Advocacy and Government Affairs issues and advocacy priorities

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

  • Federal and state policies to improve access to health services under:
    a. publicly supported health coverage programs such as Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), including Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation and coverage of pregnant women under CHIP; and
    b. private insurance, including issues related to Exchanges and essential health benefits.*
  • Development and use of perinatal and pediatric quality measures, including those related to reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks.*
  • Initiatives to improve the health of infants and children living with birth defects and health problems associated with preterm birth, including Title V.*
  • Federal and state initiatives to improve maternal and child health care, and strong standards to protect patient privacy.

Research to prevent prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality

  • Birth defects surveillance and research at the state, federal and international levels.*
  • Data collection and research funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other Federal agencies to increase knowledge relating to the prevention of birth defects, prematurity and infant mortality.

Prevention and treatment to improve maternal, infant and child health

  • Smoking, alcohol and substance abuse prevention and cessation initiatives affecting women of childbearing age and children.*
  • Health education and promotion for patients, families and providers regarding healthy pregnancy, including folic acid and preconception care.*
  • Programs to immunize women of childbearing age, infants and children; efforts to eradicate polio worldwide; and research to develop new vaccines.*
  • Initiatives to improve prematurity risk detection and pregnancy management.*
  • Federal and state initiatives to expand newborn screening, consistent with the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, as well as treatment of disorders identified through screening.*
  • Food and nutrition research, education and services, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
  • Initiatives to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
  • Programs to reduce exposure to environmental and reproductive hazards associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy.

Institutional concerns for tax-exempt organizations

  • Federal and state laws and regulations related to tax-exempt organizations.*
  • Tax treatment of charitable contributions.*
  • Postal reform and rate changes.

    See also: Data Book for Policy Makers

Most common questions

Are charities allowed to lobby?

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.

If the price of stamps goes up, does this affect the March of Dimes?

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.

When was FDR’s profile put on the dime?

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.

©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).