We build women’s collective power in the U.S.

April 6, 2023

Grantee Partner Spotlight: Equity Before Birth

by Liat Fleming-Rosko

The Ms. Foundation is proud to support our grantee partners, who are at the forefront of organizing and creating solutions that improve people’s lives and bring us closer to achieving a true democracy. The insight and perspective they provide is invaluable. The Q&A below was generated by Liat Fleming-Rosko, the Donor and Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for Equity Before Birth

Equity Before Birth’s mission is to save the lives of Black and Brown birthing people by increasing access to critical services and support. The organization is pioneering an innovative approach to fill critical gaps and bring pre-existing silos together to wrap Black families in support. Equity Before Birth is a Birth Justice Initiative grantee partner.

What brought you to this work?  

Our team was serendipitously brought to our organization for various reasons, but each of us was drawn to the work because of our personal experiences as mothers, birth workers, maternal health advocates, and champions for more equitable systems. 

How do you connect/collaborate in your community? Who are your key partners?

We keep our ears to the ground around key topics and needs. All feedback from BIPOC birthing people is relevant to our work. Key partners include Black doulas, Black midwives, Black Lactation Consultants, and BIPOC therapists in our community. Our work is community-rooted, and the families we serve are the center of all that we do. 

What are you learning or what are you teaching? 

We are learning how to best serve our community and how to best advocate for the families we serve. We are also learning what it means to be unapologetic about our methods and target population when our model is atypical for charities and philanthropy. 

Tell us about a recent victory or something you’re proud of.

We are very proud that we’ve been able to serve over 140 families in under two years. We are filling a major gap in our community, and working to ensure our support services are effective. 

What can philanthropy do better and/or how can individuals be helpful allies?

Philanthropists and funders can ask community-led and-rooted organizations what support we need and use that to inform funding opportunities. Let leaders of color lead the charge when implementing racial equity initiatives. Truly invest in capacity and infrastructure building to allow us to be competitive with more affluent, longstanding organizations. Funds for software, benefits, retirement, and other technology are also very helpful. Building genuine relationships and trust-based philanthropy are integral to interrupting and changing systemic inequities. 

What gives you hope?

We are extremely hopeful and energized by the number of organizations, entities, funders and individuals who are listening and committing to helping community organizations address the maternal health crisis. We believe that everyone plays a role in improving birth outcomes.