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Start:
Tuesday, June 11 / 6:00 pm EDT
End:
Thursday, June 13 / 12:30 pm EDT
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Venue

Marriott Marquis Chicago
2121 South Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616 United States
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Reflections from the 2024 Birth Equity Funders Summit

  

Arpita Jindani, Senior Program Director, Grantmakers In Health

At Grantmakers In Health, June was a month bustling with conferences, fruitful collaborations, and stimulating conversations. Right after we wrapped up our successful annual conference in early June in Portland, Oregon, it was time for us to take a deep dive into birth equity. Funders for Birth Justice and Equity hosted the 2024 Birth Equity Funders Summit on June 11 – 13 in Chicago, Illinois. Designed exclusively for funders, this summit provided a learning opportunity with relevant strategies and tools, and a platform for engaging in critical conversations. The summit sponsors included Grantmakers In Health, bi3, March of Dimes, Pritzker Children’s Initiative, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

The conference commenced with opening remarks from strategic advisors at Funders for Birth Justice and Equity, who provided the backdrop for this event. Built upon the foundation established by the 2022 Summit and enriched by insights from the 2023 Funder Landscape Analysis, this year’s conference aimed to advance our collective understanding of birth equity. The opening plenary featured a fireside chat with local leaders from Illinois dedicated to birth justice. Moderated by Sona Smith from the Ms. Foundation, the discussion included Juliana Stratton, Illinois Lieutenant Governor, Shruti Jayaraman, Chief Investment Officer of Chicago Beyond, and Jeanine Logan, Founder of the Chicago Southside Birth Center. The conversation explored the pivotal roles each organization played in fostering safe and equitable birth experiences, particularly for women of color. This plenary underscored the critical need for philanthropy to engage with policy.

The remainder of the conference across two days was rich with programming surrounding landscape analysis of funding practices, innovative practices such as mutual aid  among funders, and examples of successful public-private partnerships across the nation. The conference also presented the opportunity for community site visits, one to the Chicago Southside Birth Center and the other one to Family Christian Health Center, providing attendees a glimpse of local organizations in Chicago focused on birth equity.

A distinct feature of the conference was graphic notetaking offered for most sessions, providing a creative way to capture critical conversations and convey complex ideas. On the final day, the visual notes were displayed in the foyer highlighting intersections across different speakers and topics. As we move forward, the cross-pollination of ideas from this summit will undoubtedly inspire new projects in birth equity.

Cosponsored by Funders for Birth Justice and Equity and Grantmakers In Health

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