With Our Mindson JusticeBIRTH JUSTICE FUND

The United States spends more than any other nationin the Global North on childbirth, yet consistently hasthe worst outcomes—higher rates of injury and deathfor birthing parents and babies, and higher likelihood ofhealth disparities, such as low birth weight.According to the CDC, Black and Indigenous womenare two to three times more likely to die frompregnancy-related causes than are white women, eventhough most pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S.are preventable. There is virtually no research on thebirthing outcomes of transgender and queer-identifiedparents and their babies.Groundswell Fund’s BIRTH JUSTICE FUNDaims to eliminate disparities in pregnancy,birth, and postpartum outcomes andexperiences of communities of color, lowincome communities, young people, andqueer and transgender people by expandingaccess to midwifery and doula care.2With Our Minds on Justice

Birth Justice Approachesto Improving PerinatalWellbeing & Mental Health“In order to center the child we mustfirst center the parent.”— ANCIENT SONG DOULA SERVICES (BROOKLYN, NY)In 2021, Groundswell Fund’s Birth Justice Fund and Catalyst Fund forReproductive Justice resourced 34 Black, Indigenous and People of Colororganizations to support the mental health and wellbeing of birthingpeople of color and their babies. Of those organizations, 47% were Black-led,28% were Indigenous-led, 17% were Latinx-led, and 8% were led by transgender andgender-expansive communities. Located nationally, across 22 states and Tribalterritories across North America, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, these vanguardorganizations provide an answer to the U.S. maternal health crisis.They advance the following strategies:Innovative Modelsworking to increase access to transformative high-quality, costeffective care led by midwives, doulas and other birthworkers of colorto improve experiences and outcomes for pregnant, birthing andpostpartum people of color.Building the Pipeline of Birth Workers of Colorreclaiming traditional birth knowledge and training the next generationof midwives, doulas and other birth workers of color.Organizing and Advocacy for Systemic Changeorganizing for social justice and community-based solutions to improveoutcomes and access for birthing people of color and their babies.Groundswell’s Birth Justice Fund3

80%of grantees focus onmental health supportfor pregnant peopleand new aMichiganOhioNew JerseyPennsylvaniaColoradoNewMexicoCaliforniaNew iLouisianaFloridaAlaskaPuerto RicoStates withBirth Justice Grantees24%of grantees arebased and rooted inthe South1 in 4grantees nameenvironmental justiceand climate justiceas a critical issuefor supporting thewellbeing of pregnantand birthing people4With Our Minds on JusticeMorethan 20%of grantees work inthe Southwest20%call the Midwesthome

Intersectional,Multi-Issue ApproachGroundswell grantees take an intersectional, multi-issue approach toaddress the mental health and wellbeing of birthing people and babies.Grounded in Reproductive Justice*principles, Birth Justice organizationsunderstand that we cannot improve themental health and wellbeing of pregnant,birthing, and postpartum people of colorand their babies without addressing theintersecting oppressions they face.Racism and oppression are both astressor and trauma, particularly duringthe perinatal period. Reducing exposureto the stressors and trauma of racismand other forms of oppression improvesmental health outcome for parents andbabies of color. Each of Groundswell’sbirth justice grantees advances programsand/or advocacy and organizing effortsthat aim to reduce the trauma of racismand oppression in the lives of Black andBrown birthing families.Birth justice leaders shift theconversation about equity, bodilyautonomy, and self-determination. Theyare reclaiming traditions and knowledgethat colonization, genocide, enslavement,patriarchy, and capitalism have tried todestroy. The wisdom of these traditionsTOP 10 STRATEGIES GRANTEES USE TO SUPPORT MENTALHEALTH OF NEW PARENTS, BABIES, AND FAMILIESHigh Quality CulturallyMatched Prenatal CareMental HealthSupport & ReferralsHigh Quality CulturallyMatched Postpartum CareBreast/Chest/InfantFeeding SupportHome VisitationHealing Justice &Holistic WellnessFood JusticeCommunity-Rooted PrenatalSupport Programs for PregnantPeople and FamiliesCase Management & ReferralsSupport for Incarcerated/Detained People48%45%41%41%79%79%69%59%59%90%Based on 2021 survey responses from Birth Justice Fund grantees*Groundswell grantee SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personalbodily autonomy, to have children, to not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe andsustainable communities.Groundswell’s Birth Justice Fund5

and knowledge remains strong andvibrant, and, in this moment of pandemic,is more important than ever.Around 30% of grantees work on eachof the following issues: early childhooddevelopment; programs for birthingpeople who use substances; Indigenoussovereignty and decolonization; andinfant mental health.Grantees also address intersectionalissues that negatively impact the mental,physical, and emotional wellbeing ofnew parents and babies, such as climatechange, environmental injustice, policeviolence, criminalization, immigrationdetention, food insecurity, poverty, andhousing instability.ALASKAN NATIVE BIRTHWORKERS COMMUNITY“We understand that supporting the birthing parentand offering loving, safe, culturally-matched care canimprove the birthing experience, a sense of belongingand connection to community, access to resources,and can have long-lasting effects on the wellness andwellbeing of the parent and the child.”— ALASKA NATIVE BIRTHWORKERS COMMUNITY (ANCHORAGE, AK)6With Our Minds on Justice

Grantee StoriesBirthmark Doula Collective(NEW ORLEANS, LA)Birthmark Doula Collective has servedhundreds of birthing people and theirbabies in New Orleans with trauma-informedprenatal care, birth support, postpartum andlactation support. Care is delivered througha healing justice framework with a focus onBlack, Indigenous and Latinx families andfacilitated in Spanish and English. The COVID-19 pandemic further stretchedan already inequitable and fragmented health care system, moving Birthmarkinto a much more central “triage” role as many families reached out to them forsupport in navigating the healthcare system during the crisis and accessingdifferent kinds of perinatal care. Birthmark is a safe space for Black and Browncommunities in New Orleans facing the negative impacts of climate change,racism, classism, and oppression.Birthmark believes in organizing for the social conditions necessary to supportinfant mental health, including respectful perinatal and newborn care, accessto lactation care and support, paid time off for parents and caregivers, safe andsecure housing and freedom from state violence.As part of its social justice organizing efforts, Birthmark is active in Louisiana’sPerinatal Quality Collaborative which focuses on improved safety and equityfor birthing people of color. Birthmark supported Black women to ensuredignity and equity for Black pregnant people in a local hospital with particularlydisparate racial perinatal health outcomes. This resulted in significant changesto that hospital’s policies that will improve the experiences of Black pregnantpeople and reduce trauma that negatively impacts Black women’s mentalhealth.In addition, Birthmark has been advocating for “Momnibus” style policychanges that would support the wellbeing of pregnant and parenting peoplein Louisiana through increased access to equitable care, paid time off, andimprovements in wages and working conditions. Through innovative servicesand community organizing efforts, Birthmark continues to be a home forpregnant and postpartum families of color to gather as peers, to build power,and to receive trauma-informed care and referrals that support their wellbeingand mental health.Groundswell’s Birth Justice Fund7

Policy Advocacyand Organizing“Recently published research confirmsthat babies and people of color thrive whensupported and treated by providers who looklike them. Our reproductive and maternaljustice efforts enable us to expand ourcommunity’s access to culturally-congruentperinatal providers.”— COMMONSENSE CHILDBIRTH (WINTER GARDEN, FL)Groundswell grantees were at the forefront of leading intersectionalorganizing and policy advocacy to address systemic oppression thatleads to disparities in health outcomes around pregnancy, birth andmental health. Highlights include: Participating in the Congressional briefing on Black Mental Health(Black Mamas Matter Alliance) Developing a first-of-its-kind Emergency Care for Maternal and ChildHealth Plan to inform equitable care provision -including perinatalcare, contraception and abortion- during the COVID-19 pandemicand climate change emergencies such as wildfires or floods.(Bold Futures, Breath of My Heart Birthplace, Changing WomanInitiative, Tewa Women United) Winning six months Medicaid postpartum coverage in Georgia(Black Mamas Matter Alliance)8With Our Minds on Justice

CHANGING WOMAN INITIATIVE Passing the Justice & Equity in Maternity Care Act thatexpands access to nurse-midwives throughout CA by removingphysician supervision(Black Women for Wellness) Expanding access for formerly incarcerated people to theCalFresh Meal program, eliminated California healthcare co-paysfor incarcerated people, and expanded diversion programs forcaregivers of children under the age of 18(Legal Services for Prisoners with Children) Introduced Federal Black Maternal Health Momnibus(Ancient Song Doula Services, Commonsense Childbirth, BlackMamas Matter Alliance, Mamatoto Village)1 in 3of grantees focus on addressingpolice and state violenceGroundswell’s Birth Justice Fund9

Grantee StoriesBreath of My Heart Birthplace(ESPAÑOLA, NM)Breath of My Heart Birthplace witnessedfirsthand the stresses birthing people faceddue to the COVID-19 pandemic in Tribal andimmigrant communities. When a youngIndigenous parent from Ohkay OwingehPueblo faced a difficult pregnancy, isolation,and depression due to the impacts of thepandemic, they provided life-saving supportcreating wraparound care for her and othervulnerable families during unprecedentedtimes. Her mother, the main income earner in their family, fell ill with COVIDwhich turned into a long-term condition over the months leading up to her birth.Although there was much anxiety leading up to the birth, she had a safe andfast delivery at home in her Pueblo giving birth to a healthy baby. Breath ofMy Heart Birthplace midwives continue to follow her closely, helping to findadditional resources for food and supplies as she manages her life with atoddler and newborn. Continuity with her midwives supported her in having asuccessful and healthy baby under extreme circumstances.BLACK MAMAS MATTER ALLIANCE10With Our Minds on Justice

Mamatoto Village(WASHINGTON, DC)Due to Mamatoto Village’s consistentadvocacy, the Washington, D.C. City Councilpassed the Certified Professional MidwivesAct legalizing Certified Professional Midwives(CPMs) in the District and mandatingcoverage for out-of-hospital birth by Medicaidand loan forgiveness for CPMs working inhigh needs communities.Mamatoto also co-leads Washington D.C.’s Maternal Mortality ReviewCommittee - the only one in the nation to be co-led by two midwivesand to actively use a racial and reproductive justice framework to craftrecommendations to address maternal mortality and morbidity in the District.Throughout the pandemic and in response to the Black Lives Matter racialreckoning, Mamatoto Village remained committed to empowering Blackwomxn and families across the D.C. area, serving 313 clients, completing 3,440telehealth visits, maintaining a 90% client engagement rate, and a 0% maternaland infant mortality rate.Black Women for Wellness(LOS ANGELES, CA)Working on several pieces of legislation aimedat closing the maternal and infant mortality andmorbidity gap, Black Women for Wellness leadsthe way. This includes passing SB 65/ CaliforniaMomnibus Bill: the first-of its-kind implicit biastraining for all perinatal staff, updating datacollection to identify disparities and pregnancy-related deaths, requiring hospitalsto inform patients about how to file discrimination complaints, and expandingaccess to nurse-midwives by removing physician supervision of Certified NurseMidwives. These victories will result in concrete improvements in experiences andoutcomes for Black and Brown pregnant, birthing, and postpartum people. Racismis both a stressor and trauma for people of color, particularly during pregnancy,labor, and the postpartum period. Winning implicit-bias training for all perinatalstaff in California is a huge victory that will reduce racism and support improvedmental health outcomes for Black and Brown parents and infants.Groundswell’s Birth Justice Fund11

MAMATOTO VILLAGEA list of Birth Justice Fund grantees can be found byvisiting Lists can be filtered viafund, geography, issue, and strategy.For more information about ourBirth Justice Fund, please contactNaa Hammond, Senior Director of Grantmakingat [email protected]

CalFresh Meal program, eliminated California healthcare co-pays for incarcerated people, and expanded diversion programs for caregivers of children under the age of 18 (Legal Services for Prisoners with Children) Introduced Federal Black Maternal Health Momnibus (Ancient Song Doula Services, Commonsense Childbirth, Black