Our story

VOW to End Child Marriage is a unique new initiative that gives the wedding industry, companies, couples, and individuals a role to play in ending child marriage around the globe.

The idea for VOW was sparked after VOW’s co-founder Mabel van Oranje attended a wedding where guests were encouraged to make a charitable donation. In that moment, Mabel saw an opportunity to help raise millions of dollars by working with the wedding industry and other committed individuals to support girls and end child marriage.

VOW’s 100% Donation Model

Every dollar raised supports girls

Thanks to generous donors that fund VOW’s staff and infrastructure, VOW ensures that 100% of funds raised from individuals, brands, and the wedding industry go directly to grassroots organizations working to end child marriage. These efforts include: educating girls; engaging parents, community leaders, and religious leaders; providing job training; health education; and leadership training.

Our current operational funders are the Ford Foundation & Open Society Foundation, as well as some generous individuals. VOW is proud to work with funding partners that share our commitment to girls’ rights.

Our Team

Our Board

  • Mabel van Oranje
    Board Chair and VOW Co-Founder
  • Darren Walker
    Ford Foundation President and VOW Co-Founder
  • Margaret Hempel
    CGRE Executive Director

Our Staff

  • Clay Dunn
  • Elodie Duyker
    Community Engagement Lead
  • Anika Patel
    Finance & Operations Lead
  • James Porter
    Communications & Marketing Lead
  • Catherine Pulliam
    Corporate Partnerships & Business Development Lead

More about VOW

Why the wedding industry?

Every year, millions of couples celebrate their love by getting married and millions of their family and friends celebrate with them. VOW thinks: what if we could share this love to do something bigger? The U.S. alone spends billions on weddings each year. 66% of Gen Z & Millennial women are likely to pay more for a gift if it helps support ending child marriage. VOW is engaging this tremendous industry to help end child marriage and be the charity of choice for the wedding industry globally.

Where does the money go?

VOW believes locally driven solutions have the greatest opportunity for impact. However historically these smaller organizations have been overlooked and critically underfunded. VOW along with our sister organization and grant partner the Girls First Fund fills the funding gap for local grassroots organizations. Since our founding, 150 community organizations in six countries received grants disbursed through the Girls First Fund. Ninety percent of the grants were made to young women and women-led organizations.

Why does VOW partner with the Girls First Fund?

The Girls First Fund has grantmaking expertise but is not designed to mobilize or accept donations from the public. VOW and the Girls First Fund complement and build on each other’s expertise.

How does VOW raise funds?

  • Engaged couples creating a fundraiser for VOW in addition to or in lieu of gifts.
  • Engaged couples choosing to add a VOW donation option to their wedding registry/gift list. As an added bonus, if the couple is registered with The Knot, sales of items from their registry can benefit VOW.
  • Proceeds from the sale of products from brand partners.
  • Individual donations from consumers wanting to support girls’ rights.

Does VOW profit from the sale of products or money donated to the organization?

No. 100% of funds raised from individuals and VOW brand partners go to support grassroots efforts that empower girls to choose their own future. VOW fundraises separately for its operational costs from foundations and generous individuals.

Is VOW a 501c3?

Yes, VOW is a registered 501c3.