2020 Impact Report

emc, 10 years in

Setting the Scene: 2020

2020 was one of the most life-altering years in a generation, especially for moms and families.

2019 was the safest year for women to give birth globally. Then, the pandemic hit, making 2020 one of the most life-altering years of a generation, especially for pregnant people, families and frontline health workers.

If there is one thing 2020 made clear, it’s that we still have a long way to go, as a nation and as a global community, in strengthening our healthcare systems, protecting our health workers, and ensuring the safety of birthing people, their families, and marginalized communities everywhere.
Two #MaternalHealthHeroes featured on EMC's channel during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 marked Every Mother Counts' 10th anniversary, offering an important moment to reflect as we envisioned our most impactful year to date filled with compelling storytelling and increased grantmaking, building on the momentum of a decade of work through advocacy and policy change.

But, as the world-changing events of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, we recognized the significance of our mission and re-committed to achieving our goals with a transformative lens on the future of maternity care, one that seeks birth justice for all. We reached out to our partners and communities on the front lines and did all we could to support them, however they needed it — as quickly as possible.

Thanks to the flexible and responsive support we received from the EMC community, we were able to cap our 10-year anniversary as Every Mother Counts’ most impactful year ever, which is not only a reminder of how far we’ve come, but also an opportunity to continuously put our community-based partners and their needs at the center of all we do.

At this critical juncture, the pandemic continues to affect all of the countries our grantee partners operate in. Because of this, Every Mother Counts pushes into the next decade with an even greater sense of determination and purpose.

Every Mother Counts:
It all started with a birth story.

When I became a mom in 2003, I could have never imagined where my daughter’s birth story would lead me. That day, I learned just how critical it was to have birth options, resources and of course access to quality and respectful maternity care. Had I not had all of these things, I may not be here today.

For me, it wasn’t enough that I survived a postpartum complication after the birth of my daughter — the experience connected me in some way to every mother and birthing person, everywhere. Once I learned about the more than 500,000 women and girls who were dying from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth around the world each year, I had to do something about it.

That commitment led to the founding of Every Mother Counts 10 years ago.

Since the spring of 2010, Every Mother Counts has played a serious role in bringing global attention to the importance of respectful maternity care that has mobilized actions and movement. We have invested more than $21 million and have disbursed more than 100+ grants that have supported community-driven solutions in the U.S., Guatemala, Haiti, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and other countries. Today, the number of maternal deaths has been reduced to 300,000 globally.

We have made an impact. And we will continue to be thoughtful and strategic about how we address each and every crisis that presents itself until we achieve our mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe, equitable and respectful for all.
Christy Turlington Burns
Founder, Every Mother Counts

Looking back, and forging ahead

In addition to marking EMC’s 10th anniversary, 2020 was designated as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization. It was also the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in the United States, one milestone in a long and twisting road towards access to voting rights for all women.

While there remains a long road to travel, we continue to hold on to these markers for the very reason they exist: to serve as reminders of the battles women and other marginalized groups have fought on behalf of equity and justice. The right to health is a human right. Women’s rights are human rights. And every person who is pregnant or giving birth deserves access to the quality, respectful and equitable maternity care they need, when they need it, wherever they live.

As we reflect on the events of 2020 and the first decade of Every Mother Counts, we look back on a few critical milestones on the road towards achieving our mission:




Maternal health highlighted in the MDGs

The Millennium Development Goals are created, including Goal 5 to improve maternal health and Target 5.A: To reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.


No Woman, No Cry filmed and premiered

Over the course of two years (2008-2010), Christy Turlington Burns completes and premieres the documentary film No Woman, No Cry, shining a spotlight on maternal health challenges and solutions around the world.


Maternal health recognized as a human right

The United Nations Office of the Commissioner on Human Rights releases a report on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights, recognizing maternal health as a human rights issue.

Every Mother Counts is founded

After premiering No Woman, No Cry, founder Christy Turlington Burns turns her attention to furthering her work in combatting the maternal mortality crisis. Every Mother Counts launches in April 2010 to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere by addressing three barriers to healthy outcomes: lack of transportation for pregnant people to clinics, shortage of community birth attendants and midwifery training, and lack of essential medical supplies.

EMC on the Hill

Our global maternal health advocacy on Capitol Hill starts with support for the Global Moms Act — a bill to help ensure that maternal health care services are rooted in human rights.

U.S. healthcare advances

The Affordable Care Act passes and is signed into law, advancing key policies in maternity care and health care coverage in the U.S..


Team EMC begins running in support of mothers everywhere

Motivated by the fact that in some parts of the world, pregnant and birthing people have to travel many miles to reach a provider or clinic, often by foot, Every Mother Counts establishes Team EMC to raise funds and awareness about a global crisis. To date, Team EMC has run hundreds of thousands of miles, and raised over $5M in support of Every Mother Counts’ mission.


EMC grantmaking begins

EMC’s grantmaking program is born with our first grants issued in Haiti, Indonesia, and Uganda. Through our grantmaking work, we invest funds raised through donations, product partnerships, races, and events into maternal health programs, and deepen our commitment to addressing the issues affecting poor maternal health outcomes around the world.


Making of a Midwife series

Every Mother Counts first began with a film and continues to use filmmaking to educate the public and advance support for maternal health today. In 2013, we launched our first series, Making of a Midwife, tracking the 2013 class of Midwives For Haiti students, filmed by Belony Jean-Piere, a Haitian graduate from the Ciné Institute.

2013 data shows maternal mortality declining

The World Health Organization’s "Trends In Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2013" report estimates there are 289,000 pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths per year. These numbers reveal that while the maternal mortality ratios (MMR) have declined globally over the past two decades, there are still far too many deaths, considering the fact that up to 98% of those deaths could have been prevented.

U.S. grants emerge

As U.S. maternal mortality rates continue to climb, EMC’s first U.S. grant goes to Commonsense Childbirth in Florida to support founder and CEO Jennie Joseph, who was featured in No Woman, No Cry.


International Day of Recognition established

Global advocates for maternity care celebrate the first ever International Day for Maternal Health and Rights.

Seda’s Light explores access to electricity in Malawi

Every Mother Counts’ short film, Seda’s Light, tells the story of Seda, a 25-year-old nurse-midwife who is the only skilled birth attendant on staff in the maternity ward at Chakhaza Health Center in Dowa, Malawi. Only 1% of the rural population in Malawi is linked to the national electricity grid, and Seda, like many health care workers, struggled without power to help pregnant women deliver safely. Prior to filming, Every Mother Counts supported We Care Solar by providing Chakhaza and 39 other rural health facilities in Malawi with solar-powered electricity that’s available 24/7.

Midwifery model is elevated

A new Lancet series presents midwives and the midwifery model of care as a leading solution to the world’s maternal health crisis.


EMC Emergency Grants Fund established

In 2015, an estimated 61% of maternal deaths globally take place in settings affected by humanitarian crises or fragile conditions. Following a devastating earthquake in Nepal, EMC establishes its Emergency Grant Fund, allocating $100,000 per year to respond to rapidly unfolding humanitarian crises from natural disasters and armed conflict to public health crises. Our first two emergency grants are issued in Nepal and Syria.

End of MDGs and adoption of SDGs

By the Millennium Development Goals’ end date of 2015, the number of global maternal deaths have significantly decreased from 2000, but have yet to meet the global target. With this in mind, member countries of the United Nations adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, including the goal to reduce the global rate of maternal mortality to less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Giving Birth in America premieres

The second EMC film series, Giving Birth in America, launches on CNN. This 3-part series explores maternal health challenges and solutions in Florida, Montana, and New York, and includes the perspectives of OBGYNs, L&D nurses, midwives, family practice doctors, maternal fetal specialists, professors, policy makers, lawyers, researchers, and social workers to paint a fuller picture of the contributing factors to the maternal health crisis in the United States.


The Lancet publishes landmark report

A new Lancet maternal health series highlights the importance of improving access to high quality maternal health care around the world.

EMC passes 500,000 lives impacted

To date, EMC has now invested $10.7 million in public education and grants, impacting 531,202 lives through our grantmaking. Every Mother Counts’ grantees now include partners in Haiti, Guatemala, Uganda, Tanzania, Bangladesh, India, and the U.S.


Lost Mothers series amplifies attention on U.S. maternal health crisis

ProPublica and National Public Radio launch the Lost Mothers series, which investigates pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. and shares the stories of those who have lost their lives to pregnancy and childbirth.

Con Madre film premieres

Con Madre follows the midwifery students from Asociación Corazón del Agua in Guatemala City and their traditional midwife mentors, who are working together to provide culturally-appropriate care to Indigenous women. The film highlights the importance of traditional midwifery care in Guatemala, one of the most dangerous countries in Central America to give birth.

March for Moms

The inaugural March for Moms brings together advocates from across the U.S. to raise awareness about maternal health. Christy speaks at the event.

EMC advocacy platform grows

This year, EMC expands its commitment to advancing systemic changes. EMC introduces an online advocacy and policy platform to mobilize communities to take action. EMC also launches an advocacy petition calling on insurance companies and state Medicaid programs to fully reimburse for midwifery and doula care in all 50 states with Jennie Joseph, garnering more than 50K signatures.


Black Maternal Health Week established

The Black Mamas Matter Alliance hosts the first-ever Black Maternal Health Week, forging a nationwide platform to center the Black maternal health crisis in the United States.

EMC publishes “Maximizing Midwifery” paper

In collaboration with Choices in Childbirth, EMC publishes “Maximizing Midwifery” to Advance High-Value Maternity Care in New York.



White Ribbon Alliance and partners report the results of the “What Women Want” campaign, where 1.2 million women from 114 countries set the agenda for global maternal and reproductive health care.

Global & U.S. grantmaking reaches 50/50

In recognition of the opportunity to have a deep impact on the U.S. landscape, EMC’s grantmaking reaches the milestone of 50% of support dedicated to U.S.-based groups.

UN Special Rapporteur Report

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women publishes a report on mistreatment during childbirth and obstetric violence.

EMC filmmaking continues to build awareness

EMC’s filmmaking library continues to grow along with strategic distribution partnerships with CNN and National Geographic. Production on Endomononi (Tanzania) is completed and the Giving Birth In America series continues to include “Louisiana,” “California,” and “New Mexico” in partnership with CNN.


Year of the Nurse and Midwife

The World Health Assembly names 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Delivering Hope series premieres

Every Mother Counts premieres our third films series, Delivering Hope: Maternal Health Heroes, a global perspective of midwives, community leaders, lawyers, activists, and mothers in Guatemala, India, and Bangladesh whose commitment and care to their communities is boundless.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus is introduced

The U.S. Black Maternal Health Caucus, launched in 2019, introduces the Black Maternal Health Momnibus into Congress for the first time in March 2020.  Every Mother Counts and several of our partners play a role in helping shape the constituent bills.

EMC passes 1 million lives impacted

EMC surpasses the goal of impacting 1 million lives through our grantmaking work, reaching a total of 1,275,884 lives.

U.S. Surgeon General launches campaign to reduce maternal deaths

In a signal of the growing national attention and the bipartisan support to tackle the U.S. maternal health crisis, the Department of Health and Human Services commits to reducing the U.S. maternal mortality rate by 50% in 5 years.

2020 & covid

Meeting New Challenges

Before COVID-19, pregnancy-related deaths had been declining steadily throughout much of the world.

Even in the United States, where maternal mortality rates are about double that of other high-resource nations, there was unprecedented momentum for legislation targeting the racial and ethnic disparities putting mothers of color at the greatest risk. Indeed, the pandemic has disproportionately affected mothers and historically marginalized and under-resourced communities.
Maternal Mortality
By the end of 2020, maternal and infant mortality rates across the globe were soaring to levels not seen in decades, stillbirths had increased sharply and more pregnant and postpartum people were experiencing serious medical complications, including higher rates of anxiety and depression. According to new research in Lancet Global Health, the chances of a woman dying while pregnant or during childbirth in Mexico and India has jumped by more than one-third since the pandemic’s start. The United Nations estimates maternal mortality could nearly double in many Latin American countries.

Read on for more about Every Mother Counts’ pandemic-related response across 2020.

Just as the pandemic evolved every day across 2020, EMC adapted our own response to the crisis based on the needs and concerns of our community.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the existing maternal health crisis, making it even more difficult to give birth safely and with dignity, while deepening health disparities. Globally, the number of maternal deaths and complications are projected to continue to increase as a result of the pandemic.

As the pandemic continued to unfold, we remained in constant and close contact with our grantee and community partners to ensure that they could meet the needs of pregnant and birthing people — all while trying to provide a continuum of care and stay safe themselves.
Village Birth International held a virtual community doula training for their doula collective in NY. Virtual doulas offer all the same support they did prior to COVID-19 — while maintaining social distancing. Photo credit: Village Birth International.
Across 2020, in addition to our core grantmaking, we committed $665K in grants for COVID-19 emergency response efforts globally and in the U.S. These funds helped procure and distribute personal protective equipment, develop safety protocols and train providers, establish makeshift COVID-19 isolation units, set up temporary maternity care sites, provide community education, purchase technology and medical devices, expand virtual care and support and address families’ basic needs (i.e., food, diapers, formula).
Impact Story

Supporting Emergency COVID-19 Responses in India

Nazdeek has been a partner of Every Mother Counts since 2014
Photo credit: Nazdeek
With health and nutrition centers closing during the lockdown, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Delhi faced extreme food shortages. Nazdeek’s paralegals stepped in, supporting more than 3,000 families with relief kits.
Photo credit: Nazdeek
Nazdeek and their partners in Assam have been actively supporting pregnant and lactating women in meeting their nutritional needs during the lockdown. With EMC’s support, they provided relief kits to nearly 1900 Adivasi households living and working on tea plantations.


Relief Kits in Delhi


Relief Kits in Assam
Impact Story

Community-based solutions in NYC

Ancient Song Doula Services has been a partner of Every Mother Counts since 2014
Photo credit: Ancient Song Doula Services
At the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S. epicenter, Ancient Song Doula Services received requests from a community of mothers in New York City who were unable to obtain baby essentials like diapers, formula, and groceries due to increased challenges brought on by the first surge.

To respond quickly to these needs, Ancient Song was able to partner with a local farming cooperative. During the peak of the pandemic, Ancient Song’s doulas were procuring and delivering essential items to 25-50 pregnant people and families every single week.
Photo credit: Ancient Song Doula Services

Working quickly, we launched a resource for information on maternal health and COVID-19.

One harrowing challenge in navigating the early pandemic was rapidly changing new information on how COVID-19 impacts pregnancy, and the policies and practices in place for accessing and providing maternity care. To fill a critical gap, within weeks of lockdown in the U.S., EMC created and continues to update a Maternal Health and COVID-19 Resource Hub on our website.

“The Hub has been included on several key lists as a trusted resource...”

From March 24 onward, EMC’s COVID-19 Resource Hub provided continuously updated resources from trusted sources on the implications of COVID-19 directly to pregnant, birthing, and parenting people, as well as maternity care providers.

The Hub has been included on several key lists as a trusted resource, including recommended resources from the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office for Minority Health, the New York State Department of Health, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

On April 20, New York State launched the COVID-19 Maternity Task Force, with the goal of examining best approaches to expanding access to additional birth centers during COVID-19.

The task force’s work was intended to provide pregnant and birthing people with additional, safe birthing options and help relieve some of the burden on already stressed hospitals. EMC Founder Christy Turlington Burns and Managing Director of Policy and Advocacy Nan Strauss were tapped to join, along with a wide variety of experts.
The task force developed an initial set of recommendations for uplifting the needs of pregnant and birthing people during the pandemic response, all of which were accepted by the Governor’s office. As a result of these recommendations, doulas were acknowledged as essential members of the maternity care and support team.

To support wider efforts, we mobilized our community to fund urgent needs that arose as the pandemic surged.

As the early days of the pandemic gave way to a socially-distant Mother’s Month campaign season, EMC set out to have an impact in a landscape that changed daily as COVID-19 continued to rage on with no end in sight. In addition to ongoing fundraising and emergency grants, we asked our community to come together to support emergency fundraising priorities.


Raised on International Day of the Midwife


Raised over Mother’s Day weekend
With support from our corporate match partner, Vintner’s Daughter, who matched all donations up to $30,000 for International Day of the Midwife (May 5), we raised more than $67K (or $97K with the match) to directly support PPE for midwives and other maternity care providers.

Due to immense need from the pandemic, 5/5/2020 was also named “Giving Tuesday Now,” a special day of giving. Despite the competing fundraising nationwide, Every Mother Counts raised the second most donations of any nonprofit on our fundraising platform during the 24-hour period!

“Across the 2020 Mother’s Day campaign, we quadrupled our fundraising from 2019.”

And, over Mother’s Day weekend, we raised more than $100K to train birth center midwives to provide safe delivery alternatives for expecting moms during COVID-19, as well as prenatal care kits for moms-to-be, and doula telehealth support. With a $65K match from anonymous donors, we raised over $165K for this campaign.

Across the 2020 Mother’s Day campaign, we quadrupled our fundraising from 2019. These direct fundraising initiatives allowed us to be nimble and responsive to our partners’ needs in real time.

Coming together for maternal health while apart.

To keep the EMC community connected during lockdown, while continuing to educate the public, we created EMCLive!, a series of virtual events and activities speaking directly to our mission, free for all to join.

Maternal Justice Mondays

Live Performances and Discusssions

Fitness and Wellness Events

Virtual Fundraising Events

While we missed coming together in-person for events, the EMCLive! format offered a new level of inclusivity for our wider audience, allowing our community to attend events from across the country and around the world.
Impact Story

Jazz Manhattan Birth Center

Jazz Manhattan Birth Center Opened in May 2020
Video credit: Scary Mommy Films

Supporting safe alternatives to hospital births in the pandemic’s epicenter.

Every day during the pandemic, pregnant people faced seemingly impossible choices as they prepared for what should have been one of the most emotional experiences of their lives: whether and how to give birth in hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients.

As the outbreak continued to strain hospitals and providers, it became more important than ever to ensure low-risk mothers-to-be had safe and supportive alternatives for giving birth, and that healthcare providers had the resources and training they needed to care for them.

That’s why Every Mother Counts supported the opening and staffing of a new freestanding birth center in New York City — the epicenter of the COVID-19 health crisis — in May 2020 where more than 300 babies are born every day.

Special thanks to Scary Mommy for producing a series of short films highlighting this work.

birth justice

Centering Birth Justice

When Every Mother Counts first began supporting this work a decade ago, we committed to tackling the issues affecting maternal health outcomes around the world.

This included the U.S., where Black and Indigenous women are two to three times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth than white women — regardless of education, income or any other socioeconomic or health-related factors.

We have long known that there is a direct relationship between racism and the disproportionate rates of maternal deaths among Black and Brown communities in the United States — the only high-resource country in the world with a worsening maternal mortality rate. Implicit bias and structural and interpersonal racism make pregnancy and childbirth more dangerous for Black and Brown mothers.

“In the United States, Black women are three times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth than white women.”

The call for dismantling racism, decolonizing birth and centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) reached a new height in 2020.

We thank our BIPOC-led, community-based grantees for trusting us to have conversations about building equitable relationships and for collaborating with us in numerous ways over the years, including advocacy, policy initiatives, thought leadership and storytelling. Our grantees are on the vanguard of birth justice, and we stand with them and in support of their wisdom and leadership.
Every Mother Counts is dedicated to uplifting our grantees and advocating for game-changing legislation. In 2020, we took our largest stand in support of birth justice yet. We look forward to building on that impact year over year by listening to our grantees and the communities they serve.

Read on for more about Every Mother Counts’ birth justice-related response across 2020.

In March, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus was introduced in Congress by the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

The Black Maternal Health Caucus was created by Representatives Lauren Underwood and Alma Adams to center the leadership and guidance of the foremost advocates for Black maternal health in shaping policies at the national level. Every Mother Counts and several of our partners contributed to the development of the Momnibus and its constituent bills, including Jennie Joseph of Commonsense Childbirth, Chanel Porchia-Albert of Ancient Song Doula Services and Aza Nedhari of Mamatoto Village.
Photo credit: Kamala Harris (Courtesy photo)
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus was introduced in 2020 as a package of 9 individual bills addressing many of the intersecting systems driving the United States’ Black maternal health crisis. Key policies include investing in the social determinants of health, funding community-based organizations, promoting a diverse maternity care workforce, implicit bias and anti-racism trainings, and establishing respectful maternity care compliance programs within health care settings.

“A package of 9 individual bills addresses many of the intersecting systems driving the United States’ Black maternal health crisis.”

Every Mother Counts holds that we need bold action that centers Black leadership and Black birthing people to eliminate our country's devastating racial disparities in maternal health. Across the year, we continued to advocate for the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, supporting its constituent bills and mobilizing our community to take action.

In June, we launched a crowd-sourced fundraiser to mobilize additional funds for birth justice organizations in the U.S.

In solidarity with the community-based partners EMC has long supported, we launched a fundraising campaign on Juneteenth to center and further financially support groups working on birth justice in the U.S.

We were able to raise more than $88K in 48 hours, leveraging our donor community in support of our partners’ critical work and leadership.

And, we introduced Maternal Justice Mondays, a weekly live conversation series amplifying the topic of birth justice.

We launched the series on Instagram Live and leveraged EMC’s platforms, centering the voices of a range of maternity care providers, academics, researchers, activists, advocates, legislators and more. 100k+ viewers watched inspiring individuals speak on a variety of topics ranging from racial disparities in maternal health and COVID-19 to birth justice and the importance of community-based doulas.
We thank all of the participants for their exemplary thought leadership and for broadcasting their birth justice advocacy and expertise on Instagram:

Marna Amstead, Adrienne Bosh, Alexandra Douglas, Myla Flores, Dr. Elizabeth Howell, Jennie Joseph, Pat Loftman, Sharmila Makhija, Kay Matthews, Monica McLemore, Alysia Montaño, Annie Murray, Mimi Niles, Rebecca Polston, Chanel Porchia-Albert, Latham Thomas, and Representative Lauren Underwood.
visit our channel

A National Call for Birth Justice

Following a series of devastating deaths of Black mothers in the summer of 2020 and growing energy in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, we initiated a coalition of EMC partners and reproductive and birth justice leaders to pen a statement on the need for birth justice, accountability and legal guarantees for safe, respectful, anti-racist maternity care. The open letter, which ran as a full page spread in the New York Times on July 25th, served as a rallying cry for birth justice advocates everywhere.

The letter called for systemic change and the transformation of the United States’ maternity care system to address racism and birth injustice in maternal health and ran just days before the Black Maternal Health Caucus’ annual stakeholder meeting to further support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus.

The campaign brought together 26 leading experts and organizations in the birth and reproductive justice movements and inspired 13,000+ individuals from across the U.S. to sign on to the letter.
read the letter

Birth equity in the spotlight.

On June 24, 2020, Every Mother Counts’ founder Christy Turlington Burns was featured on Harper’s Bazaar’s Voices of Hope Issue, which she curated to include Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, public health expert Dr. Leana Wen, model and home-birth advocate Ashley Graham, and New York State gubernatorial top aide Melissa DeRosa.
Christy spoke with all five women about their visions for racial justice and what the post-COVID-19 world should look like: more equitable, just, and safe for everyone — and very different from the one we’re leaving behind.

Launching JustBirth Space: an innovative platform with a birth justice and human rights focus.

From the beginning, Every Mother Counts has worked to build equitable partnerships with community-based organizations. In 2020, we went deeper. We reached out to ask our partners Chanel Porchia-Albert of Ancient Song Doula Services and Aimee Brill of Village Birth International to provide guidance as EMC developed our statement in support of Black Lives Matter. We continued conversations around systemic racism and recommitted ourselves to doing the work necessary to be true partners and allies in ending preventable maternal deaths and complications, issues that disproportionately affect Black and Brown birthing people.

As the intersections between maternal health, health equity, and racial justice became even more salient during the COVID-19 crisis, the need to provide support during pregnancy and postpartum, rooted in birth justice became clearer. JustBirth Space grew out of a renewed commitment to a partnership model centered around equity and respect between four organizations — Ancient Song Doula Services, Jacaranda Health, Village Birth International, and Every Mother Counts. This collaborative effort exemplified and built upon our long-held practice of building equitable partnerships, maximizing the expertise of each collaborator and centering human rights and justice.

“Free, virtual full-spectrum support in the palm of your hand.”

JustBirth Space is free, virtual full-spectrum support in the palm of your hand offering text and video chat, as well as support groups and classes led by experts. Since September of 2020, support has been available for pregnant people and parents in New York City and northern New Jersey on topics including pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, and infant feeding.

JustBirth Space's team of perinatal support specialists includes community-based doulas, lactation consultants, childbirth educators and postpartum experts, all providing warm, welcoming, and empathetic support that is inclusive and safe for all identities.

“JustBirth Space’s solutions extend beyond pandemic-related inquiries.”

While the need for comprehensive and person-centered support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period heightened during COVID-19, JustBirth Space’s solutions extend beyond pandemic-related inquiries.

Over the course of its first year, JustBirth Space has offered free and virtual support to pregnant, birthing and postpartum people, particularly those at the margins of our maternity care system, to address the longstanding gaps in access to community-based perinatal support. The platform serves as a solution to urgently address the real needs facing BIPOC mothers and families and build collaborative care models within perinatal healthcare.
Learn more about JustBirth Space, and follow @justbirthspace on Facebook and Instagram.

On Saturday, October 10th, Every Mother Counts hosted a virtual Race for Birth Justice, which brought together more than 1,000 people and raised over $100k for birth justice organizations.

This virtual race helped raise funds and awareness for maternal health improvements around the world and supported EMC’s continued advocacy for and with communities of color in the U.S.

First Response supported the race with a sponsorship of $50,000, and together with their community and influencers, they recruited runners and supporters. In addition, First Response employees also participated in the race. Every dollar raised from the race went towards combatting barriers that prevent underserved pregnant and birthing people from accessing the quality, equitable, and respectful maternity care that we all deserve.




Raised for Birth Justice

delivering hope

EMC’s Third Film Series

Around the globe, individuals and organizations fight against the odds to advance maternal health for some of the world’s most marginalized people. In 2020, they did this work in the midst of a pandemic and global political uncertainty.

Our latest film series, Delivering Hope: Maternal Health Heroes, took viewers on a journey to meet these incredible heroes, each with a powerful story to tell. Shot immediately prior to the pandemic’s global shutdown, and originally planned to premiere at our 10th Anniversary MPower event, this series centers individual stories to educate the general public on the issue, the work, and the people who dedicate their lives and livelihoods to saving mothers’ and babies’ lives.

The films were recognized during awards season, including being shortlisted in 3 categories (Cinematography, Not-for-profit/Government, and Issues & Crisis) for the 2021 Brand Film Awards by PR Weekly, and winning Gold in Best Use of Cinematography and Silver in Best Use of Direction at the Art Directors’ Club of Canada Awards.

“The films were recognized... winning Gold in Best Use of Cinematography, and Silver in Best Use of Direction at the Art Directors Club of Canada Awards.”

While production was interrupted due to impending shutdowns in March prohibiting safe travel and interaction with our partners on the front lines, our 2020 series captures stories from India, Bangladesh, and Guatemala.


India’s constitution guarantees the right to health, sanitation and nutrition services, and yet many women rarely benefit from these services. In the northeastern tip of India, we featured courageous community activists fighting to ensure women in their communities receive the care to which they’re entitled.


And in Bangladesh, less than half of all births are attended by a skilled care provider. Here, meet two incredible midwives driven to elevate this life-saving profession in their country, and a resilient Rohingya mother of three starting a new life with her family in Cox’s Bazar.


In Guatemala, Indigenous Mayan women are twice as likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications than non-Indigenous women. There, we worked with two incredible comadronas (traditional Indigenous midwives) caring for Mam-speaking mothers.
Visit everymothercounts.org/delivering-hope for more information.

Shaping policy

Shaping U.S. Policy

We work to advance legislation that protects the well-being of birthing people and upholds the basic human right to equitable health care.

Throughout 2020, Every Mother Counts helped shape, introduce or advance federal and state bills and policies to improve maternal health and hold U.S. health systems, institutions, companies and the government accountable to the individuals, families and communities they serve, including:
Black Maternal Health Momnibus (S.3424 / H.R.6142)
MOMMIES Act (S.1343 / H.R.2602)
Midwives for Moms Act (H.R.3849)BABIES Act (H.R.5189)
Maternal Health Pandemic Response Act (S.4769)
Connected MOM Act (S.4859)
Rural MOMS Act (S.2373 / H.R.4243)
Maternal CARE Act (S.1600 / H.R.2902)
MOMMAs Act (S.916 / H.R.1897)
Helping MOMS Act (H.R.4996)
Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act (H.R.4995)
MOMS Act (S.116)
Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act (S.1960 / H.R.1551)
Healthy MOM Act (S.1481 / H.R.2778)
Tricare Coverage for Doula Support Act (S.3826)
DOULA for Veterans Affairs Act (S.4753)
Resolution on Black Maternal Health Week (S.Res.154 / H.Res.926)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)
New York Midwifery-Led Birth Centers (A10440 / S08307)
California Doula care: Medi-Cal pilot program (AB-2258)
Massachusetts An Act Relative to Medicaid Coverage for Doula Services (H1182)


Impact at a Glance

In the most challenging and unprecedented of years, we could not have carried this work forward without your support.

Thank you to our incredible community of donors, advocates, sponsors and partners in 2020 and in the years prior who believed in EMC from the start.

In 2020, we raised $8,816,631 in support of our grantmaking, advocacy, education, and policy work. This is double the amount raised in 2019. We are thankful for our supporters and look forward to having an impact in the years to come.

A Year in Review

2020 Focus Areas*


Grantmaking Work $2,110,174

Community Engagement & Advocacy $937,831

Raising Awareness & Education $719,830

G&A $509,313

Strategic Initiatives $250,565

Fundraising $248,657

*Ending Net Assets: $9,125,418
2020 Sources of Funding


Individuals $3,658,671

Corporate & Product Partnerships $2,608,722

Institutional Foundations $2,017,354

Investments/Other Income $327,508

In-Kind Donations $204,376

The impact of our grantmaking is global. As of 2020, EMC has impacted more than 1 million lives since our founding.

In 2020, we grew our grantmaking budget from $1.1 million to $1.9 million, committing grants to 29 programs in 9 countries. Of these grants, $665K was committed to COVID-19 emergency support.


  • HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh


  • Asociación Corazón del Agua
  • Asociación de Comadronas del Area Mam (ACAM)


  • Foundation for Advancement of Haitian Midwives (FAHM)
  • Midwives for Haiti


Bumi Sehat

Global Response Management

One Heart Worldwide


  • Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME)
  • Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO)

United States

  • Accompany Doula Care
  • Ancient Song Doula Services
  • Birthmark Doula Collective
  • Black Mamas Matter Alliance
  • Changing Woman Initiative
  • Commonsense Childbirth
  • Community for Children
  • COVID-19 Birth Worker Relief Fund
  • Elephant Circle
  • Jazz Birth Center of Manhattan
  • Mamatoto Village
  • Roots Community Birth Center
  • Shades of Blue Project
  • SisterWeb
  • Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas
  • Tewa Women United
  • Uzazi Village
  • Village Birth International
2020 Grant Spending by Region










316,145 lives were impacted in 2020:


women received skilled reproductive and maternal health services


births attended by a skilled birth attendant


individuals completed a health-related training


additional women, children, and families received health and support services, water and sanitation, food supplies, and COVID-19 related support

supporters & key events

Our Deepest Gratitude

This work is only possible with your support.

We owe the deepest gratitude to our ever-growing and committed network of friends and supporters who continue to step up year after year on behalf of the mothers, families and providers we advocate with and for.

Across 2020, before and after the shutdown, this community stepped up to host a variety of special events — both virtual and in-person — in support of our mission.

January: The Mother of All Comedy Shows

On January 27, 170 community members came together for EMC’s “Mother of All Comedy Shows.” With the generous help of Amy Schumer and the EMC Founder’s Circle, the show featured incredible comics, including: Seth Meyers, Jerry Seinfeld, Erin Jackson, Casey Balsham, Amy Schumer, Phil Hanley and Kerry Coddett as host.

In addition to a fun-filled evening, the show brought in $267,500 — setting EMC up for a strong fundraising year at the beginning of 2020 right before the pandemic made landfall in the U.S.

Special thanks to Gotham Comedy Club for hosting.

February: Learning Trip to India

Thanks to our partner Nazdeek in India, we were able to bring a small group of supporters to India to learn about their work on the ground in late February, just before the world shut down. We are grateful for the trust of this group and to our partners for providing such a rich experience and learning opportunity for EMC in Delhi and Assam.

May: Virtual Screening of the film that started it all: No Woman, No Cry

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Every Mother Counts, EMC had planned to show No Woman, No Cry at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the film premiered in 2010. When the pandemic forced the festival to be cancelled, we brought together the community for a virtual screening and discussion of the film.

November: A Virtual LoveEMC

On Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Every Mother Counts hosted the virtual LoveEMC gala presented by Bank of America, celebrating EMC’s 10-year anniversary. The event was hosted by NYC’s stand-up comedian, Erin Jackson, with remarks by EMC’s Founder Christy Turlington Burns. It featured special musical performances by Feist, Patti Smith and her daughter Jesse Paris Smith and members of Flor de Toloache.

Viewers tuned in from the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, Colombia, Belgium, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Russia, Romania, France, and Namibia.

Between ticket sales, sponsorship and inspired donations, the event raised over $250,000.

April–May + November–December: The Mother’s Day Collection and Holiday Gift Guide

In 2020, 54 brand partners came together to support Every Mother Counts with and through products that benefited EMC. Thanks to their collective contributions, we raised $335,023.

December: Sotheby’s NYC x EMC Online Auction

From December 1st to December 7, 2020, Every Mother Counts partnered with Sotheby’s for our first online charity auction event. The auction raised $230,000.

Special thanks to Dexter Goei, Charles Stewart, Frank Everett and all of Sotheby’s team who supported this event.

Our deepest gratitude to our donors who share our vision of birth justice and sustain our work.


Liz Robinson (Board Chair)

Leslie Blodgett

Christy Turlington Burns

Allison Gollust

Elizabeth Howell

Hilani Kerr

Christiane Lemieux

Sharmila Makhija

Mariam Naficy

Founder’s Circle

Pam Baer

Brenda Battista

Melissa Berger

Adrienne Bosh

Orla Coleman

Tiffanie DeBartolo

Molly Farley

Heidi Flagg

Stephanie Freid-Perenchio

Anick Guira

Jennifer Haythe

Maca Huneeus

Michelle Jassem

Patricia Herrera Lansing

Leigh Sherwood Matthes

Gina Peterson

Isabel Rose

Jill Vedder

Alexandra Wells

Clare Vivier


Ayesha Akhtar

Amy Alderfer

Chelsea Beauford

Roni Belcheva

Steve Biggs

Ashley Bouldin

Malena Capion

Emily Carder

Donna Castelblanco

Allison Cebulla

Hillary Chu

Jessica Clarke

Georgia Alexandra Davis

Michelle DelMonico

Kristen Garzone

Cate Gaynor

Kelly Hubbard

Alicia Joines

Lydia Keegan

Kayla Keigley

Kristen Kirkland

Christine Koenitzer

Kiley Larson

Julie Lulek

Lulu Martinez

Teresa Martingale

Rachel Meakins

Stephanie Millar

Lauren Miller

Annie Murray

SaSadi Odundi

Fola Onifade

Kristina Pinto

Gloria Pitagorsky

Kristina Powell

Esther Reyes

Krista Rider

Sandra Rodriguez

Aliisa Rosenthal

Traci Terry

Lauren Theurkauf

Miranda Toledo

Roma Van Der Walt

Kelly Vigil

Kari Wheeler

Caitlin Young

Emily Zimmerman

Corporate and Institutional Supporters


Bank of America Merrill Lynch


Merck for Mothers

Tides Foundation


Bloomberg Philanthropies

City National Bank

CVC Capital Partners


$50K to <$100K

Boedecker Foundation

Farmgirl Flowers

First Response


Shinemaker Foundation

Tarsadia Foundation

$20K to <$50K

Community Health Acceleration Partnership

Select Equity Group Foundation



Hazel Village

John Hardy

The Rockefeller Foundation

Vintner’s Daughter

$15K to <$20K

Alice + Olivia


Lilah Hilliard Fisher Foundation

Little Spoon

Marfa Stance

$10K to <$15K


Anine Bing

Brides for a Cause


Clare V.


Denim Tears/Tremaine Emory and Levi’s



WarnerMedia | HBO MAX

$5K to <$10K



Flowers Vineyards & Winery

Ingrid & Isabel

Joanna Czech

Pink Chicken Inc.

Scarborough & Tweed

Serena Foundation

Shit That I Knit



Westman Atelier

A Special Thank-You


Lutz Morris

Individuals & Family Foundations


Stadler Family Charitable Foundation, Inc.


William Helman

Whitney & Michael Herd

Isabel Rose & Jeff Fagen

$50K to <$100K

Leslie & Keith Blodgett

Hayley & Tyler Hubbard

Debbie Johnston

Christiane Lemieux

Leslie Schrock

Sara Story

Jennifer & Mark Styslinger

$20K to <$50K

Ana Meier & Daniel Creighton

Brenda & Rich Battista

Alexander Van Breeman

Orla Coleman

Alexander Cornell

Carol Davis

Carol Ann Blinken

Eva Marie & William Price

Stephanie Freid-Perenchio & John Perenchio

Amy & John Griffin

Harris-Stansell Family Charitable Trust

Jennifer Haythe & Eli Casdin

William Kahane

Elizabeth & Gardner Lane

Mariam Naficy & Michael Mader

Gina & Stuart Peterson

Liz & Samuel Robinson

Tiffanie DeBartolo & Scott Schumaker

Lizzie & Jonathon Tisch

Megan & Jud Traphagen

Samantha & Scott Zinober

$15K to <$20K

Pam & Larry Baer

Melissa & Dan Berger

Molly & Tom Farley

Allison Gollust

Michelle & Corey Jassem

Clare Vivier

$10K to <$15K

Adrienne & Chris Bosh


Caroline Fisher

Patricia & Gerrity Lansing

Desiree Gruber

Anick & Alex Guira

Patty Higgins

Elizabeth Howell

Margaret Des Gaines Jang & Steve Jang

Kathryn Kamm

Emma Katz

Kimbrough Towles & George Loening

Hilani & Neville Kerr

Nicholas Leone

Sharmila Makhija

Leigh Sherwood Matthes & Bill Matthes

Charles Michaels

Charlie Rose

Sarah & Daniel Rueven

Vincent Steckler

Jill & Ed Vedder

Summer Walker

Tali Farhadian Weinstein & Boaz Weinstein

Alexandra & Spencer Wells

$5K to <$10K

Karyl Alvord

Connie Bradley

Edie Brickell

Amy Corso

Ayesha & Stephan Curry

Douglas Durkin

Alexandra Hammer Ducas

Dwayne Wade Family Foundation

Kerianne Flynn

Carey Lowell & Tom Freston

Gucci Westman & David Neville

Gillian Hormel

Maca & Augustinus Huneeus

Kelly Vigil & Kristen Garzone

Patricia Laxton

Lee Rhodes & Peter Seligmann

Jamie Leigh

Maria McManus & Mark Gibson

Marweld Family Charitable Fund

Mary Murphy

Monica Navari

Fernanda Nogueira

Purvi Padia

Pamela Hanson & Jaime Frankfurt

Liz Prior

Lisa Stone Pritzker

Joanne Ramos

Aimee Rosenbaum

Roy & Karen Charitable Fund

Savannah Guthrie & Michael Feldman

Robert Sharp

Cody Smith

Ashley & Andrew Stewart

Leah Sutton

The Bloom Foundation

The D’Avino Family Charitable Gift Fund

The Gordon Fund

The Phillip and Irene Toll Gage Foundation

Thrill Hill Foundation

Yve Verbaeten

Sue & David Viniar

Donna Karan Weiss

Jeffrey Zisk

Special Thanks LoveEMC

Electric Lady Studios & Lee Foster


Flor De Toloache

Erin Jackson

Patti Smith & Jesse Paris Smith

Dr. Leana Wen

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Michelle Williams

In-Kind Donors

Lindsey Adelman

Alice + Olivia

Aura Health


Barbara Sturm

Hunter Barnes

California Baby

Camilla Deitz Bergeron

Cate Blanchett

Clif Bar

Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Ed Burns

Anton Cobijn

The Family Coppola Hideaways

Farmgirl Flowers


Adam Grant

Pamela Hansen

Hazel Village

Huneeus Vintners

Inez and Vinoodh

Ingrid & Isabel

Joan Miró Museum

Donna Karan

Dan Kluger

Shaun Leane

Mariam Naficy

Mary McCartney



Miró Foundation


Patrick Moxey

Kurt Markus

Monique Péan

Loro Piana

Proper Hotel


Julia Roberts


San Francisco Giants

SFP Jewels

Sherman Field

Social Goods

Stephanie Sinclair

Mario Sorrenti


Eddie Stern

Sara Story

Scarborough & Tweed

The Battery Hotel

Alexa von Tobel


Tiffanie DeBartolo & Scott Schumaker




Kelly Wearstler

Ev Williams

David Yurman

David Webb

Gucci Westman

Westman Atelier

Film Credits

Delivering Hope

Critical Mass & Wander

Josie Van Der Velden

Chantelle MacDonald

Evan Jones

Studio Bueno

Other Film Credits

OwlBridge Media

I Am Scary Mommy Films

Scary Mommy

Micaela Birmingham

Carey Socol

Mathylde Caffa and family

Amy Romano

New York Times Open Letter Contributors

Angela D. Aina  

Chanel Porchia-Albert  

Asteir Bey  

Aimée Brill

Dawn Godbolt  

Nicolle Gonzales  

Pilar Herrero  

Jennie Jacoby  

Jennie Joseph   

Indra Lusero  

Monica R. McLemore  

Christine Miller  

Joia Crear-Perry  

Lynn Roberts  

Loretta Ross  

Jamila Taylor

Special Thanks New York Times Open Letter

Bill Gray

Michael Feldman & Glover

Park Group

Sean Mazzy & We Are Matterkind

Clare Vivier

Stephanie Freid-Perenchio

Brenda Battista

Allison Gollust

Jennifer Haythe

Orla Coleman