FAQs about Every Mother Counts What is Every Mother Counts? Every Mother Counts is a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world. Every Mother Counts informs, engages, and mobilizes new audiences to take action to improve the health and well-‐being of girls and women worldwide. Who founded Every Mother Counts and why? EMC was founded by maternal health advocate and model Christy Turlington Burns in 2010. After suffering a complication following the delivery of her first child, Grace, in 2003, Burns learned about the shocking global statistics related to pregnancy and childbirth. Once she knew that hundreds of thousands of girls and women die from similar complications she committed herself to learning all she could so that she could contribute meaningfully to a cause she connected with so deeply. Soon after the birth of her second child, Christy returned to graduate school to pursue a Masters in public health, and began working on NO WOMAN, NO CRY, the documentary she directed and produced about the global state of maternal health from 2008-‐2010. Every Mother Counts was founded in 2010 after the completion of NO WOMAN, NO CRY in order to give audiences who were energized by the film a way to further engage on the issue. It started as a campaign in 2010 and then incorporated as an independent 501c3 organization in 2012. What is EMC’s goal? Our primary goal is to raise awareness about maternal health issues around the world and to encourage people to take action. We believe that actions speak the loudest and so we measure our success in raising awareness by how many people are so moved by the information that they choose to get involved. In 2012, we helped generate 5 million actions and hope to surpass this level in 2013. These actions can be anything from helping to spread the word, to showing up at an event, to purchasing a product that will help generate awareness and resources for programs around the world. People want to get involved and our job is to educate them and provide opportunities for them to contribute in meaningful ways. Why is EMC raising money? EMC initially started solely as an advocacy campaign. Our main objective was to raise awareness about maternal health and the barriers to care that women experience worldwide. We quickly realized that people didn’t want to just hear there was a
problem-‐ they wanted to get involved. And not just individuals, but companies and organizations wanted to provide support too. Rather than turn those investments and that energy away, we decided to broaden our mission. We began creating partnerships, generating resources and investing in effective programs around the world that allow us to be more directly involved in being part of the solution. We are committed to keeping those partnerships alive through regular storytelling on our blogs, videos, and other traditional and social media outlets about what those funds are doing and the impact they’re making in the lives of women around the world. What types of products can people purchase to raise funds for EMC? We partner with many different organizations including corporations, NGOs, and media partners to raise awareness. Some of these partnerships involve products you can purchase to help support EMC. For example, by downloading tracks from our Every Mother Counts/Starbucks compilation CDs or from ReverbNation, or purchasing fitness DVDs, scarves, maternity clothes, yoga classes, clothing, and more from our partners who donate a portion of the proceeds to Every Mother Counts, you can help support our mission. See http://everymothercounts.org/take-‐action/every-‐purchase-‐counts for the full, updated list. We’re always adding new partnerships so make sure you check back for the latest list. What does EMC do with funds raised through partnerships and events? EMC is funded through the generous support of the Gates Foundation, the Bloomberg Foundation, individual donors and through speaking fees donated by our founder, Christy Turlington Burns. EMC dedicates 100% of what we raise through product partnerships and events (including walks and marathons) are invested in programs around the world. We have established a small portfolio of grants with a global reach that address the barriers to maternal health. Current programs that we support include: supporting Commonsense Childbirth’s efforts to improve access to prenatal care and education in Florida, helping Baylor Uganda to provide women with vouchers for transportation to a health facility to deliver their baby, supporting the training of 15 midwifery students in Haiti through Midwives For Haiti and helping midwife Robin Lim to rebuild a clinic in Indonesia. How much have you raised so far? Since January 1, 2012, we’ve collected more than $1 million to be directed to programs. What countries are you working in?
The majority of our day-‐to-‐day advocacy work takes place largely in the U.S. amongst American audiences. However, we highlight maternal health challenges in every country through our website. Since becoming a 501 c 3 last year, we have been building a small portfolio that currently includes Uganda, Haiti, Indonesia and the US. What is the state of maternal health in the US? Maternal health is truly a problem we ALL share. Certainly there are parts of the world with higher burdens than others—99% of deaths take place in the developing world— but that does not mean the US is immune. The US, for example, ranks 50th in the world in terms of maternal health. That’s why we feel it’s important to communicate about how universal maternal health problems are and reflect that sentiment in the variety of programs we support. . How do you decide which countries to focus on? The countries and locations we’re focusing on now carry some of the highest burdens in terms of maternal mortality. We work in partnership with local organizations to address barriers that prevent mothers from getting the critical care they need to insure a safe delivery. With that said, since this is a global tragedy, we want to support vulnerable moms wherever they are. What else can people do besides raise or donate funds? Every Mother Counts is measuring its success based on the number of people we reach who are inspired enough by our message that they want to get involved. That may be through raising money, but it also might be through raising their voices or walking a 5k. We say Every Action Counts and we mean it. Every month, we present new opportunities for our supporters to take action and get involved in our mission to reduce preventable maternal deaths. We maintain an active ‘Take Action’ page as a clearinghouse for ways you can get involved. There are ways to use your voice (sharing on Facebook, writing a blog), ways to get actively involved using your own time and energy (by volunteering, signing a petition, walking or running with us or collecting used cell phones) and ways to raise resources by buying a product or fundraising. You can also get involved by getting informed and for those interested, we offer a series of education modules that target challenges and solutions we’re facing. We are always looking for new avenues for people to engage that don’t require economic resources. Bottom line, we believe everyone has their own unique set of skills and resources to contribute. We’d love to work with you to figure out how you can use yours. We’ve had an artist paint pictures and auction them off. We’ve had writers use their platforms to write about these issues. We’ve had runners dedicate their miles to us too. Every
Action Counts and we’re grateful to everyone in our Every Mother Counts community for showing us new ways to get involved. We hope that our actions as a community will send a message that larger scale change is needed and possible. Ultimately, we need to change policies in the U.S. and abroad to support women and that’s going to take real advocacy. We stand committed to working with our partners on these efforts when the time comes to support specific policies and legislation, but for right now, our goal is to build a community of people similarly motivated to take at least one step in support, then another and another. Can I volunteer for EMC? We’d love to have every single one of you who want to volunteer march over to our office, roll up your sleeves and get involved. While we don’t always have jobs to hand off to volunteers, we are eager to help match volunteers with the right outlets. We try to keep abreast of opportunities through some of our favorite partners and have compiled a list here (http://www.everymothercounts.org/take-‐action/volunteer-‐ opportunities-‐here-‐and-‐abroad). If you have other ideas to share please let us know. We do bring on interns in our New York and Boston office fairly regularly so if you are a student interested in an internship, make sure to send your info to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Does EMC endorse any candidates or specific political party? No. EMC is strictly nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates or political parties. We firmly believe that keeping our mothers safe is not a political issue, but can be one that all parties can unite upon.
Published on Jun 5, 2013