Newborn Foundation is honored with 2017 Community Impact Nonprofit Spotlight Award

Organization is saving infants’ lives here in the U.S. and globally

The lives of an estimated 4,2000 U.S. babies have been saved or significantly improved, thanks to the hard work of St. Paul-headquartered Newborn Foundation. This impactful organization was honored with the Nonprofit Spotlight Award at this year’s Community Impact Awards.

The Nonprofit Spotlight Award recognizes a nonprofit of any size that has a transformative story to tell about an individual or group that best illustrates the finest work of the nonprofit.

“We were very honored,” comments Co-Founder and CEO Annamarie Saarinen. “As these awards confirmed, there are so many people in Minnesota making a great impact and so many great organizations in this award category. It’s humbling for us to be considered among them. This award is particularly exciting because it helps spread awareness of our work right here in our community and around the world.”

Founded in 2010, the Newborn Foundation is dedicated to combatting newborn mortality by connecting fragile babies with medical care, and advocating for public health policies that improve maternal, newborn and children’s health across Minnesota, the United States and internationally. The Foundation was among the first to develop a multi-hospital research study, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health, evaluating newborn screening for congenital heart defects, the most common and deadly birth defect. The team went on to help secure the addition of newborn heart screening to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ federally-recommended universal screening panel.

Now 47 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia require the screening and more than 15 million newborns have been screened nationwide.

In addition, the Foundation – through its BORN Project – is implementing newborn pulse oximetry screening in China. This one effort, launched in 2013, has already screened nearly 50,000 newborns in rural and low-resource medical settings, and impacted public health policy in the world’s most populous nation. The Newborn Foundation is also working to combat deaths associated with late diagnosis of pneumonia, the most common killer of children under five years old. They are currently helping bring life-saving screenings to The Philippines, Nigeria, Ethiopia and India, with grants from the London-based Global Innovation Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Nearly 41 percent of the deaths of children under age five are among infants in their first 28 days of life,” she says. “If infants are screened early enough, the most critical medical problems are treatable. Our end goal is to significantly reduce preventable newborn deaths worldwide, by directly impacting policies, implementing sustainable programs and by collaborating with other organizations and global partners.”

The 2017 Community Impact Awards honored businesses, social enterprise organizations, nonprofits, initiatives and individuals making a significant impact on communities in Minnesota. This was our first time recognizing nonprofit organizations in the awards, in honor of their profound influence on the quality of life in our state. This annual awards event is organized by Minnesota Business Magazine and sponsored by Media Relations Agency.

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