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Why I'm Crowdfunding My 30th Birthday For A Good Cause

Photo: Ryan Doyle/Video Vision 360.
Mallory Brown is using her 30th birthday to try to raise money for 30 female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia.
Mallory Brown is an entrepreneur and part of CrowdRise’s 24-Hour Impact Project. The views expressed here are her own.

I have one day to change the lives of some of the amazing women I have met in Ethiopia, and it just so happens to be my 30th birthday. I’m dedicating the 24 hours of my big 3-0 to raising $30,000 (£21,000) to help 30 women in Chapa, Ethiopia start their own businesses.

Ever since I first stepped foot in the developing world, at the age of 21, I have felt a pull toward philanthropy. I fell in love with the culture and diversity of the world, but more importantly, it helped me to understand the universality of mankind. We are all more alike than we are different. I saw so many people in need and knew there were so many people at home who would help if they could. I made it my mission to bridge this gap and create personal, direct means of giving.

At the age of 24, I started my own business, World Clothes Line, a socially conscious clothing company. For every item purchased, a new item is given to someone in need around the world. You buy. We give. Together, we clothe the world.
Video: Ryan Doyle/Video Vision 360.
In five years of business, I have had the incredible opportunity to travel to 19 countries to personally deliver new clothing to people in need. Throughout my journey, I’ve met vibrant and beautiful people around the globe, both customers and recipients. I discovered that my method of connecting individuals could reach beyond the realm of clothing to fill many other needs.

In 2015, I started working with CrowdRise, the largest fundraising platform in the world dedicated to charitable giving. Crowdfunding is the perfect solution to connect my community to incredible causes and amplify my impact. Raising money for specific needs is incredibly gratifying to my donors, who can then see their money at work.
Through the 24-Hour Impact Project, we have successfully hosted eight flash fundraisers across four continents, for eight different causes. We’ve built a community centre in Mexico, secured a home for a displaced family in Haiti, expanded sanitation efforts in post-earthquake Nepal, provided a permanent location for a community barbecue in Detroit, funded life-changing surgeries for three kids in Honduras, provided eye exams and glasses to 1,400 students in Cambodia, brought relief to a homeless community living in underground tunnels in Las Vegas, and helped rescue an endangered species of lemur in Madagascar.

Now, I want to make an impact here in Ethiopia. For my 30th birthday, I returned to my favourite country in Africa (I fell in love with Ethiopia during my first visit four years ago). As a female entrepreneur, I was devastated to learn of a community of impoverished women who desperately wanted to work but had no job opportunities. I understand the incredible power that a sustainable income would provide. To me, empowering women to start their own businesses was the perfect cause to pair with such a meaningful milestone in my life.
If we can raise $30,000, I will celebrate my birthday by providing equipment, materials, job training, and financial management classes to these 30 Ethiopian women to run their own businesses. These jobs will provide their first-ever source of income. This will be their first opportunity to buy nutritious food for their families, send their children to school, afford health care, and start saving for further advancement. The halo effect of these jobs will boost the local economy and open up a new world of opportunity.

I'm working hard to make my birthday meaningful and give this once-in-a-lifetime chance to 30 amazing, vibrant, inspiring women. It'll be the best birthday ever, promise.