Impact Funding Team: A Place to Experience Philanthropy; A Chance to Change a Life

Participation in an Impact Funding Team provides an experiential opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the health of Kansans. Mother Watching BabyYour money, your interest, and your skills are all put to use in a unique way to impact the lives of thousands of Kansans. And, as part of the Impact Funding Team, you can learn a lot about this particular field of health and dozens of Kansas organizations working in that field.

How can we make a difference?

Initiation of breastfeeding promptly after birth, and maintaining exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, brings numerous benefits for babies, for mothers, and for families. Exclusive, sustained breastfeeding was the norm throughout all but recent human history.  Unfortunately, factors in modern life — commercial, cultural, and economic, among others — combine to raise obstacles which can make it difficult for moms to start and maintain breastfeeding.  Since 2010, the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund has awarded grants to improve breastfeeding rates in Kansas.  Our experience has been that a little money, combined with the dedicated work of organizations and individuals, makes a big difference in the availability of breastfeeding support in local Kansas communities.  Here are just a few examples of the programs that have been developed through small grants from the Health Fund:

  • Loan or rental programs to make quality breast pumps available in local communities
    (especially helpful when mom goes back to work)Mother Kissing Toddler's Cheek
  • Peer support groups
  • Continuing education and advancement of lactation consultants
  • Professional education for medical providers
  • Walk-in clinics to help moms with breastfeeding issues
  • Lactation rooms and breastfeeding-friendly policies in businesses and public places
  • Information on breastfeeding for pregnant women and new mothers
  • Guides for women returning to work (when most women stop breastfeeding)
  • Hospital gift bags for breastfeeding success instead of formula promotion

These are just a few of the ways small amounts of funding can make a big difference in the lives of local children and families.  We hope you will join us and help us expand these efforts and find new ways of supporting breastfeeding in local communities.

How does the Impact Funding Team approach work?

Individuals, groups, and organizations join the Impact Funding Team for a year. The combined funds are matched by the Health Ministry Fund, creating a pool to be used for grant awards to organizations working in the selected field of health. For 2015, breastfeeding was once again selected as our area of interest.

Close up of baby's foot in mother's handWith the assistance of Health Fund staff, members of the Team develop a written Request for Proposals (RFP) which outlines the types of awards to be made from the pool of funds to organizations (nonprofit and government). These awards in 2014 and 2015 went to organizations with strong plans to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in Kansas.

After interested organizations respond to the RFP issued by the Health Fund on behalf of the team, their written proposals are summarized for award decisions by the team members. In a democratic (one vote per individual team member or group) process, the team provides advice to the Health Fund on selection of grant awards for the combined pool of funds. Giving strong consideration to that advice, awards will be made by the Health Ministry Fund to the selected organizations and reports from that work will be provided to Impact Funding Team members.