Developing Families Center Announces Key Investments Towards Maternal Health Efforts in The District

The Developing Families Center (DFC) announced its inaugural investment of $6.5 million dollars to support accelerated maternal health efforts for women of color in the District. This comes as DFC fully shifts into becoming a foundational organization that supports maternal health education and advocacy initiatives powered by community-based organizations. Of the total grant funds, $1.5 million will be awarded to seven nonprofits who DFC recognizes as their 2023 Catalytic Funding Awardees. Additionally, in partnership with the Greater Washington Community Foundation (The Community Foundation), DFC has launched the Developing Families Maternal Health Fund, a $5 million-dollar investment supporting life-saving maternal health efforts.

As maternal and infant mortality rates in DC remain as one of the highest across the country, DFC seeks to turn the tide by investing in community-based organizations within Wards 5, 7 and 8, where women of color continue to experience health disparities and face socioeconomic and structural challenges when it comes to accessing affordable and quality maternal care.

“The nation’s capital remains in crisis when it comes to maternal health as Black women not only account for 90% of all-pregnancy related deaths in DC, but the implicit bias regarding health disparities, when it comes to Black and Brown women, remains,” says DFC Executive Director Ruth Pollard. “Through our funding efforts, we are able to support the advancement of accessible, quality and equitable maternal health programs, services and initiatives – giving women of color and their families a brighter outlook.”

In the District, where maternal health disparities are glaring and pose a threat to women of color, each of DFC’s Catalytic Funding Awardee will be able to expand existing maternal health services including the integration of mental health services and education initiatives that aim for positive outcomes. DFC commemorated the moment at their Accelerating Maternal Health for Women of Color luncheon, in which they recognized this year’s Catalytic Funding Awardees:

  • Community of Hope
  • The Edward C. Mazique Parent and Child Center
  • Mamatoto Village
  • National Association to Advance Black Birth
  • The George Washington University Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health
  •  The District of Columbia Hospital Association Program Services Company
  • Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas

“Our investment in our community-based organization is about more than the health care needs and rights for women of color in the District,” says DFC’s Board of Directors Chair Andrea Miano. “It’s about learning from the communities directly affected by these disparities and the frontline organizations providing maternal health services, and acting with evidence-based, strategic
intention to close the gaps.”

Founded in 1994 by Dr. Ruth Lubic, a pioneer in the American nurse-midwifery movement, DFC was created to address the devastating decline of maternal and infant health care in the District. For decades, DFC has engaged in work that empowers women of color and promotes collective well-being through primary care, maternal and newborn care, social services, and early childhood development services. As a foundation, DFC aims to be an accelerator of resources to organizations whose focus is maternal health equity for women of color in the District.

As a foundation, Developing Families Center (DFC) partners with and accelerates organizations whose mission is to improve maternal health for women of color in the District of Columbia. By investing and putting resources where they are needed most, community engagement and advocacy efforts, DFC serves as a catalyst in positively impacting maternal health outcomes.