Our Mission at Pearachute is to inspire children's curiosity and passion by empowering parents and caregivers through convenience and choice. 

OUR CORE VALUES

There is something magical that happens when you witness your child discover a new joy.  

They light up, your heart swells, and somehow the world slows down just enough for you to feel like all the late nights, tears (both yours and theirs), and fear of the unknown were worth it for moments like this. Moments where you feel pride for having found something they love. Moments where you feel more youthful as you suddenly see the world again through the eyes of a child.  

 

 

These moments are why we created Pearachute. 

Our mission at Pearachute is to inspire children’s curiosity and passion by empowering parents and caregivers through convenience and choice.  To us, this means making the best kids’ classes and activities available to you at the touch of a button, allowing you to drop-in and explore during times that fit your schedule with the flexibility to accommodate late naps, stuffy noses, and unplanned visits from grandparents.


But Pearachute is not just about the bond between children and the people who care for them. We are also here to strengthen local businesses, founded by entrepreneurs who took their passions and created opportunities to teach and share with a new generation of young people. By working closely with our partners, we help identify new ways to engage with their neighbors and expand their already successful  

WHY WE EXIST

Our Founder:
Desiree is our founder and mother/stepmother of three fantastic children, Griffin, Aedan, and Danielle.  She created Pearachute out of her own frustrations with constantly having to reschedule Griffin’s activities because of unexpected changes in her family’s schedule.  As a working mom, she wanted the activities her family invested in to be a source of happiness--not stress.  Now, she loves dropping into All-Age classes with her kids on the weekends.  
 
Prior to launching Pearachute, Desiree founded one of the world’s first crowdfunding platforms, GiveForward.  She is passionate about entrepreneurship and the impact it has on our communities and spends her free time mentoring and teaching entrepreneurs as an adjunct professor at Kellogg School of Management.  

Erica Alhorn

With a year of motherhood under her belt, Erica is basically now an expert in all things suburban mom-ish. Armed with a Brookfield Zoo annual membership, a forest preserve at the end of her block, and a plethora of strollers purchased off the swap, she is determined to make her daughter Mackenzie “outdoorsy”. She also believes that there aren’t many things that can’t be solved with a smile, some empathy, or the lost art of handwritten notes.
Caitlin is a true believer that if you work hard and stay kind, amazing things will happen – and she’s proud to be part of team that shares this belief. As a graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, she’s an avid Tar Heels fan and lover of all things from the South. Outside of Pearachute, Caitlin also serves as the Director of Minds Matter Chicago, a mentor program for accomplished high school students from low-income families, and is an Affiliate Board Member of the Ounce of Prevention Fund.

Caitlin Gillis

Brittany is the proud mom of Milly, a chatty, adventurous toddler, and Dean, a new little guy. Both kids love wearing their Pearachute t-shirts around town and dropping into classes. Previously, Brittany consulted high-growth startups, launched the online in-kind donation marketplace, Zealous Good, and started her career consulting with Bain & Company. She's a graduate of Northwestern University and an active board member of the school's Industrial Engineering department.

Brittany Martin Graunke

Her friends call her LinkedIn Live - constantly growing her professional and personal network through the startup community in Chicago and as a volunteer for Lurie Children's Hospital.  In her free time, you can see Meghan divvying around Chicago and cheering on Chicago Sports teams!

Meghan McCambridge

Brittany enjoys all the new adventures each day brings as the mom of a curious and lovable toddler, Mason. When they aren’t dropping into Pearachute classes they can be found roaming the streets of Lincoln Park scouting out trains, planes, and busses! After graduating from the University of Illinois, Brittany has spent the last ten years strategizing, developing and optimizing online marketing campaigns.

Brittany Perlmutter

Josephine grew up in a huge Irish family on the South Side of Chicago.  Her strong grandmother showed her how important it is to create memories that will last forever as well as the value of putting family first.  Josephine worked for two startups in the live event industry and most recently taught Preschool at The Goddard School prior to joining her dream job at Pearachute.  When she isn't working she loves to cheer on the Fighting Irish with a pint of cold beer in hand.  Slainte!

Josephine Blough

 

MEET THE TEAM

Embrace skinned knees.
 
No one learns how to run without a few skinned knees.  For us this core value represents our ambitions and our approach to learning for our members, our partners, and our team.  We have big dreams,  but we know that to achieve them requires us to take risks.  Some might fail, some might succeed, but we'll never know unless we try-- and we have to keep trying.  
Exude infectious positivity.
 
You know those interactions you have where both people leave smiling and warm and light?  We want to create those moments as often as possible.  Every time our members visit a class with an enthusiastic instructor, or a partner pitches us a new idea, or an investor hears our vision, we want people to leave those moments feeling like the world is good and full of energy.   It's beyond being happy or kind, it's about genuinely approaching situations with a desire to delight and learn. 
Lead with empathy, commit to authenticity.
 
So many things are happening in our lives that influence the way we talk to each other and the expectations we have of people.  If we keep this in mind every time we engage, we'll be more helpful, more understanding, and more creative with solutions.  However, we still need to be transparent and true to ourselves, protecting our rights to be treated fairly, to represent the true purpose of our brands, and to make decisions that are in everyone's best interests. 
 
Create more high-five moments.
 
As a parent, nanny or an instructor, we all love to see our children light up during an activity.  We think to ourselves "Yes! I found something they love!" Those moments are what Pearachute is all about.  We're about helping families discover and enjoy the time they spend together, and we're about helping partners grow in ways they never thought possible. 

 

Be each other's village.
 

 We all know the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, but we also thing it takes a village to build Pearachute.  We need to do the work that is expected of us, but it's also necessary to step up and help others when they need us.  Within our team, that means no job is too large or too small.  With our partners, that means we need to be there for you when you lose an instructor or registrations are too low to justify a class.  With our members, our hope is to be a there for you when things go wrong, but more importantly that we empower you to be a community that actively and empathetically engages with other members and our partners in a way that is supportive and impactful.

 

 

Desiree Vargas Wrigley