about the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery
The Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery (FAM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization seeking to improve maternal and child health by funding projects that advance midwifery as the gold standard for North American maternity care through research, public education, advocacy, and health equity initiatives.
Access to respectful and culturally appropriate maternity care from community-based midwives is available to all families and recognized as a human right.
In pursuit of our mission and vision, FAM is committed to these core values:
We respect the impact of childbearing on individuals, families, and communities and recognize midwives as essential to preserving and reclaiming the sanctity of birth.
Equity and Social Justice
We commit to funding grants that confront the intersecting social, racial, and economic factors, which result in severe disparities in maternal and child health outcomes.
We acknowledge the diverse backgrounds of midwives, birthing families, ourselves, and our collaborators. Our best work necessitates inclusiveness within race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, income, ability, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, family structure, citizenship status, and other characteristics of being human.
We support advocacy as a tool to dismantle institutional barriers to midwifery care and to effect tangible policy and regulatory changes.
Education & Research
We recognize that transforming maternity care systems requires sustained investment in high quality research and public education about midwifery care and its outcomes.
We commit to the responsible stewardship of funds entrusted to us by donors.
We honor the participation of our donors, volunteers, grantees, partners, and allies whose myriad contributions have impacted families and maternity care systems.
History and Milestones
The Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery (FAM) was founded in 2003. Since its inception, FAM has granted funding to more than 40 organizations representing projects and programs across North America including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Indigenous Nations, and Guatemala. Projects have also been funded that benefit the international community in Haiti and Northern Uganda through MamaBaby Haiti and Mother Health International respectively. Programs and projects funded include critical research on the midwifery model of care, training programs for those serving vulnerable populations of birthing women, public education campaigns targeting consumers, students, and policy makers; and capacity building for midwifery education and licensing organizations. See Projects Funded for more information.
The FAM board consists of dedicated stakeholders made up of consumers, midwives, midwifery students, and advocates for the midwifery model of care. In 2009, the FAM board hired its first Executive Director to meet increased funding demands, continue the growth of the foundation’s program support, and raise the foundations voice within the maternal and child health community.
To this end, in 2010 FAM joined the Women’s Funding Network, a consortium of global women’s funds, and in 2011 FAM joined Grantmakers in Health, a consortium of health funders. Recognizing the need for similar consortiums that support the midwifery model of care, FAM partnered with the Transforming Birth Fund, Every Mother Counts, Central New York Community Foundation, and Groundswell to create the Midwifery Funders Group (MFC). MFC has since grown to include Foundations new to midwifery philanthropy. This informal consortium of foundations come together as a supportive network desiring to increase awareness of the midwifery model of care and how access to this model, and midwives in all settings, is a valuable asset to improving maternal and child health.
FAM launched a new grant-making fund called the Birth Trust in 2010. The donors to this trust became known as Birth Trustees. Birth Trustees are donors who give the equivalent of $20 or more per month to FAM. Using this collective process, the board presents to the Birth Trustees a prescreened docket of projects, and the Birth Trustees participate in the process of selecting projects that receive funding.
In 2012, during one of its most successful fundraising years to date, FAM was honored to have Crosby, Stills and Nash donate concert proceed to FAM and its work to bring midwifery care to more women. FAM is determined to give voice to birth equity in the United States.
FAM is well aware of the statistics that were published by the International Center for Traditional Childbearing, the International Cesarean Awareness Network, the Midwives Alliance of North America, and Elephant Circle highlighting the racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and child health, as well as birth outcomes. FAM made a commitment this year, 2017, to do more by creating its first purpose driven online fundraising campaign, Giving Voice to Birth Equity in the USA, to raise funds for programs and projects that promote health equity by using midwifery to increase resilience, decrease vulnerability, and create career pathways that lead to self-sufficiency in underrepresented communities.
During 2017 FAM also intends to introduce a new program for student midwives. The FAM Student Ambassador Program. FAM Student Ambassadors (FSA’s) are volunteers who act as a liaison between their community and the FAM. Student Ambassadors promote FAM’s mission and vision while advocating for the midwifery model of care as a solution to help improve maternal health in North America. FSA’s also inform FAM of important news and events that impact midwifery and midwifery education within their communities and school settings.
FAM believes in strengthening partnerships and supporting collaborations that invest in midwifery and achieves this objective through its work with the Midwifery Funders Group (MFG). MFG is an informal consortium of private foundations working together to improve maternal health and maternity health care by using its collective voices in support of midwifery as a viable solution. The group is dedicated to increasing the visibility of midwifery care among its peers in the grant making arena.
In 2017, FAM made the commitment to do more to decrease birth inequities and disparities in communities of color. The organization created its first purpose driven online fundraising campaign, Giving Voice to Birth Equity in the USA, to raise funds for programs and projects that promote health equity by using midwifery to increase resilience, decrease vulnerability, and create career pathways that lead to self-sufficiency in underrepresented communities.