Arlington, VA, February 13, 2023: March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, kicked off the 2023 March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™. The 53rd annual experience is taking place in communities across the country and virtually, providing an opportunity for families to come together to support one another throughout their parenthood journey while raising critical funds to help March of Dimes provide research, programs, education, and advocacy so moms and babies get the best possible start. March for Babies is the organization’s largest fundraiser and the nation’s oldest charitable walk.
“This is a crucial time for our nation’s moms and babies, and we’re coming together in communities to unite, connect, honor, and care for families who need us the most right now,” says Kelly Ernst, March of Dimes Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue and Impact Officer. “Through in-person and virtual experiences, this year’s March for Babies will once again connect thousands of supporters, some who return with their families year after year and others who are signing up for their first experience. We look forward to welcoming them all!”
Several March of Dimes Celebrity Advocate Council Members are joining the movement again this year to improve the health of moms and babies. Advocates showing their support include author and entrepreneur Porsha Williams; former Olympic gymnast, entrepreneur and author Shawn Johnson East and her husband former NFL player Andrew East; and comedian, activist, and maternal mental health advocate, Angelina Spicer.
“Rates of preterm birth and maternal and infant mortality are all significantly higher for Black women, which is simply unacceptable,” said Porsha. “Moms and babies across our country deserve better and we must come together to end this crisis for all families. I’m proud to again support March for Babies and make a real impact in my community and beyond.”
The March of Dimes 2022 Report Card shows that the U.S. preterm birth rate increased to 10.5% in 2021 – a significant 4% increase in just one year and the highest recorded rate since 2007. The data also shows persistent racial disparities across maternal and infant health measures that were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, making the U.S. among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth.
“Having experienced our own loss, we are committed to ensuring that all families have healthy pregnancies and strong babies,” said Shawn and Andrew. “From innovative research and programs to online communities that provide support, March of Dimes is invaluable to so many families. We’re supporting March for Babies to ensure that every mom and baby has the best possible start.”
Spicer’s experience with perinatal depression is also driving her to help. “Having experienced postpartum depression after my daughter’s birth, I want to ensure that all moms have the support and resources they need before, during and after childbirth,” said Angelina. “I’m supporting March for Babies again this year to ensure families across the country can continue to benefit from the programs, education, advocacy and community that March of Dimes provides.”
In addition to the Celebrity Advocates, Publix and Gerber are supporting March for Babies as national partners. As longtime supporters of the organization, Publix has raised more than $95 million since 1995 to help improve health outcomes for moms and babies. To further the work of March of Dimes, Gerber employees have also fundraised, created care kits for families with a child in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and joined March for Babies walks at events nationwide.
More than just a walk, March for Babies will lift up communities for health equity, open the door for every mom to have access to care and protect the health of families through advocacy. The annual event is a time to honor motherhood, babies and families, and come together with thousands of others to share experiences while raising critical funds to advance the mission of March of Dimes.
GET INVOLVED: March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™ calls on people across the country to unite and take steps—big or small—to fundraise and make a huge difference for the health of all families.
And all it takes is 4 easy steps:
- Sign up at marchforbabies.org to join the movement.
- Explore ways to get involved wherever you are, virtually or in person. Participants can host a community walk or create a DIY fundraiser. They can also attend a March for Babies experience in their community.
- Ask family and friends to join—or compete—with you to raise funds for March for Babies.
- Get moving! Share your progress and check back often for the latest information and updates.
By joining this movement, participants are:
- Uniting for health equity, opening the door for all moms to have access to care and protecting the health of families by advocating for their rights.
- Connecting year-round through customized challenges and team building activities that engage employees, families and friends who want moms and babies to be healthy and strong.
- Honoring motherhood, babies and those who’ve experienced loss by staying active and creating change.
- Caring for all families throughout their pregnancy—whether it goes as planned or has unexpected challenges—by raising critical funds, so moms and babies get the best possible start.