Your Support Matters: A Conversation with Ebony Staton, Board President
There are many reasons to support Maternity Care Coalition (MCC), and many ways to become connected with our work, including a year-end donation.
- MCC: As MCC’s Board President, you embody and witness the various ways that MCC’s community of donors can support our work. Why do you give your time and talents to support MCC? Why should others become a donor and/or continue to support MCC?
I joined the Board of MCC three years ago because I wanted to be part of an organization with integrity and credibility. I think that family is the center of everything, but when we look at how communities are built, including certain policies and economic structures, we don't always see family reflected at the center.
MCC recognizes that for us to live happy and healthy lives, we have to make programs and partnerships to support the family, and at MCC we are at the forefront of the best and most innovative approaches.
Over the last three years and now as Board President, I have lent my talents and network to the mission of MCC not just because of the work we do, but also because of how we do it. The mission of MCC focuses on families that lack access and resources, due to structural determinants of health. We work towards a reality where all families have access to the support they need to birth with dignity, parent with autonomy, and raise healthy and thriving children.
For other donors, leaders, or possible volunteers who might not know yet how they want to contribute but are passionate about the mission, MCC has the infrastructure, collaborative approach, and intentionality to bring people together. As a credible, community-based organization, donors and supporters can be sure they are contributing to an organization with integrity, both to the beneficiaries of this work and to partner organizations. Whether you give a check, your time and talent, or a connection to your networks, you will know your contribution matters.
- MCC: MCC holds a unique, community-centered approach to improving health equity and birth outcomes and providing early childhood care and education. What piece of MCC’s work are you most excited about or proud of, and why?
Ebony: I am so proud of MCC’s home visiting programs. These interventions are critically important and when I think about how these programs pivoted to successfully navigate through COVID, I see an organization which continues to meet people where they are and help them get to where they want to be.
The fact that people trust MCC Advocates to come into their home is a testimony to the agency’s ability to build trust and a rapport with families. I am so proud when I hear that parents consider their Advocate a member of their extended family and know that Advocates are there to help their family through possibly difficult periods of adjustment. Families share these experiences with us, and also with their neighbors and friends, and I know that word of mouth goes a long way to building trust within communities.
We are not the only organization that provides home visiting, but MCC’s unique approach allows parents to lead, and decide how they want these first stages with their new child to look and feel, while leaning on MCC experts for guidance.
I appreciate that despite doing this work for decades, MCC always seeks to finetune or innovate programs based on families’ evolving needs and based off feedback from the community, which informs the agency's research and evaluation.
- MCC: This year, MCC is focusing on the theme of birth with dignity. What does birth with dignity mean to you?
Ebony: Not everyone is afforded opportunities and choice to grow their family in the way they envision. I know from my own traumatic fertility journey, that birth with dignity can look different for every person. I needed an advocate to help me understand what was happening to my body and the healthcare choices that were available. Ultimately, I made the choice to make a family a different way and adopted.
I go back to the idea that family is the center, and we all want the ability to choose what is best for us, and what is healthy for us. However, family happens, and people need help, resources, and advocates. Even with access to great healthcare, families need a community of care and support.
- MCC: How does MCC’s work support a future where all people have the resources and ability to birth with dignity?
Ebony: Pregnancy, birth, and early parenting should be the happiest and healthiest time for a parent and a child, and often proves to be an extremely vulnerable time for a growing and changing family. So often, due to the structural determinants of health and lack of access to the best healthcare, families are put into a position to simply deal with whatever situations they are put in while pregnant, giving birth, and parenting.
MCC stands in the gap. We say no to simply enduring and instead seek to fill the gap and provide every family support, safety, and choice in creating birth, pregnancy, and parenting journeys that are right for them. MCC supports families in having choice around their own cultural practices and allows families to bring their own traditions and cultural practices in the room.
When I see the bigger picture of MCC’s work, I see attention to each parent and child as complex people, and each family as a unique unit that needs and deserves support to achieve all their goals. MCC is working with one family at a time, to reach a future where birth with dignity is a reality for all.