The March of Dimes today launched the Innovation Fund, a venture philanthropy initiative that will invest donated funds in early-stage companies working to address the most pressing maternal and infant health challenges. As the leading organization fighting to improve mom and baby health, March of Dimes stays current on the latest scientific breakthroughs and emerging solutions to impact maternal and infant health through earlier diagnosis, new treatments for conditions during and after pregnancy, and ongoing mental and physical health support. With the Innovation Fund, March of Dimes will leverage this expertise to invest in companies with promising solutions to improve health outcomes and impact the lives of moms and babies now.
“With the maternal and infant health crisis at an all-time high in the U.S., launching the March of Dimes Innovation Fund will allow us to tap into and help guide the creative energy that can be found in startup companies,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “By funding companies focused on maternal and infant health, we’re aiming to bring new solutions to life and bring about the change needed to positively impact moms’ and babies’ lives.”
As a strategic investor, the organization’s active support provides the companies with assistance understanding maternal and infant health issues; helps extend their market reach by leveraging March of Dimes’ local teams who work with providers, payers and others; provides access to consumer and professional content that can be integrated into their platforms, and lends credibility through March of Dimes’ brand and reputation for advancing innovations to address maternal and infant health.
In collaboration with Redesign Health, a company that powers innovation in healthcare, March of Dimes explored start-up concepts to identify and invest in a purpose-built company that supports the ongoing health needs of women with the potential to impact pregnancy-related outcomes. As a result, Iron Health was chosen as the right fit for the first March of Dimes Innovation Fund investment. Iron Health is a tech-enabled, virtual care platform which complements OB-GYN care by providing access to other services that are critical to women’s health and healthy pregnancies.
"We're on a mission to close the current gaps in women’s healthcare by empowering OB-GYNs with the right resources to extend their latitude of care," said Stephanie Winans, CEO, Iron Health. “We are proud to partner with March of Dimes, a trusted champion for improving women’s health and pregnancy outcomes. Their partnership and deep focus on research, advocacy and innovation will help us achieve this mission, driving better health outcomes for more patients.”
March of Dimes has also established two external, volunteer committees to support the March of Dimes Innovation Fund. The Medical Science Committee will evaluate investment proposals based on scientific merit and market needs and will also contribute to March of Dimes’ knowledge base of need areas in maternal and infant health to help identify promising areas of investment. The Investment Committee will evaluate business plans, review market potential, provide investment expertise, assess potential return on investment, assist in developing terms of agreements and recommend investments of the Fund.
To celebrate the launch, March of Dimes is hosting a panel discussion on September 13, at 4:00 pm ET, which will feature experts in the field and volunteers who have provided their time, talent and funds to advance this effort. Speakers include:
- Stacey D. Stewart, March of Dimes President & CEO
- Sharon Mills Higgins, March of Dimes Board Chair
- Dr. Emre Seli, March of Dimes Chief Scientific Officer
- Dr. George Saade, Chair of the Innovation Fund Medical Science Committee
- Fred and Emma Goltz, Co-chairs of the Innovation Fund Investment Committee
- Dana and Shannon Martin, Members of the Innovation Fund Investment Committee
- Stephanie Winans, CEO of Iron Health
- Tiffany Aquino, March of Dimes Vice President, Innovation & Product Development
To register for the panel discussion, click here.
The March of Dimes Innovation Fund is the latest example of the organization’s commitment to fighting for the health of families today and tomorrow. The strategic investment fund is a new and innovative pathway March of Dimes has identified to positively impact maternal mortality, preterm birth and health equity, complementing the organization’s rich history and ongoing work in research, advocacy, programs and education.