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The Burke Foundation Awards $2 Million to Help Young Children and Families Thrive

The Burke Foundation Awards $2 Million to Help Young Children and Families Thrive

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Burke Foundation awarded $2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 to non-profit organizations in New Jersey working to improve prenatal and child health.

New Jersey has one of the country’s worst records for child health and wellbeing, especially among under-resourced communities, despite being one of the wealthiest states in terms of per capita income.

The Burke Foundation seeks to improve this situation by funding the most promising and transformative programs and policies that foster the health, well-being and resilience of children and families in the state.

New Jersey ranks 47th among the 50 U.S. states for maternal mortality, and its rate of more than 46 deaths per every 100,000 live births is nearly 50 percent greater than the national average. The situation is even more dire for Black women and babies: A Black mother in New Jersey is seven times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than a white mother, and the preterm birth rate for Black infants in New Jersey is 13.3%, which is 51% higher than the rate for white infants in the state. New Jersey also ranks in the bottom third of states for children being up to date on immunizations at age two (35th out of 50), with stark disparities across socio-economic and racial lines.

The Burke Foundation believes that addressing these disparities requires investment in high-quality, scalable programming that prioritizes young children and families. Investments in the earliest years promote better health outcomes in the short term and provide significant social and economic returns in the long term. These new grants reflect the Foundation’s deep commitment to supporting nurturing, responsive relationships between caregivers and young children to foster health, well-being, and resilience for a lifetime.

Dr. David Willis, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy, applauded these new investments. “As a pediatrician and policymaker, I am pleased to see the Burke Foundation’s emphasis on early relational health,” he said. “Having supportive, nurturing relationships early in life has been shown to bolster a child’s resilience and lead to better social, emotional and physical health outcomes.”