Mary Dailey Brown, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of SowHope, grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois. She attended Southern Illinois University where she received two Bachelor of Arts, in Photography and Psychology. After graduating, she became a summer intern at the White House and was soon hired as a White House Photographer, serving both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
The way that President Carter Mrs. Carter treated all people, regardless of whether someone was a head of state or a maid, inspired Mrs. Brown. The President and First Lady greeted everyone they met, even on elevators and in the back hallways. Mrs. Brown was impressed that two such important people took time for everyone. It showed Mrs. Brown the value of each person.
Later in life, Mrs. Brown became the Director of Missions at a large church and was able to travel to dozens of countries within the developing world. During this time, she noticed that the local women seemed to be doing all of the hard labor. The local leaders of the communities confirmed this fact to her and told her it would not change anytime soon. Emboldened, Mrs. Brown set out to look for an opportunity to work for a multinational organization dedicated to the holistic care of women.
In 2005, after her long search came up empty, Mrs. Brown and her husband Doug Brown were compelled to start a nonprofit. In 2006, they founded SowHope with the mission to inspire women around the world by promoting wellness, education, and economic opportunities. The idea was simple: devise a model that was so easy to duplicate other organizations could copy it and serve the billions of impoverished women and consequently their families, in the most impoverished countries throughout the world.
The strategy to partner with local leaders to solve local problems using local solutions became the best way to serve local communities – funding projects that the people truly wanted and needed, using the ideas they dreamed up themselves. This was an empowering concept that conceivably would spread like wildfire. Thirteen years later, SowHope continues to be one of the only multinational organizations solely dedicated to the holistic care of women.
With the help of its donors, SowHope has impacted over 105,000 women in 23 countries while funding 261 projects in the areas of maternal healthcare and AIDS training, literacy and vocational training, microfinance, and many other locally dreamed ideas.
To learn more about SowHope, watch the video below.