Addressing disparities in birth outcomes aligns with our commitment to racial equity. Healthy pregnancies and healthy babies are integral to the long-term success of communities and to creating a nation in which all children thrive.
Why This Work Matters
We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, and we invest in maternal and child health to advance children’s best interests from the start.
Americans have one of the highest infant mortality rates among developed nations. Further, nearly a half million babies in the U.S. – one of every eight – are born prematurely each year, and those who survive face an increased risk of lifelong health challenges. Those facts have profound economic implications. For example, according to one analysis, preterm and low birth weight births represent just 8 percent of all births, but 47 percent of the cost of all births.
Our country also faces a troubling racial disparity in infant mortality rates: African American babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as are white babies. Persistent racial and economic disparities contribute to our nation’s high infant mortality rates and preterm births, undermining the health and well-being of our children.
Only when all children have the same opportunity for a healthy start and when mothers, babies, children and families have the best possible support for their health and well-being can we, as a nation, say that we are thriving.
What We Support
WKKF supports national and community-based organizations in providing equitable maternal and child health services, conducting innovative research and developing and communicating best practices. Our aim is to improve birth outcomes, eliminate racial disparities in infant mortality, reduce low birth weight and preterm births and address the social determinants that affect maternal and child health.
We focus our resources on places where mothers and children face particularly tough challenges. Specifically, we support efforts to reduce the longstanding two-to-one disparity in infant mortality rates between African Americans and whites. We embrace a comprehensive approach focused on achieving developmental milestones that includes prenatal and perinatal care, access to children’s health care, home visiting programs and family and parenting resources.
We support organizations and communities that are addressing the social determinants of health and empowering mothers. And in all areas of maternal and child health, we promote healthy living opportunities.