The Elevance Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Elevance Health, Inc., announced the expansion of its maternal and child health grants through an additional $1.6 million in awards. Each grant will address maternal and child health, focusing on one of the following themes: mental health, access to care, high-touch support, and health-related social needs.
This second phase of maternal and child health grants are a part of the $30 million the Foundation plans to invest through July 2024 to make significant progress on improving maternal and child health outcomes. This round of grants brings the total awards to date to more than $18 million.
Despite being one of the wealthiest developed countries, the U.S. maternal mortality rate is double that of most other high-income countries. What’s more, Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy and birth-related causes than White women. Additionally, rates of premature births have steadily increased since 2014—the U.S. preterm birthrate increased to 10.5% in 2021, a 4% increase from 2020. Of those births, Black and Native American women are 62% more likely to have a preterm birth and their babies are twice as likely to die compared to White women.
“With a purpose of improving the health of humanity, the Elevance Health Foundation is a key pillar in helping us advance health equity, especially when it comes to maternal and child health," said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer of Elevance Health. "We’re beginning to see early results from our first phase of maternal health grantees, which further fuels our mission to eliminate health inequities. Our Foundation’s grants are addressing key social drivers of health – such as where someone lives, economic stability, ethnic background, and more – to ensure that every pregnant woman and child has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”
The new maternal and child health grantees join 18 organizations awarded last year who have already begun seeing early clinical outcomes. As of December 2022, 474 babies have been born as part of the Foundation’s grant programs, of which 445 were born full term; this is a 6.1% preterm birth rate, which is lower than the national 10.5% average. Other grantees have seen an increase in the number of maternal health providers, especially screening and support for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
“This funding has allowed us to approach our work in new ways," said Mandolin Restivo, Executive Director of Postpartum Support Virginia, an organization the Foundation awarded funding to last year. "Heading into year two of this grant, we have already been able to triple the number of healthcare providers we have trained and have developed new strategies for providing services to those affected by maternal mental health issues.”
Second Phase Grants: Maternal and Child Health
- Cincinnati Children’s (Cradle Cincinnati)
- Community Health Center of Richmond
- Episcopal Health Services
- Expecting Relief
- Healthy Birth Day
- Hocking-Athens Perry Community Action
- Merrick House
- The Up Center