March of Dimes Announces 2023 March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement ™
April 11, 2023
Wisconsin Event, Activities Unite Communities to Protect the Health of Families
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 3, 2023: March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all
moms and babies, kicked off the 2023 March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™. The 53rd annual experience
is taking place at Hart Park in Wauwatosa on June 3, with a virtual opportunity to engage our
entire state. March for Babies provides an opportunity for families to come together in support of
their parenthood journeys and raise critical funds to help March of Dimes provide research,
programs, education, and advocacy so moms and babies get the best possible start. March for Babies
is the organization’s largest fundraiser and the nation’s oldest charitable walk.
“This is a crucial time for our nation’s moms and babies, and we’re coming together in communities
to unite, connect, honor, and care for families who need us the most right now,” says Kelly Ernst,
March of Dimes Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue and Impact Officer. “Through in-person and
virtual experiences, this year’s March for Babies will once again connect thousands of supporters,
some who return with their families year after year and others who are signing up for their first
experience. We look forward to welcoming them all!”
Several Community Leaders and our community families are joining the movement again this year to
improve the health of moms and babies. Advocates showing their support include our Co-Chairs Mary
Ellen Benzik and Kiva Gittings Graves from Independent Care Health Plan (iCare), a Humana Inc.
subsidiary, our Ambassador family Noelle & Jake Wysocki, joined by their Leadership Team; John
Bitter (Milwaukee Admirals), Mary Beth Hughes (Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.),
Tony Mollica (iCare, a Humana Inc. subsidiary), Luke Delaney (GE HealthCare), Michael Mills (WM),
and Maureen Flannery (MHS Health WI).
“Rates of preterm birth and maternal and infant mortality are all significantly higher for Black
women, which is simply unacceptable,” said Dr. Benzik. “Moms and babies across Wisconsin deserve
better and we must come together to end this crisis for all families. I’m proud to Co-Chair and support March for Babies
and make a real impact in my community and Wisconsin.”
The March of Dimes 2022 Report Card shows that the Wisconsin preterm birth rate increased to 10.0%
in 2021 – a continual increase since the lowest rate of 9.0% in 2013. March of Dimes has been at
the helm of fighting to increase access to high quality healthcare and dismantle racism and address
unequal treatment. Most recently, CDC released a staggering maternal mortality report that reveals
the maternal mortality rate has increased 89% since 2018. The data also shows persistent racial
disparities across maternal and infant health measures that were compounded by the COVID-19
pandemic, making the U.S. among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth.
"We’re supporting March for Babies to ensure that every mom and baby has the best possible start,”
said Noelle and Jake. “Our identical twin daughters were born at 27 weeks. Josephine died at 14
days old from complications of prematurity. Her sister Liliana is now a thriving toddler. Thanks to
March of Dimes’ work in high-risk pregnancies and neonatal intensive care, our care teams were
equipped to do everything they could to give our girls a fighting chance. From innovative research
and programs, to online communities that provide support, March of Dimes is invaluable to so many
families, including ours. Join us in honoring Josephine and celebrating Liliana, and all babies, on June 3.”
Gittings Graves’ professional passion and experience with evidence-based nursing practices,
healthcare literacy and health advocacy are driving her to lead the fight for all moms and babies. “As a mom of 6, and
being raised with a grandmother who walked for years with March for Babies, I am proud to continue
her legacy and honor her as a Co-Chair for this year’s event. In our community we see too many moms
not receiving the education and care needed to help support them and their babies to thrive. I
believe that all moms and babies should have access to care no matter their geography, education,
race or age.” said Gittings Graves. “I’m supporting March for Babies again this year to ensure
families across Wisconsin can continue to benefit from the programs, education, advocacy and community that March of Dimes provides.”
In addition to the community leaders, our local companies are supporting March for Babies as
partners. We thank all of our sponsors for raising funds to help improve health outcomes for moms
and babies. Thank you to iCare, Humana, Children’s WI, Milwaukee Admirals, GE HealthCare, WM, and
MHS Health Wisconsin. To further the work of March of Dimes, Pilcrow Coffee will also be hosting a
retail campaign the month of May to raise a cup around the programs March of Dimes invests into our
More than just a walk, March for Babies will lift up communities for health equity, open the door
for every mom to have access to care and protect the health of families through advocacy. The
annual event is a time to honor motherhood, babies and families, and come together with thousands
of others to share experiences while raising critical funds to advance the mission of March of
GET INVOLVED: March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™ calls on people across Wisconsin to unite
and take steps—big or small—to fundraise and make a huge difference for the health of all families.
And all it takes is 4 easy steps:
1. Sign up at marchforbabies.org/event/Milwaukee to join the movement.
2. Ask family and friends to join—or compete—with you to raise funds for March for Babies.
3. Get moving! Share your progress and check back often for the latest information and updates.
4. Attend March for Babies on June 3ʳᵈ at Hart Park in Wauwatosa.
Can’t make it in person, you can explore ways to get involved wherever you are. Participants can
host a community walk or create a DIY fundraiser.
By joining this movement, participants are:
• Uniting for health equity, opening the door for all moms to have access to care and protecting
the health of families by advocating for their rights.
• Connecting year-round through customized challenges and team building activities that engage
employees, families and friends who want moms and babies to be healthy and strong.
• Honoring motherhood, babies and those who’ve experienced loss by staying active and creating
• Caring for all families throughout their pregnancy—whether it goes as planned or has unexpected
challenges—by raising critical funds, so moms and babies get the best possible start.
H2237_IC2855_C_DHS Approved for use 4/10/23