Since 2015, the planning process has been deeply guided by the wisdom of a robust advisory board made up of community leaders who are parents, midwives and other birth workers, researchers, and other experts. Our progress lays a strong foundation for the center’s projected 2022 opening:
We have a comprehensive plan, including a detailed planning timeline and budget and 5 year operating projections.
Lead by Sanam, we completed a thorough needs assessment to gauge interest in a Boston birth center, to hear what informs people’s decisions about care when they are pregnant, and the things that matter most during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. We asked about when care feels discriminatory, and when it feels magical. This is deeply informing our design process. We have drafted an academic paper to share our findings with the public health field.
Nashira has been regularly participating in an intergenerational, multi-organizational collective co-designing multi-use space to house the birth center and others (artists, activists, educators, organizers, healers - including our own advisor Luana Morales, youth, elders) who are working to make our communities more whole.
We are now incorporated with the State of Massachusetts with federal tax-exempt status pending, and we have secured a fiscal sponsor so we can fundraise and write grants.
Speaking of grants, our small but mighty development team (Nechama, Meenakshi, and Nashira) continue to write for grants and fellowship opportunities to support Nashira’s time and to bring on other people to support the planning process.
We have built a nice partnership with MASS Design Group a non profit architecture firm whose mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity.
Between fall 2017 and spring 2018, we participated as a Community Innovation team in the prep and launch of MIT’s Make-the-Breast-Pump-Not-Suck Hack-a-Thon. Through this opportunity we expanded our network of healthcare innovators and social entrepreneurs and made special connections with women of color innovating around breastfeeding all over the country.
There are countless other things we are proud of accomplishing like the renaming (from Birth Sanctuary) and rebranding with a new logo, the design and launch of new website and social media, hiring our first ever summer intern, Ebere, and finalizing a 16 page color pitch book that reflects all of our planning and vision, to support our fundraising strategy.
That’s a lot for a group of volunteers who work full time and are parents, practitioners, and activists!