Right! From The Start will continue work in the Delta through a new $1.9 million W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant to the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.   The initiative will work to increase the breastfeeding rates of extremely low birth weight babies utilizing a multiagency approach to ensure better outcomes and effect systemic change.  The funding began April 1 and continues through March 2019.

Babies in Mississippi have long had a greater chance of dying before their first birthdays than babies in any other state. Preterm birth rates have reached epidemic proportions in Mississippi with the highest rates of preterm births in the Delta.  This project will address breastfeeding initiation for very low birth weight babies admitted to the Level III neonatal care unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson.  The target geographic areas for this project are five counties in the Delta having the highest number of extremely low and very low birth weight babies (Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Sunflower, Washington).    The 10-month planning for this grant was also funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“The Community Foundation is proud to accept this grant and provide much needed support for premature babies throughout the Delta”, said Scott Hollis, chairman of the Community Foundation.    “Our mission is to connect people who care with causes that matter, and with this grant,  infant health is our cause.”

The project collaborators will work as a team to support and encourage breastfeeding and the transport of breast milk by the mother for the targeted population low birth weight babies while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the UMMC.  Support of the mother in the community is provided while the baby is in the NICU and continues after discharge.  The project is  breastfeeding care coordination providing services and support for the mother.

Sannie Snell will serve as the Program Director.   “I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Community Foundation and to assist in leading a collaborative effort with various agencies and organizations throughout the state to make a difference in birth outcomes and improve the lives of vulnerable children throughout the Delta”, stated Snell,

Snell has extensive experience in healthcare administration, business development, and start-up operations, marketing, health planning within varied health care settings including corporate, private and public health organizations.  Snell’s previous experience included vice president of at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis and a consultant for Alpha Maxx Healthcare.

“Our community foundation appreciates this support to improve the health of babies in our region,” said Community Foundation president Tom Pittman. “Health for children is one of our foundation’s top two priorities. Healthier children will create a better quality of life for our region.”

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States.  Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.  The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes.  Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

The Community Foundation manages 217 donor-established funds and has distributed $16.7 million to support more than 420 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the foundation.  Established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501.c.3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties.  A board of 19 volunteer civic leaders governs the Community Foundation.  Learn more about the Community Foundation at www.cfnm.org or call 662.449.5002.