All About birthFUND, Elaine Welteroth’s Celebrity-Backed Midwifery Initiative

All About birthFUND, Elaine Welteroth’s Celebrity-Backed Midwifery Initiative featured image
Getty Images / Emma McIntyre / Staff

Numerous celebrities have turned to social media to spread awareness and increase funding for birthFUND, a newly launched initiative spearheaded by journalist, editor, and author Elaine Welteroth.

Welteroth announced birthFUND’s launch via an Instagram post on Thursday, April 11. “Two years ago almost to the day, I gave birth to my biggest 9-pound blessing. Now, two years later, during #BlackMaternalHealthWeek I am giving birth to my next best labor of love: meet @birthFUND,” she wrote.

In the post, Welteroth went on to inform her nearly one million Instagram followers that the “U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in all of the Western world.” Deeply disturbed by this information, she initiated an Instagram fundraiser for her birthday this past December. The fundraiser “raised enough money to cover the cost of birth care for not one but two families in just 16 hours.”

Encouraged by the tremendous response, she reached out to “friends, corporate partners and beloved birth workers who formed a powerful founding funding circle,” Welteroth continued. “We are creating a safety net of resources for families across the country to expand immediate access to quality, life-saving maternal health care.”

Among the notable individuals involved are Serena Williams, Ashley Graham and Kelly Rowland, who serve as the organization’s founding funders. However, the initiative extends beyond celebrity donations, with Welteroth emphasizing the importance of community involvement. BirthFUND matches “individual funders with families in need of quality midwifery care and birth support across the country through an ‘each one reach one’ community care model,” the post continues. “Anyone can give. No amount is too small.”

You can get involved via the birthFUND website, where you can donate, join the birthFUND community by subscribing to its newsletter, or follow along on social media.

In an interview with Black Love, Elaine dove a bit deeper into her inspiration for starting birthFund. “After a series of eye-opening encounters with the maternal health system and a life-changing home birth experience with the midwives at Kindred Space L.A., I committed myself to raising awareness about the urgent need to create more access to midwifery care by sharing my story and relentlessly advocating for policy change,” she told the outlet.

“We’re done waiting for these systems to change,” she continued. “We’re stepping in where the systems won’t. Because it’s on us to save us. But we can’t do this work alone. Our potential collective impact is far greater than anything we could ever do on our own.” 

“This is more than a labor of love, it’s part of my calling,” Elaine told Black Love. “And I couldn’t be more excited to invite you to join me.”

Eager to learn more? Black Love reports that Welteroth will appear on “The Mama’s Den” podcast on Monday, April 15. During the episode, she’ll elaborate on birthFUND’s founding story and discuss the pressing nature of the nation’s birth crisis, and its disproportionate impact on Black mothers.

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