NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, VOW To End Child Marriage (VOW)–the initiative that puts the reach and economic power of the wedding industry behind the global movement to end child marriage–is celebrating its first anniversary.
In just a short year, VOW has enlisted more than a dozen leading companies as VOW partners and has rocketed to become one of the top 5 charities selected by engaged couples through "The Knot Gifts Back" charity registry program.
VOW also shared that all money it raises will support grassroots efforts across the globe to end child marriage. These funds are disbursed through the Girls First Fund, which recently distributed a first round of grants to community-based organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
"When we embarked on this journey, we had the ambitious goal of mobilizing couples, companies and the public to join the movement to end child marriage," said Mabel van Oranje, founder of VOW. "Over the past year, we have seen an incredible response. More and more brands are realizing that it is smart business to do some good in the world. Their customers don't just like it, they expect it. And more and more couples are looking for ways to make their wedding not only perfect, but also meaningful. VOW gives them and their guests an opportunity to make sure that when they say 'I DO,' girls elsewhere in the world can say 'I DON'T."
Mobilizing the Industry
In a year marked by growing momentum and increased awareness about child marriage, VOW has expanded its roster of partners to include industry leaders, emerging brands and wedding vendors across the country.
VOW's partners include Crate and Barrel, The Knot, The Little Market, Bird + Stone, Malia Mills and just-announced partnerships with The Peninsula Hotels, Reem Acra, Prinkshop, BoxFox, and an impressive collection of jewelry designers, including Jamie Wolf, Frank Darling and Single Stone.
These brand partners generously commit to donate a portion of profits from products, services, experiences and gift registries to help end child marriage. New VOW products include:
- The "Choose Love" package from The Peninsula Hotels in New York, Chicago and Beverly Hills, where 5 percent of proceeds are donated to VOW
- The "Paradise" dress from Reem Acra, where 10 percent of proceeds are donated to VOW
- The 'I Don't' tee from Prinkshop, where $5 from every purchase is donated to VOW
- The "Happily Ever After" box from BoxFox, where 10 percent of every purchase is donated to VOW
- The "VOW Collection" from Frank Darling, where 100 percent of proceeds from each ring is donated to VOW through Black Friday
- The "Polished Heart" from Single Stone, where 15 percent of online purchases are donated to VOW
- The entire online collection from Jamie Wolf, where 10 percent of all online sales using VOW10 code are donated to VOW
"At The Peninsula, we take pride in helping our guests celebrate each day and make every moment special," said Maria Zec, regional vice president and general manager, The Peninsula Chicago. "The Peninsula Hotels in New York, Chicago and Beverly Hills are proud to partner with VOW to end child marriage. We are committed to helping girls exercise their rights so they too can celebrate each day and make each moment a special one."
Couples, their guests and friends can support VOW in the planning and celebration of their marriage by donating directly to VOW, purchasing VOW products or aligning their wedding registries with VOW.
"The Knot made it incredibly easy for our guests to donate to such an important issue," said recently wed Hana and Dylan Moore. "We couldn't imagine not being given the choice to choose each other, and more specifically, not being given the choice as to when we'd choose each other. We hope VOW can continue to help girls take control of their own narratives."
Since launch, VOW has quickly risen to be one of "The Knot Gifts Back" most popular charities. Through The Knot Gifts Back, couples can choose from hundreds of charities to attach to their retail registries on The Knot. For each eligible gift purchased off their registry, The Knot will donate up to 3% of the gift cost to the couple's chosen charity. More than 1,000 couples have already chosen to align their wedding registries with VOW.
"As a brand that helps millions of couples plan their weddings each year, we believe your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life, and who you marry and how you marry is a personal choice. Child marriage is not a decision a girl gets to make and the fact that it affects 12 million girls a year makes it a worldwide epidemic," said Dhanusha Sivajee, chief marketing officer, The Knot Worldwide. "Through our connection to engaged couples and the pros that bring their weddings to life, we have the chance to make a real global impact on this important issue."
Neela Montgomery, CEO of Crate and Barrel added, "Our customers come to us to help celebrate special moments in their lives—from their first apartment, to their wedding, first home and beyond. Those visits are joyous and celebrate opportunity and choice. With VOW, we empower our customers to champion the voices of communities around the globe to improve outcomes for girls whose opportunities can disappear with child marriage."
Having an Impact
All of the money raised through VOW goes to the Girls First Fund. This unique fund champions local organizations that stand up for girls' rights and work to prevent child marriage.
The Girls First Fund recently made grants to 150 grassroots organizations in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, India, Nepal, Niger and Uganda. Ninety percent of the grants were made to young women and women-led organizations.
"We believe all girls should have the right to choose if, when and whom to marry," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, who is a major philanthropic seed funder for VOW. "It's amazing to see the impact of VOW in just one year. Its creative approach to ending child marriage, by uniquely bridging the worlds of the wedding industry and social impact communities, has raised awareness and generated funds for community efforts to end child marriage globally."
Rallying the Community
Today, VOW also launches its second-annual #VowForGirls social activation. Running from October 7-11, the goal is to raise $50,000 by International Day of the Girl (Oct. 11).
For every post, like and share using #VowForGirls, VOW brand partners Crate and Barrel, The Knot and The Peninsula Hotels will donate $1 to VOW up to $50,000. Last year, the activation reached its goal in under 24 hours and inspired more than 1-million actions with support from leading voices like Melinda Gates, Kristen Bell, Robin Wright, Christy Turlington and Helena Christensen.
Please visit www.VOWtoEndChildMarriage.org and follow along at #vowforgirls to learn more about VOW.
VOW gives couples, companies and the public the power to help end child marriage. We believe every girl has the right to a safe and healthy future including the right to choose if, when and whom to marry. VOW is an independent organization developed with the support of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, the Ford Foundation and Hive. VOW's Board members include Mabel van Oranje, initiator and chair of Girls Not Brides, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and Margaret Hempel. The Give Lively Foundation Inc., a Section 501(c)(3) organization, is the fiscal sponsor of VOW To End Child Marriage, Inc.
About the Girls First Fund
The Girls First Fund is a donor collaborative supported by leading philanthropic organizations and individual philanthropists who have come together to champion community-led efforts so that all girls can live free from child marriage and create their own future. The Fund's partners focus on girls, families and communities because they are in the best position to create lasting, local change and address the causes of child marriage at their roots. The Girls First Fund is a philanthropic fund of Capital for Good USA, a U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity, with services provided by Geneva Global. To learn more visit www.girlsfirstfund.org.
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