Discover our Steps 4 Success founder stories

The greatest stories have a humble beginning

In the words of our co-founder: Esther Marie

Around 2010, when I was doing my master's degree in Architecture, I founded Steps 4 Success with some friends during my last year in College. We started this company because we love to help people and the three of us have been related to Fundraising since childhood.

My first experiences began selling girl scout cookies with my mom, chocolates in science club, and other stuff with my graduating classes. During high school I had the opportunity to manage myself many fundraising campaigns, and I learned a lot from that exposure.

Went to College

In 2005 I went to College to study Architecture and I met my future co-founders in my freshmen year. Promptly we became friends and some years later we joined efforts to start this project called Steps 4 Success. All this started out with casual conversations about our involvement with the fundraising activities at high school.

Interestingly we experienced the same frustration about the lack of a good fundraiser out there. It was like the only available options were repackaging products from the grocery store or unexcited ones like candles, pencils, or discount cards. We also shared an entrepreneurial spirit that guided us to use our design skills to create an extraordinary fundraiser.

At the beginning it was just talk about…

What'd be a great product? When was the last time someone invented a new fundraiser? Why there are no products exclusively for fundraising? Did someone ever sit-down to think about what groups need, want or believe?

Well, tons of questions with lots of answers to find.


Then, at some point, we flirted with the possibility of abandoning our careers in Architecture after graduation to follow our desire to become entrepreneurs. Finally, with no money, no adviser and no experience, in the middle of 2010, this adventure called Steps 4 Success had begun.

We learned to maximize our resources and time, being full-time students while we were building the idea and the concept of this new project. We started meeting at the library and then at the nearest Starbucks. I have to confess, it was a little bit chaotic because we were designing buildings at College during the daytime and products during the nighttime, delivering documents related to our graduation and doing paperwork related to the incorporation.

In short, it started with a discussion, that became an idea, then a plan, later a dream and, finally, a reality. It was a huge adventure (and it still is) with unimaginable obstacles and challenges, but this path was also full of lessons and great stories to tell. For one million reasons, we decided to create a fundraiser based on people’s passion and beliefs, and today we've helped more than 200,000 groups in the country and helped them to raise millions of dollars.

I really encourage every group to try our fundraiser, it’s something unique that you and your members are going to love, like we do.

I’m a city girl who lives with my husband and my little dog (a chihuahua that's also part of Steps 4 Success team). I love to design products, to code internal applications and do whatever we need at our small Startup. I also enjoy the photography and building things, no matter if it’s a crafty project or a wood swing for the office. Thanks for letting me share my part of the story with you and hope we can be an option for your group!

Fundraising Designer
Esther Marie
Co-founder, Architect and Designer

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