A new funding opportunity from the Wisconsin Partnership Program will provide up to $2 million to strengthen and expand the capacity of community-based organizations and community models of care to help improve the health of Wisconsin’s Black mothers and infants. Through Strengthening Community Solutions to Improve Black Maternal and Infant Health Request for Partnerships, the Wisconsin Partnership Program aims to support a broad range of community partners and effective approaches to improving Black maternal and child health outcomes. 

The Wisconsin Partnership Program has been committed to reducing health disparities and inequities in maternal and infant health outcomes for many years. This new funding opportunity reflects our continued commitment and provides an expanded and evolving approach to reducing the barriers that are preventing our state’s Black babies from reaching their first birthdays.

Grant program background

The challenges of improving Black maternal health and infant mortality have existed in Wisconsin for too long. Wisconsin remains one of the worst states in America for a Black child to be born. Wisconsin Black infants are about three times more likely to die before their first birthday than babies born to white mothers. Moreover, Black mothers in Wisconsin face severe complications during pregnancy, have a higher rate of pregnancy related deaths and severe maternal morbidities than white mothers.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program has been supporting efforts to improve Black maternal and child health outcomes for many years including through investments such as the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families and grants for projects including the following:

With a new grant program, the Wisconsin Partnership Program seeks to expand this funding opportunity to a broad field of applicants. The Wisconsin Partnership Program is encouraged by the growing number of efforts to address this issue and believes it is important to support and engage a wide range of partners who are taking different approaches to support improved maternal and child health outcomes.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program welcomes the broadening awareness at both the national and local levels for urgent attention to this crisis. For example, at the national level, influential health policy thinkers like the Aspen Health Strategy Group of the Aspen Institute recently released the report — Reversing the U.S. Maternal Mortality Crisis and here in Wisconsin, there have been at least 11 local declarations that racism is a public health crisis and contributes to poor health outcomes of populations and individuals.  Encouraged by this growing awareness, the Wisconsin Partnership Program is embarking on this new funding strategy. Through supporting effective, community-led solutions with this RFP, to exploring future work that addresses systems change, the Wisconsin Partnership Program remains committed to supporting communities to help steer the state toward progress and solutions that will improve health outcomes for Wisconsin’s Black women and children. 

Goal of grant program

To help address the complex challenge of reducing maternal and child health disparities, the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program will allocate up to $2 million over two years to organizations to expand and strengthen successful strategies and approaches for improving Black maternal and infant health. Priority will be given to those organizations that can illustrate a track-record of successfully supporting Black communities and that have established trust-based relationships with Black women, specifically women of childbearing age and who are already mothers.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program recognizes the power of interconnected programming and collaboration focused on the whole family and will give consideration to organizations connecting to both the adult (mother/father/partner/caregiver) and infant, a two-generation approach (2-Gen). Promising 2-Gen practices build family well-being by intentionally meeting the needs of young children and the adults in their lives together.

Funding scope and duration

The Wisconsin Partnership Program will provide up to $2 million to strengthen and expand the capacity of community-based organizations and community models of care to serve women and families more effectively, thereby improving health outcomes. Each award will be for a maximum of $150,000 for up to two years. This funding prioritizes areas of the state with the highest populations of Black families and Black maternal and child health disparities: Dane County, Kenosha County, Milwaukee County, Racine County, and Rock County. Other areas of the state are also eligible to apply.

Proposals must address at least one of the four priority areas:

  1. Supporting Black women’s health before a possible pregnancy
  2. Expanding community-based models of care to be responsive to the desires/needs of pregnant Black women
  3. Strengthening access to post-partum maternal care and infant needs
  4. Prioritizing the needs of the infant and the family adults together

Applicant eligibility

Eligible community lead organizations must be a Wisconsin-based, nonprofit, IRS tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization, or a tribal or local government entity.

Application materials and links

Start a letter of intent

Key dates and deadlines for the Maternal and Child Health Grant Program

All dates are 2021.

June 1

Request for proposals released

June 28

Letter of intent due

July 22

Invitation to submit full proposal

Aug. 23

Full proposals due

Oct. 11

Award decision

Dec. 1

Earliest project start date