Patrice Onwuka in Inside Sources: How Philanthropy Funds Success for Mothers

As Americans celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, Philanthropy Roundtable Adjunct Senior Fellow Patrice Onwuka addresses how philanthropy can help support mothers in need. In an op-ed published in Inside Sources entitled “Funding Success for Mothers,” Onwuka cites examples of organizations working to assist mothers with information, coaching and other tools, including temporary homes for babies and older children. 

Below are excerpts from the op-ed entitled “Funding Success for Mothers”: 

Motherhood — especially first-time motherhood — is intense and exciting. For some women, it is daunting. No one is fully prepared for every challenge presented during pregnancy, delivery and the first year of caring for a brand-new human being. While all mothers need help, especially in those early days, some women are uniquely ill-equipped, and others are sick or in economically unstable situations.

Thankfully, innovators and funders have pioneered solutions to help women overcome social, economic and health challenges when mothering. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we can reflect on the ways that the civil society provides a springboard — and safety net — for women as they leap into motherhood.

For a pregnant 17-year-old from Elmira, N.Y., who drank, smoke and was frequently in trouble with the law, the support she needed was not financial but emotional. During her pregnancy and after the baby’s birth, she was visited by a nurse who learned that the teen had been tortured as a child and was fearful she might hurt her baby. Both of them participated in David Olds’ nurse home visiting model, later called Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP).

Nurse-Family Partnership is credited with reductions in maternal and child mortality, better health outcomes, reductions in child abuse, and reductions in behavioral and criminal problems among children among other benefits. RAND researchers found that NFP’s net benefit to society was $34,148 (in 2003 dollars) per higher-risk family served, or $5.70 return for every dollar invested.

Philanthropic gifts often fund new ideas that government agencies are unwilling or unable to invest in for the long-term. However, once proven effective, government may scale those programs statewide and nationwide. The happy ending that the Elmira teen mom experienced is an example of what is possible when funding follows social risk-taking.”

Please continue reading “Funding Success for Mothers” at Inside Sources

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