Tell us a little bit about how you got into the non-profit sector and what brought you to the March of Dimes. What is your current role and scope within the organization?

My name is Michelle Clark and I am a Development Manager with the March of Dimes Rhode Island/Southeastern Massachusetts Market.  I have been with the March of Dimes for 3 years, but my March of Dimes story started 10 years ago when my daughter Lila was born 3 months early.  The mission of the March of Dimes touched me as I sat scared and unsure how my daughter’s story would go when I was told she would be delivered at 31 weeks.  When it came time for me to return to the workforce after spending time at home with my children I was excited to help move the mission of the March of Dimes forward.

Tell us a little bit about March of Dimes and why their mission is so important.

The March of Dimes helps moms, babies and families by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Our work involves constant collaboration to develop innovative breakthroughs that fight these problems at their source and in your community. This is crucial at our March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers, scientific hubs where lifesaving research is funded and shared across centers, disciplines and even state lines. Together we’re finding answers that will help moms and babies today, tomorrow and in the future.

In Rhode Island, more than 10,900 babies are born every year, and the work of the March of Dimes touches each one of them, whether they are born healthy, prematurely, with a birth defect or other health complications.

Each year in Rhode Island:

  • 947 babies are born preterm — that’s 1 in 12 babies born too soon.
  • 333 babies are born with a birth defect.
  • 70 babies die before reaching their first birthday.
  • Prematurity and birth defects are the leading causes of infant mortality.
  • The medical and societal cost of preterm birth is $49 million.

What are the major recurring events that happen yearly with the March of Dimes?

March for Babies Rhode Island is held in Bristol will be held on April 28, 2018 at Colt State Park and March for Babies Southeast will be held at UMass Dartmouth in the spring and will be another area for families and companies to come together to hope, remember and celebrate.  Together we celebrate every story as we walk in the footsteps of NICU graduates and their families.

Meet at the Family Fun Zone and the Superhero Sprint — we supply the purple capes to make every kid feel like a hero.  We bring hope to every mom and baby through lifesaving research, breakthroughs and programs.

Mission Moments let you experience some of what babies, parents, doctors and nurses see and feel in hospitals every day.  As we walk, we honor the babies we lost to remember how much they mean to us and support one another. Get inspired when you see their names along Memory Mile and honor them in the Memory Garden.  As we walk, we honor the babies we lost to remember how much they mean to us and support one another. Get inspired when you see their names along Memory Mile and honor them in the Memory Garden.

Signature Chefs Auction brings over 25 of the best local chefs to a culinary extravaganza.  Guests will also bid on a unique assortment of live and silent auction packages including experiences with the chefs, entertainment and travel, and will have the opportunity to contribute to the very special Fund the Mission initiative – all to benefit the March of Dimes mission to give all babies a healthy start.

Do you have a focus or new initiative (s) that will be put in place during the coming year?

The March of Dimes will be celebrating our 80th Anniversary in 2018.  At March of Dimes, we help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. If something goes wrong, we educate NICU families and staff to improve the NICU experience. We also research the problems that threaten our babies to work on preventing them and advocate for maternal child health at the state and federal levels.  March of Dimes is a national and worldwide leader in neonatal patient experience and family-centered care.  We are an important player in public health through programs, advocacy, grants, and research.

Can you tell us a bit about your ambassador family program and some current/future families that will be part of it?

This year we have two Ambassador Families: The Lebeau Family and The McNally Family who share their stories on behalf of the March of Dimes.

How can individuals, especially millennials get involved and further support your powerful mission? What is the current presence in Rhode Island?

Volunteering with the March of Dimes can take on many different faces.  We have so many opportunities for people to get involved with, from being involved with our Board of Directors, or helping out with our events, to hosting third party events to help raise funds and awareness.  We would love the opportunity to speak with anyone interested in learning more about the March of Dimes to find out what way might be the most mutually beneficial way for involvement.

What major approaches is The March of Dimes taking to drive education around prematurity and how moms can have a healthy full term babies. What methods have been the most effective?

The March of Dimes helps moms, babies and families by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Our work involves constant collaboration to develop innovative breakthroughs that fight these problems at their source and in your community. This is crucial at our March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers, scientific hubs where lifesaving research is funded and shared across centers, disciplines and even state lines. Together we’re finding answers that will help moms and babies today, tomorrow and in the future.

Through community service, advocacy, research, education and support, we are changing the lives of moms, babies and families across the country and in your community.

In 2016, the March of Dimes invested nearly $20 million in research to understand, treat and prevent the serious health problems that threaten infants. The impact of this research improves the care of moms and babies in Rhode Island, throughout the United States and across the globe. Our work includes supporting five March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers, where teams of brilliant scientists and researchers are looking for answers and sharing discoveries to transform our understanding of the causes and prevention of preterm birth. You can learn more at prematurityresearch.org.

The March of Dimes helps women and families prepare for the healthiest possible pregnancy by providing the latest health information in English and Spanish. We communicate this information through our websites, printed materials, videos, social media, and personalized answers to questions via email and workplace programs.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click the above photo to learn more and join team Tough As Steele on behalf of March for Babies Ambassador Steele Montgomery Peverill

Michelle Clark is the Director of Operations for the March of Dimes in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts