The March of Dimes advocacy agenda focuses on public policies and programs that relate to the Foundation's mission — improving the health of infants and children by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality — and on issues that pertain to tax-exempt organizations. Where appropriate, advocacy initiatives are designed to support the March of Dimes priority that racial and ethnic health disparities be reduced or eliminated. Issues are organized into the four general categories listed below with specific examples cited for each category. An asterisk indicates that the issue is a Foundation-wide advocacy priority for the year 2013. Federal advocacy on any issues listed may also require participation by chapters.
Access to health care for women of childbearing age, infants and children
Research to prevent prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality
Prevention and treatment to improve maternal, infant and child health
Institutional concerns for tax-exempt organizations
The March of Dimes is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3), which defines us a charity, meaning that we are exempt from federal income tax and donations to us are tax-deductible for the donors.
This designation stipulates that as a tax-exempt organization, we must be nonpartisan, so we cannot ever endorse a particular politician or political party. And it means our lobbying must be "minimal" - meaning that resources devoted to it are constrained. As long as we stay within that framework, the law and regulations provide that we may lobby at all levels of government.
Yes, the March of Dimes takes advantage of the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates and other incentives offered by the U.S. Postal Service. So we are closely following the currently proposed 4 to 6 percent increase in these rates. If allowed to go into effect, this would substantially increase mailing costs for the March of Dimes as well as other nonprofit organizations.
In 1945, U.S. Representative Ralph H. Daughton of Virginia introduced H.R. 4790 to create a dime "bearing the likeness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt." The dime was chosen due to the significance of President Roosevelt asking the public to send a dime for research to stop the incidence of polio and to aid victims of the disease. Following passage in both the House and the Senate, President Truman signed the legislation into law. The first Roosevelt dime was minted in 1946.