Meet Our U.S. Grantee Partners
When we first began this journey nearly a decade ago, we committed to tackling the issues affecting maternal health outcomes around the world, including the United States. In that time, we have seen the state of maternal health in the U.S. steadily worsen and today, shamefully, this country has a higher maternal mortality rate than 54 other countries and is the only high-resource nation with a rising maternal mortality rate.
And while we know there are a multitude of direct and indirect causes contributing to these startling statistics, we also know that racism and a lack of birth justice remain among the biggest drivers of preventable maternal deaths.
The call for dismantling racism, decolonizing birth, and centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals and families has never been more urgent. That’s why we are proud to continue to stand behind these community-based maternal health organizations on the front lines of fighting for racial and birth justice.
An introduction to our current U.S. grantee partners below. We look forward to continuing to share more of their work with you.
Commonsense Childbirth, Florida (Partner since 2013)
Commonsense Childbirth works to ensure that everyone is able to access maternity care that is humane, patient-centered, woman-centered, family-centered, and culturally-safe. The birth staff support families navigating the structural barriers of Medicaid, connect families with social services, and provide wraparound psychosocial support. No one is turned away, regardless of their ability to pay. Commonsense Childbirth’s Easy Access Clinic provides women in Florida with high-quality prenatal and postpartum care, coupled with social support and targeted education, in a variety of languages.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Commonsense Childbirth is continuing to make sure that maternity care and services are available. They have been equipping their clients with at-home prenatal care kits, including blood pressure cuffs and other medical supplies to facilitate home health monitoring, as well as providing additional education and services during a time when extra support is needed.
Changing Woman Initiative, New Mexico (Partner since 2017)
Changing Woman Initiative works to renew and support Indigenous traditions around pregnancy and birth, improving maternal and community health in Native American communities. The organization’s vision is to restore the sovereignty of Indigenous midwifery and community health with the return to gender equality and cultural birth practices. CWI supports Native American families in seeking prenatal care and women’s health care through the Corn Mother Easy Access Health Clinic and White Shell Woman Homebirth Services.
Native American communities have faced a disproportionate burden of COVID-19, due to historical underinvestment in health infrastructure, care, and information sharing. In addition to continuing to provide maternity care, CWI has mobilized to provide donations and supplies for Navajo Nation and Pueblo communities and local maternity clinics as a part of their community pandemic response.
SisterWeb, California (Partner since 2018)
SisterWeb is a community-based doula program aimed at closing equity gaps and improving health by training African American, Latinx, and Pacific Islander doulas and linking them with pregnant people in their own communities to provide culturally-relevant prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum support. SisterWeb also supports the development of doula-facilitated community education.
In response to COVID-19, SisterWeb has supported its community-based doulas in providing virtual support to their clients, while also providing and distributing essential items and groceries. SisterWeb has centered their doulas in their COVID-19 response, ensuring that they have all that they need to care for themselves, their families, and their clients.
Ancient Song Doula Services, New York and New Jersey (Partner since 2014)
Ancient Song Doula Services applies a reproductive and birth justice framework in order to address maternal mortality and morbidity through doula training and certification, conferences and educational forums, and full spectrum doula services for pregnant and parenting people. Ancient Song works to center the voices, experiences, and joy of marginalized communities, particularly those of Black and brown birthing people.
To address clients’ needs during COVID-19, Ancient Song has continued to provide community-based doula support, while increasing efforts to link clients with goods and services they need to stay healthy. Ancient Song has also offered several trainings on virtual doula support and nurse-oriented full spectrum doula care, as well as collecting and amplifying the stories of parents, providers, family members, and communities.
Village Birth International, New York and New Jersey (Partner since 2019)
Village Birth International (VBI) provides community-based doula care to improve outcomes in birth, breastfeeding, parenting, and healing for communities in Syracuse, New York. VBI is committed to health equity for all families by eliminating the impact of racism and systemic oppression on perinatal outcomes through a reproductive and birth justice framework. VBI doulas provide physical, emotional, spiritual care, and advocacy throughout all stages of reproductive healthcare.
During COVID-19, VBI has continued to train and support their community-based doulas in providing remote and limited in-person support to clients, including advising them on COVID-19 related topics. The VBI Collective works to support Black birth workers through an ongoing designated reproductive justice doula fund in order to continue protecting and serving families in Syracuse.