Mary Dailey Brown, President, Co-Founder, 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 on as a White House Photographer, serving both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Mrs. Brown was inspired by the way that President Carter and Mrs. Carter treated people, regardless of whether the people were heads of state or maids, including greeting everyone, even on elevators and back halls. She was always impressed that somebody that important would take time for everyone. It also showed her 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 any time soon. Emboldened, Mary 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, Mary and her husband Doug Brown were compelled to start a nonprofit. In 2006, SowHope was founded with the mission of inspiring women around the world by promoting wellness, education, and economic opportunities. The idea was simple: start something so easy to duplicate, that many other organizations would copy the strategy and serve the billions of women and, by doing so, their families, who are the most impoverished in the world. This strategy, partnering with local leaders using local solutions solving local problems, became the best way to serve local communities – funding projects that the people truly 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 90,000 women in 20 countries, funding over 200 projects. Projects have been funded 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.