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We are excited to announce our 1st 2022 Spring Grant Recipient!

Thanks to our generous Legacy Giving Circle donor community, Haven for Birth is receiving a $25,000 grant towards their Doula Care and Childbirth Education for BIPOC/LGBTQ Birthers Program in Sacramento, CA!

Initiative Description: Systemic racism takes an astonishing variety of forms in America.

Haven is a birth justice program that directly challenges long standing racial and social inequalities surrounding childbirth. Haven is a women-led 501c3 non-profit incorporated in July 2020 in the State of California.

Its mission is to address the discrepancy in maternal mortality and morbidity across race, and to safely reduce harmful risks to BIPOC birthers and their babies during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period in Sacramento.

Here is a broad sample of these persistent discrepancies:

African American birthers have 2-5 times the risk of death during childbirth compared to their Caucasian counterparts. They are also 2-4 times more likely to suffer from severe disability from childbirth.

Even when adjusted for risk, African American people are subjected to more medical interventions, procedures and surgeries than Caucasian birthers.

Black birthers in America are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after giving delivering their babies and as a group, they have the worst maternal outcomes.

Haven’s solution is to provide culturally appropriate and continuous doula care for pregnant people without the resources to pay for it. The scope of the doula care is listed on an attached PDF and is a tremendously effective method for direct action in the hospital. Advocating for clients while de-escalating the medical staff at appropriate times lead to better outcomes.

In Sacramento there are no other doula groups that provide comprehensive doula care on a sliding fee scale. It is possible that Haven is the only organization in the country that provides comprehensive doula services (including pre and postpartum mental health counseling) on a sliding fee scale.

We also will create inclusive birth education classes for BIPOC and LGBTQ birthers to prepare for and mitigate biases they will encounter during the childbirth process. BIPOC and LGBTQ birthers in Sacramento currently drive 90-120 miles each week to attend childbirth education classes in Oakland and San Jose. Providing these classes in Sacramento will increase access for people unable to travel or afford them in other cities. These classes will help to improve Haven’s birth outcomes while creating local networks of strength and support within Sacramento.

Initiative Impact: Our proposal requesting $25,000 will cover the expenses for continuous, comprehensive doula care for 26 births at $500.00 each from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. The tasks involved with providing these services are listed on the attached PDF.

To provide more inclusive support, Haven will also create and cover expenses for childbirth education classes specifically for BIPOC and/or LGBTQ families. A combined total of 48 BIPOC and/or LGBTQ families will receive specific childbirth education and training from July 1, 2022 through June 30 2023. Classes will be 15 hours in total over several weeks and cost $250.00 to complete.

These proposed classes will address biases they are likely to encounter, and the history of these biases. Educating birthers with this information will prepare them for a variety of unexpected scenarios and how to manage them. It will be a step towards breaking the cycle of systemic racial and social inequality in the delivery room and maternity wards, and will help to improve outcome methods by increasing determination and resolve during childbirth.

Our specific, measurable outcomes are: the numbers and specific types and number of medical procedures performed during labor, admissions to the NICU, the gestational age of baby at birth, baby’s birth weight, incidence and severity of disability after childbirth, and length of time breastfeeding. We pay close attention to c-section rate, which is an overall indicator of the treatment people receive in the hospital. We also record micro aggressions which can have long term traumatic repercussions. Stories around this outcome measure are at times difficult and surprising.

Initiative Sustainability:  Haven was born in July 2020 to support at risk families during the perinatal period. In response to the heartbreaking statistics for the BIPOC community we provided full-spectrum doula care to more than 50 families. Our statistics are significantly lower than national average interventions, including inductions, c sections and decreased NICU times.

Our doulas are from varied racial and social backgrounds and have so far committed to volunteering their time without compensation. The demand for our services is greater than the ability for us to provide it to the community. Our non-profit is potentially moving to the next phase of business where our doulas can be paid for the generous services they provide.

The sustainability of Haven after potential funding by the Legacy Collective will not be diminished after the grant has ended.  Haven also receives income from clients that pay for our services, an insurance company that reimburses us for our services, from generous donations from individuals and corporations, and from some in-store sales.

This income has allowed us to pay our rent, bills and to continue to provide our services. Funding from the Legacy Collective will support us as we continue to grow into the next phase of our work- reimbursement to the doulas. This grant will specifically reimburse doulas for attending births of the BIPOC and LGBTQ community without the means to pay for our services. It will also reimburse doulas for teaching inclusive birth education classes.

Once we have created these birthing education classes by July 2022, it will continue to be a part of the services that Haven offers routinely throughout the year.