About The Foundation

Our Vision

Students harness their talent, passion and commitment to reduce infant and maternal mortality.

We engage, encourage and support students to organize, plan and implement efforts for the greater good of serving mothers and babies who lack access to quality healthcare. Students at the University of Notre Dame have embraced this mission and vision and are taking action.

Supporting and Affirming Student-Leaders
Our Driving Force for Good

University of Notre Dame Students Leading the Way: Alexandra Hicks and a talented, dedicated and enthusiastic group of student-leaders make up the Executive Leadership Team for the “Games for Change Club” at the University of Notre Dame. This team of inspired students are launching the national effort to create awareness and raise funds to reduce infant mortality through the mission of Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation.

Developing philanthropy, community, and business leaders now and into the future: Students are provided with the opportunity to learn and apply leadership, business planning and project management skills. Students essentially operate a small business as they take ownership for leading, organizing, planning and implementing their business plan. That plan includes creating awareness, communicating through print and social media, raising money, recruiting volunteers, marketing, and managing finances. This experience is an impressive credential on student resumes and helps prepare them for life after graduation.

Throughout their philanthropic experience with the Foundation, students are introduced to guest speakers who are business and humanitarian professionals who model philanthropic and community leadership. Students learn from these leaders about the importance and impact of philanthropy, how to get involved, and to make impact.

The outcome from this Foundation student leadership program, is that students are prepared and encouraged to pursue community and volunteer leadership roles beyond graduation. Students learn from a real-life experience of service by helping to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and improving access to healthcare for moms and babies, by raising funds to provide telemedicine and transportation solutions.

We invite student organizations in universities, colleges and high schools to join this cause for the moms and babies who need our help and support. Please join us by contacting us at info@s4hmb.org.

Foundation Board

Richard Hester

Board Chair

Kevin O'Keefe

Foundation President & CEO

Vicki Mech Hester

Board Vice Chair

Jim Austin

Board Treasurer

Mike Murphy

Board Secretary

Jason Mueller

Board Member

Alexandra Hicks

Student Board Member, Notre Dame

Katherine Melbert

Student Board Member, Villanova

Dr. Cameual Wright, OBGYN

Board Member

Jeff Risinger

Board Legal Counsel

Letter From the President

Dear Students, Friends and Partners:

Losing a baby is devastating, and the grief-journey for parents and families, painful. I know parents who have lost their babies. They have shared with me their paths to engaging their grief and moving forward in their lives. It is a heartbreaking process and one that is painfully familiar to me. Our family too, lost a baby son due to premature birth. He would be completing high school and preparing to go off to college this year

.

Our family was fortunate to have access to quality healthcare, provided through our employers, but many current and soon-to-be mothers do not. Geographic and transportation barriers serve as significant obstacles to many women, particularly those who live in poverty or are on the threshold of poverty. This lack of access puts both mothers and their infants at risk. Many of these deaths are preventable.

Mission Focus: We are taking-action to improve access to healthcare for moms and babies by addressing geographic disparities. We raise and allocate funds that deliver innovative solutions to improve access, including, telemedicine, transportation, and other community initiatives.

My personal and professional experience has fueled my passion to reduce infant and maternal deaths. This is where my vocation and avocation intersect.

Professional Passion for Mission:
Over a 20-year period, I was fortunate to serve as President and CEO of a large, nationally recognized children’s hospital foundation. One of our priorities was to address infant and maternal mortality in our home state of Indiana.

Through this commitment we learned…

  • The correlation between healthy moms = healthy babies.
  • The contributing factors of poverty in the U.S. are also root causes of infant and maternal mortality.
  • Recognizing that the United States, alarmingly, has among the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.

During my 20-year tenure as leader of the children’s hospital foundation, I was pleased to find that young adults, particularly college students, share our passion for promoting healthy children and families. We joined young people from schools and campuses of all sizes to build a student-driven fundraising network that is a national model for supporting children’s healthcare. With the combined force of support by students, individual and corporate partners, we were fortunate to raise more than $500 million to care for children and families.

The totality of my personal and professional experiences has compelled me towards the important work we are doing today. With support of exceptional student-leaders, we have founded the Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation.

We are enthusiastically working as partners to reduce infant and maternal mortality in the United States through awareness, fundraising initiatives, and engagement of other student-leaders throughout the country to join this important cause.

We are committed to work with students, individuals, corporate partners, and foundations to rally around this vitally important mission. With your generous support, and that of students and other partners across the country, we will save and improve the lives of moms and infants.

With gratitude for your help and support,

Kevin O’Keefe
President and CEO
Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation, Inc.