March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, today announced a new partnership with the New York Liberty for the 2022 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) season. As the Liberty’s first official nonprofit partner since its move to Brooklyn in 2021, the organizations will work together to raise awareness of the maternal and infant health crisis which disproportionately impacts communities of color.
“The leadership and players at the Liberty are incredible role models and like us, deeply concerned about the improving health outcomes for moms and babies in their community, as well as the country,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “Through this partnership, we believe that we can amplify our voice, expand our support and make real change toward changing the course of the maternal and infant health crisis.”
The U.S. is among the most dangerous developed nations in which to give birth – particularly for communities of color. Despite fewer preterm births and a continued decline in infant deaths nationwide, maternal deaths and women suffering from severe health complications due to pregnancy are continuing to rise. More than 700 women in the U.S. die from pregnancy-related causes each year and over the last 30 years these deaths have more than doubled. In New York City, the preterm birth rate stands at 9.1%, earning the state a B grade on the latest March of Dimes Report Card. Across the state, the preterm birth rate among Black women is 52% higher than the rate for all other women.
“As a league that is 80 percent Black and many that are mothers, it’s imperative that the New York Liberty collaborate with organizations who are doing the work to protect women and babies, especially those who are disproportionately affected by health issues,” said Liberty CEO Keia Clarke. “Through this partnership, our goal is to raise awareness through accessible education and galvanize our communities to advance the March of Dimes mission of preventing childbirth related deaths.”
As part of the partnership, the Liberty will air March of Dimes’ latest PSA, “Unspoken,” during home games at Barclays Center all season. The PSA highlights diverse family stories in an effort to raise greater awareness of the maternal and infant health crisis. On May 15, March of Dimes will participate in Women’s Health Night where the organization will highlight their recent maternal health work in the region. March of Dimes also looks forward to hosting a Takeover Game later this summer, where the Liberty will recognize March of Dimes volunteers who work so hard to a support its mission. Additionally, the partnership will expand beyond game days, offering fans both in-person and virtual experiences throughout the season to support moms and babies in New York.
The opportunity further allows March of Dimes to reach new audiences to advance its mission nationwide through research, education, advocacy and programs.