With the National Center for Health Statistics reporting that the maternal mortality rate for Black women is roughly two times the rate of their white counterparts, BirthFUND is on a mission to change the narrative.

Created by award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Elaine Welteroth, the BirthFUND program has raised a total of more than $1.2 million and is working toward its mission to provide “a direct solution to combat the maternal health crisis by raising funds and awareness for midwifery care.”

“Every day, I am motivated to make a difference on this issue because of the unfathomable loss of life too many families experience during and after childbirth in this country and all across the world,” Welteroth told AFROTECH™. “The preventable deaths of mothers like April Valentine and Kira Johnson — both due to gross medical negligence — are constant reminders to me of the urgency and importance of this issue. The devastating reality is that they could have been me or any number of my friends. These stories and statistics are tragic, but we don’t have to accept this as our reality, especially in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We can fix this. If we prioritize this issue and invest resources into proven pathways to safer births, like midwifery care, we can end the maternal mortality crisis in our lifetime.”


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As AFROTECH™ previously reported, Welteroth created BirthFUND alongside notable investors, including Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, singer Kelly Rowland, and models Ashley Graham and Karlie Kloss.

“One of our advisors, Charles Johnson, who tragically lost his beautiful wife Kira after a routine C-section at Cedars-Sinai hospital, has set an ambitious goal of getting America to zero preventable maternal mortality rate by the year 2030,” Welteroth explained. “BirthFUND is working alongside him and a number of partners to help make that reality possible.”

Welteroth notes that, despite all of the current efforts and support from her fellow celebrity friends, BirthFUND can only succeed with the backing of lawmakers and private sector leaders who have the power to enact change that could prevent women from losing their lives during childbirth.

“To realize and sustain that kind of impact at scale, we need the partnership of lawmakers and leaders across the private sector to prioritize systemic change,” Welteroth said. “I truly believe laws don’t change until the culture changes, so one of the ways birthFUND will fuel systemic change is by elevating this issue on the cultural agenda. We are leveraging celebrity support and corporate dollars to help rally the community to invest in solutions to this crisis in real time. The groundswell of support and media attention on this issue will continue to put pressure on the mechanisms responsible for systemic change. We are done waiting for someone else to fix this. It’s on us to save us.”

Financial institution SoFi — BirthFUND’s inaugural impact partner — recently contributed $500,000, which included $10,000 in cash to each of the inaugural families who have been selected to receive support from BirthFUND, to continue highlighting the intersection of healthcare and finances.

Additionally, SoFi will support the families with access to a financial advisor and a financial literacy guide set to help their children use monetary resources from the newborn stage through college.

“We can’t ignore that the maternal mortality crisis intersects with an ongoing economic crisis facing many families in this country,” Welteroth said. “Starting a family is often one of life’s biggest expenses, and too many people feel they can’t even afford to start a family — let alone the maternal healthcare costs. We want to ensure that financial constraints do not hinder anyone’s ambition to expand their family or secure safe maternal healthcare.”