March of Dimes Savannah Market Announces Record Year of Fundraising, Pouring Resources into Community

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Monday, January 14th, 2019

March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization leading the fight to end premature birth and other problems threatening all babies and moms, is pleased to announce the Savannah/Southern Georgia market reported a record year in fundraising under its 2018 Executive Board and key community partners.

"We are so pleased to see the Savannah community recognizing and supporting our urgent work to help all babies and moms,” said March of Dimes Executive Director of Market Development Tajana Cahoon. “We believe that every baby deserves the best possible start. Unfortunately, not all babies get one. Our sincerest gratitude goes out to our volunteer leaders, donors, sponsors, and mission families who have joined March of Dimes in making healthy moms and strong babies a priority."

Key 2018 fundraising achievements include:

Led by event Co-Chairs Mark and Emmy Wilcox , the 2018 Signature Chefs Auction event raised more money at this year’s event than ever before in its 28-year history.

The 2018 March of Dimes Shamrock Run, chaired by local community advocate Courtney Rawlins, increased fundraising by 39 percent from the 2017 event.

Under the leadership of CEO Fran Baker-Witt, Effingham Health System set the record for the most money raised by a singular team in the 30-year history of the Coastal Empire March for Babies walk.

“I'm so happy to celebrate the dedicated volunteers and our Executive Board who had such great success this year,” said March of Dimes Savannah Executive Board President Patton Dugas. “From kids hosting bake sales, to March for Babies captains rallying their teams, to the volunteer leaders and staff who helped guide our team - they all gave an outstanding effort.”

Unfortunately, Georgia has a disproportionately high rate of preterm births and continues to lead the U.S. in maternal death rates, according to reports from Georgia Health News and America’s Health Rankings. “March of Dimes is pouring resources into local programs for healthy moms and babies now, as well as funding research and advocacy to end prematurity in the future. Our community and our state have a long way to go and we won't stop until these problems are resolved,” said Dugas.

Dr. Benjamin Mackowiak, a staff neonatologist at Memorial Health University Medical Center (MHUMC) and member of the local March of Dimes Executive Board, continues: “The rate of preterm birth in Georgia is among the five worst in the nation according to 2018 statistics and we also suffer from the worst rate of maternal mortality here in Georgia. That is why it is so important to increase our efforts to improve these outcomes and we are thrilled to know that our local community and the March of Dimes are supporting mothers and babies in this endeavor."