The George Gund Foundation awarded more than $18 million at its November board meeting reflecting both increased giving in response to the pandemic and increased focus on the most pressing issues. Those issues – climate change, inequality, and racial injustice, and weakened democracy – are emphasized in the Foundation’s statement of What We Believe.
Moreover, the urban emphasis of their work stems from a belief that thriving cities are and will remain one of the nation’s best hopes for addressing essential issues. They invest in this place to build a sense of community—locally, nationally, and globally—that human progress requires. They commit to this for the long term, working alongside those who are making concrete progress. They also acknowledge; however, that the work is often propelled by the recognition that both Cleveland and any larger sense of community are threatened by powerful forces and divisive issues.
- $1,000,000 to Birthing Beautiful Communities to open a comprehensive birthing center in the Hough neighborhood to decrease the unacceptably high rates of maternal morbidity and infant mortality among Black women and babies in Cleveland by providing quality care that leads to healthy maternal and infant birth outcomes.
Birthing Beautiful Communities provides free neighborhood-based services including childbirth and parenting education, with workshops and classes on breastfeeding, stress relief, bonding with baby, co-parenting and healthy eating. BBC also offers perinatal support training to provide support for labor, delivery, and postpartum health including depression, family, life, and personal goal planning.
BBC’s services also address the social determinants that impact infant mortality. These include education and engagement, and systems change, systemic racism, Medicaid coverage, maternity and family leave, and comprehensive sex education. Since its founding, BBC has trained 26 perinatal support specialists and served over 500 womenl. Of those who completed all required Sisters Offering Support (SOS) Circle interventions, 92% had full-term pregnancies last year and an overall 99.8% infant survival rate. BBC receives funding from the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Cleveland Foundation.