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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Birth Defects & Genetic Diseases, Health

Mission: With the success of the Salk vaccine in the mid 1950s, the March of Dimes turned its focus on birth defects, low birth weight and infant death. Over the past 68 years, March of Dimes' cutting edge research and innovative programs have saved millions of babies from death or disability.

Programs: Research & medical support the march of dimes funds research into the causes of birth defects, premature birth and other threats to babies' health as well as ways to prevent and treat them. The march of dimes consistently throughout its history has selected bold problems from conquering polio to preventing prematurity and has been successful through careful planning and execution to achieve our mission. The march of dimes also has developed partnerships to leverage its efforts together with those of other organizations. Since the start of our national prematurity campaign in 2003, rates of preterm birth have declined for 7 years in a row to 11. 4% and have reached a 16-year low. Since 2006, an estimated 210,000 babies have been spared the consequences of an early birth, and our country has saved at least $11. 9 billion in excess health care costs. We achieved these results through sustained leadership and a variety of partnerships. We opened four march of dimes prematurity research centers, the first one at stanford university in 2011, the second as the ohio collaborative in 2013, and the third and fourth in 2014 at washington university in st. Louis and the university of pennsylvania. These prematurity research centers take a unique team science approach to speeding up discovery of causes and preventions, drawing faculty not only from the medical schools, but from across the campuses, including, for example from schools of engineering. A total of five centers are planned, and the fifth has been approved by our board of trustees, but not yet announced. It will be announced in q2 of 2015. We led the drive to eliminate early elective deliveries before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. This work includes quality improvement initiatives with over 100 prominent hospitals in 28 states. A peer-reviewed publication, the research for which was supported by and the majority of the authors were from the march of dimes, showed an 83% reduction in early elective deliveries from january through december of the same year among 25 hospitals in five states. This work also includes a national consumer education campaign called healthy babies are worth the wait. The description of the healthy babies are worth the wait pilot in kentucky is in press as volume 1 of the new peer-reviewed march of dimes series with elsevier as the publisher. This shows that there was a reduction in early elective deliveries in kentucky compared with surrounding states, and reviewers were highly complimentary of the march of dimes taking on a research project of this complexity in a "real world setting. " in 2012, the u. S. Dept. Of health and human services built on their approach by launching strong start, an initiative to improve birth outcomes. The leapfrog group, a nonprofit hospital quality watchdog, released results from the 2013 leapfrog hospital survey, which showed the rate of early elective deliveries (non-medically necessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks) dropped from 17% in 2010 to 4. 6% in 2013 at nearly 1,000 reporting hospitals. The joint commission has included the reduction of early elective deliveries as one of its five perinatal core measures, which will impact policies at all birthing hospitals in the u. S. Our research advances over the past 75 years are still improving health and saving lives of babies today. Polio once crippled tens of thousands of children, but thanks to vaccines developed with march of dimes support, this disease has been eliminated in most of the world. Newborn screening tests developed with funding from the march of dimes contribute to the detection of the recommended set of 31 serious but treatable disorders and save lives. The march of dimes national folic acid campaign led to fortification of grain products in 1998 with the b vitamin folic acid, and since then our nation has seen a 36 percent reduction in spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, and a 17 percent reduction in anencephaly, a very serious birth defect of the brain that uniformly results in death. Reducing preterm birth through our partnership with the association of state and territorial health officials (astho), health departments in every state, puerto rico and the district of columbia have set goals of reducing their rates of premature birth by 8 percent by 2014. Using the data from the national center on health statistics (nchs) of the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc), 16 states or territories have achieved their goals of 8% reduction through the 2013 data: alaska, arizona, california, colorado, delaware, district of columbia, indiana, massachusetts, nevada, new hampshire, new york, puerto rico, rhode island, utah, vermont, and wyoming. In 2014, 5 states earned an "a" on the march of dimes premature birth report card: california, maine, new hampshire, oregon and vermont.

public and professional education the march of dimes shares vital health information with the general public, women and professionals through the internet, educational booklets and public service advertising, many of which are provided in both english and spanish. The materials for the public are written in "plain language" and have won numerous awards. All march of dimes educational materials are strongly evidence-based and depend on the peer-reviewed medical and scientific literature, as well as on reliable sources, such as the centers for disease control and prevention, the american academy of pediatrics, the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists, and others. We led the publication of born too soon: the global action report on preterm birth, the first global estimates of premature birth, and recommended prevention and care strategies for the 15 million babies born preterm each year. Our global partners are now pushing forward to bring these lifesaving approaches to countries throughout the world. In 2014, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the international federation of obstetrics and gynecology (figo) to pool activities and resources of the march of dimes with the activities and infrastructure of figo in order to help reduce worldwide the rates of preterm birth. As part of this agreement, march of dimes and figo have contracted with the boston consulting group on a study to understand the drivers of differences in preterm birth across and within countries over time, on the basis of these findings identify opportunities to reduce preterm birth in high-income countries and, subsequently, selected middle-income countries and identify gaps in knowledge and implications for research. We are also working with the march of dimes global network for maternal and infant health in lebanon, malawi and the philippines to improve the health of adolescents and young women before they become pregnant and are planning for the 7th international conference on the prevention of birth defects and disability in the developing world to be held in dar es salaam, tanzania in september. World prematurity day continues to expand around the world, raising awareness about the serious problem of premature birth. Begun as prematurity awareness day in the united states, november 17th is now marked by activities in more than 80 countries with parent groups recruited to lead the efforts in many of these countries. For additional information on the foundation's prematurity campaign, please visit the following websites: http://bit. Ly/1d9inzm and http://bit. Ly/107xcvc

community services march of dimes chapter staff and volunteers invest time and resources in local programs and activities in all 50 states, washington, d. C. , and puerto rico, playing a vital role in improving maternal and child health in their communities, to enhancing and expanding services available to women and their families. Chapter staff and volunteers partner with local health agencies, community-based organizations, professional associations, hospitals, and others to determine the most pressing maternal and child health needs and to develop a multi-year strategic plan that will positively impact the health status of communities. Staff and volunteers then work to enhance and expand community services, and to improve systems of care for mothers, babies, and their families through advocacy, leadership educational programs and community grants. In 2014, march of dimes chapters awarded 554 community grants. Through its community grants and program services, march of dimes aims to: improve the health of mothers and babies through education on healthy pregnancy; prenatal care and other services to reduce the risk of premature birth and other poor birth outcomes; and support for families whose babies need specialized care in the newborn intensive care unit (nicu). Healthy babies are worth the wait community program is a march of dimes chapter-led partnership focused on decreasing preterm birth by improving the quality of health care delivery, increasing access to prevention services, providing education for pregnant women, perinatal providers and the greater community. Program partners work together to integrate clinical and public health interventions that are proven to reduce preterm birth. These interventions include: patient navigation/care coordination, hospital quality improvement to reduce early elective deliveries, group prenatal care, and smoking cessation, prevention of repeat preterm births and infection diagnosis and treatment. The march of dimes offers information and comfort to families experiencing the hospitalization of their baby and provides training for healthcare professionals in newborn intensive care units (nicus) through nicu family support. In 2014, nicu family support programs served over 92,000 families experiencing a nicu stay in 132 hospitals across the united states. Activities provided include parent-to-parent support, print and online education for families and innovative programs for parents, siblings and grandparents - all with the purpose of providing comfort and critical health care messages to families in crisis. To support hospital staff in their role, the program provided professional development trainings and resources for neonatologists, nurses and other clinicians to promote implementation of best practices in family-centered care. Hispanic outreach the increasing number of hispanic women in the united states, coupled with their higher fertility rates and increased risk of adverse birth outcomes, call for greater attention to their preconception, maternal and newborn health needs. To address these needs, the march of dimes offers numerous education and health promotion resources that reach millions of spanish-speaking women and families globally. In 2014, the march of dimes relaunched nacersano. Org, the foundations culturally and linguistically relevant source of maternal and baby health information for spanish-speaking hispanic community at large. The new mobile-ready site features hundreds of health articles, interactive tools, educational videos and other resources, including easy access to social media platforms where health information is also provided. The site reached more than 2. 4 million users in 2014 and had more than 4 million page views. In addition, the nacersano blog (one of the social media platforms) had 3,300 average views per day, a 42 percent increase over 2013 and the highest since its implementation in 2007. Hispanic advisory council the march of dimes created a national hispanic advisory council in 2014. This group of professionals advises the march of dimes on best practices for improving the health of hispanic mothers and babies. It also helps the organization to communicate the mission with the hispanic community for long-term engagement and help improve health outcomes. Pregnancy and newborn health education center since 1997, the pregnancy & newborn health education center (the center) has served women and their families by being the trusted source of accurate, timely information about what women can do to help themselves be healthier, to have a healthy pregnancy and reduce their risk of having a preterm birth. Through the center, march of dimes health experts offer one-on-one health education and support to women and families from around the world, in english and spanish. In 2014, the center answered 19,870 emails in english and spanish on topics ranging from preconception, pregnancy and prematurity to health advocacy, baby care and loss. The center also delivers education through social media platforms. The news moms need blog averages over 1300 daily views. Through daily outreach and monthly chats on the march of dimes twitter accounts; the center engaged over 25 million people with detailed educational content, and answered individual concerns as they arose. Fda and corn masa flour the march of dimes participated in a working group comprised of other health organizations and a company interested in fortifying corn masa flour and its related products (e. G. , tortillas and tortilla chips) with folic acid in the u. S. To prepare a food additive petition to the fda. This petition, which would allow voluntary fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid if approved, was submitted to the fda in april 2012. The march of dimes has since continued to work with the fda to address their concerns and questions regarding aspects of the information submitted in the petition. The march of dimes has funded an additional stability study to examine the levels of folic acid present in fortified corn masa flour and its related products over time. Such data would allow the fda to confirm that the folic acid is present at expected or appreciable levels in corn masa flour and its related products sufficient to achieve the intended effect of reducing neural tube defects in the u. S. This study is expected to be finished by end of 2015. Patient safety and quality the march of dimes is infusing patient safety and quality throughout its mission activities. This involves creating a "culture of safety" in these areas, based on teh features of high reliability organizations and natural accident theory. Nbs culture of safety and awards in november 2013, the milwaukee journal sentinel (mjs) published the first article in a series titled "deadly delays" in newborn screening. This article described death and disability that could have been prevented among babies whose newborn screening tests had been delayed, for example by being closed on weekends and holidays, and "batching" samples in hospitals over multiple days before sending them to the state laboratory. We published an op ed in the mjs one week later and a peer-reviewed commentary in 2014, both calling for a culture of safety in nbs. We convened a newborn screening quality improvement work group to share best practices to improve sample transit times and that group now includes representatives from 16 organizations, such as the american academy of pediatrics, american college of obstetrics and gynecology, american hospital association, association of state and territorial health officials and others. The work group meets 2-3 times per year either in person or by conference call. The march of dimes, in collaboration with the association of state and territorial health officials, began providing awards in 2014 to state health officials for specific policies and practices that improve sample transit times and we have made two awards to date.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I really think it is easy, maybe even cool, to sound jaded in this cynical age. Yes the March of Dimes’ original impetus, finding a cure for Polio, was ago achieved decades ago (and thankfully since who knows who among us born in the 50’s may have been victims of this curse without it!). But we can also admire an organization that had reinvented itself to lead the fight against current threats such as premature birth and birth defects. This organization continues to lead by providing millions for research, education and support to families, to promote healthy babies.
I have been a volunteer at the March of Dimes for several months now, and I have found it to be one of the most humane work environments I have ever seen in 30 years of working in all kinds and sizes of organizations. Granted, a great work environment is not a justification for a non-profit, but it does show a consistent commitment to life affirming values of all kinds.

18 Jackie29

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a parent who nearly lost a daughter who was born very premature, it is heartbreaking for me to see how many people are misinformed about the March of Dimes. I have volunteered with the organization for the last 10 years and know first hand how wonderful the March of Dimes is. I want to clarify a few things that are being said because they are incorrect and it's important to get the right information out there.

1) The March of Dimes does not provide funding to individuals. What they do is provide funding for research and services that help prevent preterm birth, birth defects, and infant loss. Things like smoking cessation courses, research into genetics that might help determine why some babies do better or worse after being born preterm, and programs to teach pregnant teens about the importance of proper medical care during pregnancy are the types of programs they support.

They have helped fund research that developed surfactant therapy (a chemical put in premature babies lungs that help them breathe) and has saved the lives of countless babies, including my daughter.

Anyone who takes a prenatal vitamin with Folic acid can thank the March of Dimes for funding research that showed that chances of Neural tube defects could be decreased by taking folic acid during pregnancy.

Remember that APGAR score your child got when they were born? Dr. Virginia Apgar worked for the March of Dimes and helped develop this quick test to evaluate how a baby is doing after birth.

How about that drop of blood the doctors took from your child's foot right after birth? That's because the March of Dimes has shown that detecting certain diseases earlier gives a better chance for treatment and outcome for the child. It's called Newborn Screening and is required at different levels in every state in the country.

In more recent years, the March of Dimes has started a NICU family support program in every state in the country. The March of Dimes puts a staff member on site in a NICU to help the families dealing with a birth crisis. These people will sit and hold your hand and listen as well as help answer any questions you have about your child and what lies ahead. They can help parents figure out different ways to find financial support as many NICU stays have a price tag in the hundred thousand dollar range. They set up "sibling events" so the other children in the family can start to bond with their brother or sister while they are in the hospital. But seeing it's not present in every NICU yet, many families don't know about this great service.

So if Joe Smith walks into a March of Dimes office and asks for money to pay for his baby's medical bill they can't do that. But they can help find information on assistance he can get to help cover his bills (medicaid, social security, etc). This is similar to most charities. You can't walk into a Red Cross office and ask for $100 and expect them to give it to you. It's just not the way these charities work.

2) The March of Dimes manages a website with the help of amazing volunteers called Share.marchofdimes.com. The website is basically an online support group for anyone who is dealing with a pregnancy that did not turn out as they expected. There are parents there who have children with birth defects, children who were born premature, and sadly, many parents who have lost a child. It's a heartwarming and supportive place to get advice when you are dealing with your own pregnancy/baby problems. This is the place to go when you need help with your situation, these families have walked in your shoes and can answer just about any question you have.

3) Yes, the March of Dimes does many appeals for donations, but every other charity I have donated to does the same thing. It is important to note that the March of Dimes does not pay for advertising. Anything you receive or signs you see are because a sponsor has covered the cost of that advertising.

4) The March of Dimes is making a difference! Prematurity rates have gone down in the last few years despite the number of women receiving infertility treatments going up. Women who receive fertility treatments are more likely to give birth to multiples which puts them at risk for being born early. So the more that rate goes up the more babies who are likely to be born preterm. But we are still seeing a decrease so what they are doing DOES work.

I guess what I'm saying is that while you may not see the work they are doing first hand, any baby born is benefiting from the March of Dimes. My 25 week preemie wouldn't be alive today without medical advancements made through March of Dimes funding and my full term son was still touched by their mission through folic acid and newborn screening tests. ALL babies are helped by the March of Dimes whether you see it or not.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The March of Dimes is a wonderful organization that does a lot of work behind the scenes helping moms have healthy pregnancies. You don't hear about their successes much because they don't make a specific product or have their name out there as much as other organizations. But I assure you, their success are HUGE.

What they ARE doing is providing money to support programs and do research to help moms have full term, healthy pregnancies. Out of every dollar donated to the March of Dimes, $0.76 is spent on research and programs. For example, They work with local groups to provide funding to help pregnant women stop smoking, to teach them about nutrition, and to help them give their baby the best start in life.
They provide funding nationally to do research that SAVES LIVES. My daughter is one of countless children who survived her early birth due to medical developments paid for by the March of Dimes.

Did you know that drinking alcohol while you are pregnant is bad for your baby? You did? Great! Then the March of Dimes has touched your life. Ever hear that you are supposed to take folic acid while you are pregnant? That was the March of Dimes too. They funded research that proved taking folic acid during pregnancy decreases the chance of neural tube defects (like spina bifida). When your child was born did the nurse take a drop of blood from his or her heel? That's due to the March of Dimes newborn screening program which checks for a number of disorders that can be better treated the earlier they are caught. So you may not see them, but the March of Dimes is all around you.

My connection with them is personal. They funded research that developed a chemical called surfactant that allowed babies with underdeveloped lungs to breathe. My daughter received this medication when she was born 3.5 months premature weighing only 1 lb 15 oz. Without it, she would have died. Lucky for me the March of Dimes does exist and their research saved my daughters life. They continue to try to find ways to stop premature birth and in the short 9 years I've been a supporter of the March of Dimes, I've seen the prematurity rate drop. So they are making a difference!

Everyone should support the March of Dimes, because everyone deserves to have healthy babies. And their babies deserve to have healthy babies.....

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

March of Dimes does a tremendous job standing behind the families who are touched by their mission as well as the families who are celebrating full-term healthy babies. I have no doubt that the money collected is being used for great things and have experienced it first hand!

2 Bill47

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am writng about the March of Dimes in Orange and Sullivan Counties in New York. I have found these folks very giving of their time and enthusiastic about their cause. The are also very dedicated to the families who have benefited. As a volunteer I have been very happy with my connection and expect to give of my time for many years to come.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are a lot of grumpy people on this site who know very little about philanthropy and running a major non profit. Look up the other non profits and be dismayed. The March of Dimes gives back more on the dollar than most non profits out there. Many materials for mailings are donated. Each of you that says that you donated to the March of Dimes but they never helped you. A) It's not all about you and B) where do you think the advances in medicine came from and were funded by? Did you get a polio shot? Did your child get a polio shot? - Thank the March of Dimes! Did you get a heal stick genetic marker screening at birth or your child? - Thank the March of Dimes! Did you know to take folic acid and not drink alcohol while pregnant? Yep! Thank the March of Dimes. Did your child receive surfactant through a ventilator preventing weeks on a vent? Yes...you guessed it, thank the March of Dimes? Did you stop to read about all the genes they have discovered that contribute to major birth defects? Probably not. So, for all of you who want nothing to do with the March of Dimes. Go ahead, get polio, don't take folic acid while pregnant and let potential birth defects set in. If you're not happy with the March of Dimes, pick up and call them. Don't bash them. They are a fundraising organization to raise money for research for cures, and they are very open about this. If you need emotional support, call a Pastor, go to a counselor, reach out to a friend but don't knock them for who they are clear they are not. I love the March of Dimes. Because of them, I knew to take folic acid, my son received surfactant therapy and I don't have polio. I also thanked them for the heal stick test which gave us important information about our premature child. God bless the March of Dimes and all the babies they have saved including the grumpy people on this site who are clearly misinformed. The March of Dimes has done research on the mailings and the return they get is worth it. Not every person is an angry person. I am not a staff person but a volunteer who is so eternally grateful for their research and support! Also, charity navigator is way off on their financial records. March of Dimes gives between 76-86% of each dollar earned. Disappointing that a wesbite like this would report inaccurate information without pulling financials. Even Forbes gets it right! Sounds like an angry employee who states of mismanaged funds. Our chefs auction took home $135000 this year to the organization and only had 10000 overhead. The NICU support team is funded through grants and grants come and go if you wonder where that money might be - there's your answer. The March of Dimes is clear that it does not pay the NICU support specialist's salary. This is a hospital funded position via grants in partnership with the MOD. The other reviewers on here don't even sound like they called to volunteer but just wanted to be given when they have already been given so much! It's not the Red Cross that gives direct money or supplies. Call your state's healthy smart program if you need that. Be thankful, they likely have saved many of our lives if not yours. The emotional support to the NICUs is awesome! I know, I was in a NICU for three months. Thanks for letting me clear up a few misleading posts who are misinformed and never volunteered or perhaps is a disgruntled employee.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the March of Dimes now for over a year and love the charity and all they have done for my family. They constantly support the NICU/PICU'S in our area. they provide support to families in need and show gratitude to nurses and doctors on a regular basis. They constantly make an effort to reach out to families who need support and we were one of them.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful charity who has done wonderful things for families of premature babies who have survived and those who have not.

Review from CharityNavigator

4 Fred H.

Volunteer

Rating: 1

March of Dimes are anonymous cowards who have harassed me by phoning my house three times per day for over three consecutive weeks. Last week I was home from work to answer and agreed to distribute the mailers to neighbors ( because the caller argued and wouldn't take "no thanks"). They CONTINUE to phone me all hours of the day from 914-294-2276!!! I did research to discover March of Dimes is a scam and should not be considered a charity by the FCC. The CEOs pay themselves close to $700,000.00 a year salaries, and if you ever agree to help they will punish you with unrelenting phone calls indefinitely!!

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

September 2012 article in Bloomberg & NPR found much of the donations going to a telemarketer, InfoCision. This charity will not get my money.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a March of Dimes Volunteer for almost 20 years. My daughter was born with a birth defect and directly benefited from neonatal intensive care technologies and therapies funded through March of Dimes research. The March of Dimes executive leadership and staff are some of the best, brightest, and most dedicated professionals I have ever met; always putting the mission of improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality first and foremost. This is an organization dedicated to its mission and to the many volunteers across the country that support them. Being able to fundraise and assist the organization all these years has been a true privilege! Thank you March of Dimes!

Review from CharityNavigator