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  • Writer's pictureDrew Schneider

Marching for healthy moms and babies this May

In support of all the moms who mean so much to us here at Chariot, we’re excited to spotlight the work of March of Dimes as our May Cause of the Month. 

Karyn DeMartini is one of the millions of moms that have March of Dimes to thank for a lower risk delivery and a healthy baby. “When I went in for my 37-week appointment with my first child 15 years ago, my nurse immediately questioned me about when I was going to schedule my delivery. But I knew from March of Dimes’ work that it’s much safer to get to at least 39 weeks before the baby is born,” shares Karyn. 

“By the time I was back at my 37-week appointment for my second child 19 months later, I had the same nurse. But this time, she told me the goal was to get to at least 39 weeks before labor started, a stark but wonderful contrast from my prior appointment with her. Within two years, March of Dimes' research, education, and advocacy were already changing standards of care for moms and their babies.” 

In the US, 1 in 10 babies is born too soon—a significant contributor to the maternal and infant health crisis in our country. While March of Dimes began in 1938 as a grassroots campaign to eradicate polio, the organization has evolved over the years to harness that community support to improve mom and baby health.

Karyn, now the VP of Major, Principal, and Planned Giving at March of Dimes, has worked for the organization for over 23 years. When she graduated from her MBA program at Santa Clara University right in the middle of Silicon Valley's dot-com boom, she was weighing a more traditional business career or sticking with nonprofit work.

“I felt so strongly about dedicating my time to the health of women and children, when the opportunity came to lead the Bay Area chapter of March of Dimes, I went for it and never looked back.”

Over the years, Karyn has worked as a local Executive Director, the head of the California chapter, and a regional major gifts officer before moving into her current leadership role. Through all those experiences, she’s gained a profound appreciation for how every mom and child in this country benefits from March of Dimes’ work, and how important it is to offer supporters the easiest and most flexible ways to donate.

“We were the first charity ever to take a grassroots funding approach. We proved to people that their spare change could add up to a profound improvement in our society—an improvement made possible by meeting people where they were,” says Karyn.

“Today we do that through our March for Babies campaign that empowers thousands of volunteers to raise funds from their own communities and walk together for healthy moms, babies, and families.”

This year, the organization also started an exciting new chapter in its long history of making giving increasingly accessible by incorporating DAFpay into its main website and peer-to-peer donation forms—allowing any of the over three million people with a Donor Advised Fund to easily give right on the March of Dimes website in three clicks. 

“We're all just amazed at how DAFpay converts more donors to use their DAFs and make significantly larger donations—both in our March for Babies forms and on our main website. One after another we’re seeing a former $100 credit card donor, now making a $2,000 DAF gift. Another one going from $100 historical giving to a $3,500 DAF gift!” exclaims Karyn, who’s so passionate about better engaging DAF donors that she also sits on Chariot’s Nonprofit Advisory Council.

“It’s just a fact that donors are increasingly electing to use DAFs—why would we not make that as easy as possible to use a DAF to support us?” 

And the ramp up of DAF support is well-timed this year, as the organization pursues their latest public awareness campaign: Low Dose, Big Benefits™. One in 25 pregnant people experience preeclampsia, a serious condition during pregnancy that can cause high blood pressure. It can lead to serious problems including preterm birth, heart disease, and other complications. For those at risk of preeclampsia, taking low dose aspirin can provide big benefits, giving babies and moms the healthy starts they deserve.​ 

March of Dimes is encouraging pregnant people to take the simple step of asking a healthcare professional about taking low dose aspirin early in pregnancy, which can make all the difference.​

Chariot’s team is honored to support March of Dimes—and more specifically, Karyn’s own fundraising campaign for March of Babies—this month for Mothers’ Day. Our two new first-time parents on the team, Elon Packin and Matt Magaldi, are especially grateful for their healthy babies this Mother’s Day—thanks to the tireless work of March of Dimes for decades.      

Chariot’s Cause of the Month is an initiative where a member of our team gets to select a nonprofit organization close to their hearts to support with funds from our company's Donor-Advised Fund. We also spend the month encouraging our networks to support the Cause of the Month with us, especially if they have a DAF. Chariot’s DAF payment option makes it possible to support great organizations like March for Babies directly in their campaign pages in under 20 seconds.

We're also exciting to spotlight the healthy Moms and Babies of Chariot!


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