccer balls, but I've decided to go ahead and start giving now to help as many people as possible. I started giving with SIMS first. Anybody else who needs the balls can inquire at our website, funallinc.com.
Q: How would you like to see people, specifically at LLU get involved in meaningful causes like yours?
A: Participating in SIMS is definitely a start. I think the trip will leave lasting impressions on people, like it did for me. Start by serving and helping others, and God will bless your endeavors. I would encourage students to be creative in how they can help. Businesses can be for good. This passage serves as a good guidance for all who wants to pursue a meaningful cause, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than him-self" (Philippians 2:3).