Creating a world where
no child is
ever a bride

VOW for Girls is a growing global movement that partners with brands, individuals, and the wedding industry to end the international child marriage crisis and support girls to live lives they love.

Girls Not Brides

Our Story

Mabel van Oranje, an avid human rights activist, had an aha moment at a wedding where a couple asked for donations in lieu of gifts. What if she could marry the wedding industry to the cause she championed and end the international child marriage crisis? Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, got on board. Enter VOW for Girls, the growing global movement that partners with brands and individuals to end child marriage. VOW for Girls is a vow for the future.

The Child Marriage Crisis

girls a year become
child brides

1 girl
3 seconds

It’s a
global problem
countries, cultures, and religions

How VOW Helps

Innovative Fundraising


Brand partners build creative collaborations including, custom products and experiences to support girls.


Couples make their celebrations of love even more meaningful by incorporating VOW into their weddings, bridal showers, and anniversaries.

Wedding Industry

Wedding professionals commit to using their businesses to raise awareness of child marriage and funds to help end it by joining the VOW Pro network.

Together with brands, couples, wedding industry professionals, and everyday supporters, we are growing a global movement to end child marriage.

Learn how you can get involved

Go directly to community-based efforts to end child marriage.

Efforts include advancing girls’ rights by providing education, job training, and vital life skills. Over 177 community-based organizations in six countries currently receive grants, and 85% of those grantees are women-led organizations.

Grassroots Solutions at Scale

VOW is filling a funding gap in the global push to end child marriage: supporting efforts at the local level by focusing on effective, yet overlooked grassroots organizations that directly engage in the day-to-day lives of girls. We find, qualify, and fund these organizations with our sister organization and granting partner, the Girls First Fund.

Key Partnerships

VOW for Girls is made possible by these generous donors.

StartSmall | The Kendeda Fund | Open Society Foundations | Ford Foundation

Meet the VOW Team

Our Board


Darren Walker

Ford Foundation President and VOW Co-Founder

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Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first nonprofit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond to stabilize nonprofit organizations in the wake of COVID-19. Before joining Ford, Darren was Vice President at Rockefeller Foundation. Previously, he was COO of Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation. Darren co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, and Committee to Protect Journalists.


Mabel van Oranje

Board Chair and VOW Co-Founder

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Mabel van Oranje is a serial entrepreneur for social change working globally to advance equality, freedom, and justice. During the last decade, she played a catalytic role in the global movement to end child marriage, including the creation and growth of three entities central to efforts to support girls’ futures: Girls Not Brides, the Girls First Fund, and VOW for Girls. Mabel is currently a board member of Fondation Chanel and the Sigrid Rausing Trust. She is also an advisor to Apolitical Academy Global, Co-Impact’s Gender Fund, Global Witness, and The Elders. Mabel is a global champion of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, and a co-founder and chair emeritus of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Margaret Hempel

Margaret Hempel

CGRE Executive Director

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Margaret has the privilege of being the first Executive Director for CGRE. Prior to this, she served nine years as the Director of Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice at the Ford Foundation and, before that, was Vice President for Programs, American Jewish World Service, and earlier, the Vice President for Programs at the Ms. Foundation for Women. Earlier in her career, she helped design the Ford Foundation’s Reproductive Health program, worked at the Quaker United Nations Office and for Women of China Magazine based in Beijing, China. Margaret holds an M.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Columbia Business School/Teachers College certified leadership coach. She is the proud mom of two, an avid reader, is dedicated to catching up on old TV series, takes pleasure in trying to grow things, and deeply believes change is necessary and possible.

Our Staff


Anika Patel

Finance & Operations Lead

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Anika heads Finance & Operations for VOW where she oversees operations including finance, fundraising, compliance, recruitment, and human resources.

Prior to VOW, Anika served as an interim CFO and advisor to venture-backed early/ mid-stage companies on various strategic initiatives including fundraising, finance, and business development and has over a decade of experience working in corporate finance and consulting, most recently at Deloitte. Anika has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University and an MBA in Finance from Fordham University.

Outside of work, you can find Anika attempting to try every restaurant in NYC, getting more stamps in her passport, horseback riding, and recently has rekindled her love of Legos.

When Anika was a child, she dreamed of being a fashion designer or a spy (which was a result of watching too much of the cartoon Danger Mouse).

Clay Dunn as a Child
Clay Dunn as a Child

Clay Dunn


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Clay is the Chief Executive Officer of VOW for Girls. Clay joined VOW as the organization’s first CEO in 2019. Under his leadership, VOW has significantly expanded its team, community of supporters, and funding partners, and has set a bold strategic plan for the next phase of the organization’s growth.

Prior to VOW, Clay spent nearly a decade at the No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America, where he was part of the founding team. During that time, revenues grew to more than $80 million annually. Before moving into more purpose-driven work, Clay was a marketing and entertainment executive, most recently at National Geographic Channels. A native of Kentucky, Clay lives in Brooklyn with his husband and spends his free time exploring all that New York City has to offer.

Despite his inability to draw, Clay dreamed of being an artist when he was a child.

Debra Stein
Debra as a child holding a black cat
Debra as a child holding a black cat

Debra Stein

Partnerships Manager

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Debra works closely with VOW’s network of partners to raise funds and awareness to advance girls’ rights.

Before joining the VOW team, Debra worked for a wildlife conservancy in Kenya, focusing on fundraising and communications. As the liaison for donors supporting the conservancy’s community education program, she helped to create a club for girls at risk of child marriage to receive educational support, health lessons, and life skills training. Prior to this, Debra worked in international development, including energy access projects in Sudan and Ethiopia and micro-finance in rural Egypt.

Debra has a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle East Studies from Hampshire College and a Master’s from NYU’s Graduate School of Public Service. She lives in Sonoma County, California where she enjoys taking her dog to the beach, crafting, road trips, and hanging out with her miniature goats.

As a child, Debra dreamed of being a Halloween costume designer.


Elodie Duyker

Community Engagement Lead

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Elodie heads up Community Engagement for VOW working closely with wedding professionals and couples.

Prior to VOW, Elodie was a wedding planner based in New York specializing in interfaith and cross-cultural celebrations. Originally hailing from Australia, Elodie has worked in a number of wedding and event-related fields before taking the leap to pursue wedding planning in the US. Elodie has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Monash University and a Master’s of Business (Event Management) from Victoria University. Elodie is excited to come full circle and bring her passion for the wedding industry, her international perspective, bilingual french skills, and her international relations roots to her role with VOW.

When not at work you can find Elodie scouring antiques and flea markets for unique homewares, in the park hoping to run into a dachshund, and trying to tick off all 50 states from her bucket list.

When she was a child, Elodie dreamed of being a fashion designer (and/ or the 6th spice girl).

Leslie Bowles Kid Photo
Leslie Bowles Kid Photo

Leslie Bowles

Vice President, Development

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Leslie provides leadership, direction and coordination for all fundraising strategies and activities that enables VOW to support girls to live the lives they love.

Prior to joining VOW Leslie served as the Senior Director at the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, a CICF Fund. In this role she was responsible for the strategy, direction and oversight of fundraising for the organization and leading equity and inclusion efforts. Leslie has over 15 years of experience in fundraising for nonprofit organizations, universities and foundations. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Marian University and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University. She lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, three children and Bernedoodle puppy King. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her family.

When Leslie was a child she dreamed of being the next Janet Jackson.


Mary Catherine Burdine-Hurrion

Vice President, Partnerships & Business Development

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Mary Catherine spearheads VOW’s creation of game-changing partnerships in our pursuit to raise funds to support girls around the world.

Prior to VOW, she served as Director of Partnership Development at Comic Relief US, the nonprofit behind the national fundraising campaign, Red Nose Day. Before following her passion for philanthropy full-time, Mary Catherine worked across the luxury and lifestyle commercial verticals at multiple media organizations, including Bloomberg, Forbes, and The Economist. Mary Catherine has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Washington and Lee University and holds an executive education certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Business in Fashion and Luxury Management.

Outside of work, you’ll find her riding her trike along the beach, visiting local art museums, finding the best matcha in town, or playing a mean game of backgammon. She recently returned to her southern roots and lives in South Carolina with her husband.

Mary Catherine dreamed of being an astronaut when she was a child.

Morgan as a child
Morgan as a child

Morgan Cormier

Community Engagement Associate

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Morgan assists with community engagement and works closely with couples and wedding professionals.

Prior to VOW, Morgan worked as a wedding and event planner in Atlanta, GA. Before entering the wedding industry, Morgan worked in events and project management in the health and wellness industry in her hometown of San Diego, CA for 6 years. Morgan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Operations/Supply Chain) from North Carolina State University and a Master’s Degree in Project Management from the University of Southern California.

Outside of VOW, you can likely find Morgan coaching or playing volleyball, walking around the lush Atlanta parks, cooking for her friends and family, or searching for the best coffee shops in town.

As a child Morgan dreamed of being a professional basketball or volleyball player (and/or a teacher).

Tara Cruise Business Development Manager as a child - smiling with a white shirt
Tara Cruise Business Development Manager as a child - smiling with a white shirt

Tara Cruise

Business Development Manager

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Tara works to build VOW’s pipeline of corporate brand partners and initiate new business conversations in order to advance girls’ rights around the world.

Before joining the VOW team, Tara served as Director of Marketing & Engagement at the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation and Partnership Manager at Bright Pink. In her previous roles, she focused on brand collaborations and advocating for women’s health. Before pursuing her passion for philanthropy full-time, Tara worked in corporate retail at brands such as Nordstrom, DSW, and Kendra Scott. A native of Ohio, Tara lives in Chicago where she enjoys exploring new parks with her rescue puppy, attempting DIY projects in her new home, and taking in as many comedy shows as the city has to offer.

As a child, Tara dreamed of being an interior designer.

Our Advisory Council

Emily Campbell

Go Bella Design & Planning

Estelle Bogaert

Madame Wedding Design

Esther Lee

The Knot

Fanta Toure-Puri

Girls First Fund

Jenifer Willig


José Rolón

José Rolón Events

Justin Warshaw

Justin Alexander

Kristín Ólafsdóttir


Leonie Maruani

Vauban Infrastructure Partners

Leontyne Green Sykes


Lisa Gooder

Former Editor of BRIDES

Lotte Groosman

With Lotte

Maya Jain

Tyrian Purple

Michelle Wisson

Girls Not Brides

Mwai Yeboah

Exalt Africa

Neela Montgomery

Consumer Retail Leader

Rebecca Yale

Rebecca Yale Photography

Sarah Haywood

Sarah Haywood Weddings

Sabrina Hersi Issa

Be Bold Media

Tanya Pushkine

The Vow Whisperer


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.

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.

Is VOW a 501c3?

Yes, VOW for Girls is a registered 501c3 in the United States. EIN: 83-1964328.

VOW for Girls is a vow for the future.

Get the latest updates on VOW’s impact and how you can help make sure every girl has the chance to live a life she loves.