Five finalists selected for $10 Million Award to Improve Maternal and Infant Health Around the World
By ICONIQ Impact | May 11, 2023
The Maternal & Infant Health Award is a $10 million grant competition created to help community leaders—particularly those in lower-resource communities—improve the quality and accessibility of maternal healthcare, making pregnancy and childbirth safer for both mother and child.
Chicago, Illinois, May 11, 2023 –
Today, The Patchwork Collective, ICONIQ Impact—ICONIQ Capital’s platform for collaborative philanthropy—and Lever for Change announced five finalists for the $10 million Maternal & Infant Health Award. The grant competition will support innovative, community-led projects that focus on saving mothers and newborns from complications in childbirth.
Every year, 4.5 million pregnant women and newborn children die; that’s one death every seven seconds. The majority of these deaths stem from complications that are not only detectable but also preventable with proper attention and medical care.
The Maternal & Infant Health Award was created to help community leaders—particularly those in low-resource communities—provide women with access to safe, equitable, and quality maternal healthcare.
"Mothers are caregivers and nurturers,” said Marie Dageville, co-founder of The Patchwork Collective. “They are breadwinners and providers. They are a source of love, knowledge, and social cohesion. And though we regard them with admiration and importance, we don’t treat their health with the same respect. We’re allowing mothers, and their newborn children, to die at alarming rates, making a time that should be filled with joy and promise one that’s met with anxiety and fear. The Patchwork Collective launched this award to help fund programs and projects that are treating this issue with the attention and urgency it demands and saving the lives of the world’s most at-risk mothers and children.”
The Award received 220 applications from 49 countries, with each entry subject to peer-to-peer reviews and rigorous evaluations by experts from multiple disciplines across the world. The finalists were selected based on four key criteria: whether they were community-led, impactful, feasible, and durable in their proposed approaches.
Each of the five finalist teams will receive a one-time $200,000 planning grant, which includes nine months of capacity-building support to further develop their project and strengthen their application. In late 2023, one finalist will then be awarded the remaining $9 million.
“We invite other donors to join us in this effort, so that each of these impactful programs can receive funding,” said Marie Dageville.
“At ICONIQ Impact, we believe that complex, global challenges need co-created solutions,” said Matti Navellou, head of ICONIQ Impact. “Resources should be pooled, expertise should be leveraged, and power should be given to those with lived experience. Collaborative funding models, like the Maternal & Infant Health Award, allow for this type of leverage by bringing together coalitions of individuals and organizations under a common goal, strengthening both the systems and relationships necessary to generate sustainable solutions."
The Maternal & Infant Health Award is the third in a series of grant competitions managed by Lever for Change in collaboration with ICONIQ Impact. The Award follows the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award, a grant competition launched in 2020 to help secure a brighter, more durable future for refugees worldwide; and the Stronger Democracy Award, a grant competition launched in 2021 to help strengthen democratic institutions, improve political representation, and increase participation in the United States’ democratic process.
Launched in 2019, ICONIQ Impact is ICONIQ Capital’s global platform for collaborative philanthropy. ICONIQ Impact’s partnership with Lever for Change helps donors like The Patchwork Collective identify philanthropic opportunities through open, transparent, and rigorously evaluated competitions, enabling them to fund solutions to some of the most challenging social issues of our time.
The Maternal & Infant Health Award is being managed by Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems—including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change.
"This award was created to uncover impactful, locally led organizations on the frontlines–organizations whose programs are directly rooted in the communities they serve, but are often overlooked by traditional philanthropy,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. “We are thrilled to support The Patchwork Collective and ICONIQ Impact on this award and to assist these finalist teams in advancing their work."
The five finalists' projects are listed below in alphabetical order:
Delivering Safer Births: Connecting Indigenous Mothers, Midwives, Navigators, and Hospitals in Guatemala: Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq will adapt and scale their program to cover 10,000 births annually in five Guatemalan Provinces and five Mayan languages. Equipping midwives with an illustrated, checklist-based smartphone application will help detect high-risk complications and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care for indigenous mothers requiring hospital services, ultimately reducing maternal mortality by 80%.
Elevating Mothers’ Voices to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes in Kenya: Jacaranda Health partners with governments to deploy affordable and scalable solutions through government hospitals, where the majority of underserved mothers and babies receive care. Jacaranda’s low-cost, evidence-based approach combines: 1) a digital health platform, 2) a nurse mentorship program, and 3) a data infrastructure system that connects mothers, communities, and government partners. In the context of the Maternal & Infant Health Award, Jacaranda would scale its programs nationally in Kenya, impacting 60% of pregnancies there.
Intercultural Healthcare for Mothers and Infants in Rural Colombia: SinergiasONG will work with local health institutions to improve maternal and child health services and their quality of life. Through a powerful alliance of health professionals, educators, community leaders, and social sciences professionals, SinergiasONG will strengthen intercultural health models that incorporate community and ancestral health practices of ethnic and rural populations.
Scaling Community-led Health, Improving Maternal and Infant Outcomes in Kenya: Lwala Community Alliance, Dandelion Africa, and Village HopeCore International—all Kenyan-founded organizations—will scale their community-led health model in three rural Kenyan counties. Their work will unlock community leadership, professionalize community health workers, and strengthen health facilities, ultimately reducing maternal and infant mortality.
Sustainably Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Uganda: The Babies and Mothers Alive Foundation (BAMA) will scale its innovative NGO-Government partnership model to five districts serving a population of 1,115,540. BAMA will train 30 government-employed Mentor Midwives and 150 community health workers, and other reproductive and child health stakeholders to deliver quality care, advocate for improved government health services, and strengthen district health management through improved quality data collection and reporting in five districts in Uganda.
ICONIQ Impact is ICONIQ Capital’s global platform for collaborative philanthropy. We convene ICONIQ’s extraordinary community of families, founders, and organizations to catalyze collaborative philanthropy for giving at scale. Together, we tackle the world’s most urgent challenges, with the goal of creating a more just and equitable world.
The Patchwork Collective
The Patchwork Collective is a family philanthropic effort supporting locally-led solutions to global challenges. We fund diverse, bold, community-driven organizations and leaders across social equity, global health, and climate justice. Our mission is to empower the most vulnerable and marginalized communities, wherever they may be. We view each solution as one unique patch of a quilt. When brought together, they create a stronger, more vibrant, and more equitable future for all. By placing local leaders and communities at the center of our work, we preserve community agency, address inequity, and stitch together a brighter future for all…one patch at a time.
Lever for Change
Lever for Change leverages investments in solutions to the world’s biggest problems—from racial and gender equity to climate change. By matching donors with problem solvers through customized challenges and tailored funding opportunities, Lever for Change accelerates social change. Outstanding teams from these challenges form the Bold Solutions Network, which focuses on elevating organizations and catalyzing further funding. Founded as a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2019, Lever for Change has influenced more than $900 million in grants and provided support to more than 140 organizations to date.