Each year, a staggering 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18 — some as young as 8 or 9. That’s 23 girls every minute, who are robbed of their futures and their education, putting them at risk of violence, ill health and trapping them in poverty. VOW aims to change this by giving companies and the public the power to raise funds that go to the Girls First Fund, a donor collective that supports local organizations working against child marriage.

By raising funds for local, on-the-ground organizations that stand up for girls’ rights and against child marriage, VOW is helping to support the communities and individuals that are closest to the issues of child marriage.

“Child marriage robs young girls of their potential, therefore denying our world the benefits of their bright minds. At Ford, our work focuses on challenging inequality, so it’s natural for us to support initiatives that lift up grassroots and girl-led community efforts to end child marriage in local communities,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “The power of an effort like VOW lies in its unexpected bridging of worlds and industry sectors. We hope that happy couples, entering into joyful marriages of their own choosing, will embrace the idea that empowering girls in other parts of the world is a fitting way to celebrate their love and partnership.”

CNN op-ed


Marie Claire

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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