Look. It’s not always easy trying to maintain an optimistic outlook. Let there be no mistake that optimism does not imply blithe ignorance or miscomprehension of the very stark, very real circumstances of both local and international realities. Every day, we research and communicate with charities and organizations that serve populations whose daily lives are profoundly affected by crime, poverty, social inequity, or other quiet forms of repression. It’s not always easy to stomach and it is consistently frustrating to acknowledge the limits of our own well-intentioned efforts. But we must never relent to cynicism.
What measure of good has ever been done by one who looks at the numbers and, throwing her arms in the air, cries there is no use? The question is rhetorical! There is no good in it!
We instead prefer to take in the facts, consider them, and think what action – no matter how small – we can take to lessen the impact upon our most vulnerable citizens. At Zealous Good, that means partnering with organizations who provide critical services to communities and families with limited access to resources, and providing them with the goods and services they need to make daily life even the slightest bit better, fuller, brighter. Organizations like the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, a nonprofit that is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women, children, and families throughout Illinois. The realities facing the IMCHC every day present a significant challenge.
From their fact sheet:
Did you know that…
- African American women in Illinois run a risk of death from pregnancy at a rate almost 6 times (5.75) that of White women, and accounted for more than half of all maternal deaths in Illinois in 2007?
In Chicago, during a 5 year time period (2000-2004) 27 African-American women died a pregnancy-related death while only 1 White woman died; a ratio of 27:1?
- An African-American baby born in Illinois in 2001 was 2.6 times more likely to die before reaching its first birthday than a White baby AND that 3 out of every 5 Black babies that died that year did so unnecessarily?
- An African-American baby born in the City of Chicago in 2006 was 2.4 times more likely to die than a White baby and almost twice as likely to die than all other infants born in Chicago?
- African-American babies accounted for more than 80% of all infant deaths due to accident from 2000-2004?
Recognizing that healthy infants, children, mothers and families constitute the basis of our society, IMCHC is dedicated to promoting and improving their health and well being through advocacy, education, community empowerment and policy development. The activities of the Coalition address and support the fundamental principles of equity, social justice and fair access to care which are basic rights of all human beings. The Coalition’s main objectives are directed to overcome critical barriers, such as poverty and racism, that prevent achievement of maternal and child wellness.Founded in 1988, IMCHC works in a partnership with its 90+ organizational members on advocacy and policy development in the maternal and child health field. The members of the Coalition represent public and private sectors, rural and urban Illinois, and they reflect the multi-cultural composition of Illinois’ diverse ethnic populations. Committees are established for each of our projects. All members are invited to participate on these committees. The Coalition’s accomplishments include leading successful statewide efforts to expand Medicaid and KidCare eligibility, halting marketing abuses by HMOs , and winning substance abuse treatment priority for pregnant women.
The Coalition has educated thousands of physicians and nurses on key aspects of childhood immunization and trained hundreds more health care providers on integrating maternal & child health with HIV/AIDS education.
You can learn more about their current and ongoing projects here.
To help today, take a look at their WishList and let us know if you have any in-kind donations to contribute. They are currently seeking infant and children’s clothing, toys, and games, in addition to other items.