FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the first time in 30 years, there is a new number one national March for Babies corporate partner, the March of Dimes announced during its annual March of Dimes Summer Conference. Dr. Jennifer Howse, president of the March of Dimes, told the hundreds of attendees that Publix Super Markets, Inc. has earned that distinction.
"We congratulate Publix, their associates, and customers for this outstanding accomplishment," says Dr. Howse. "Publix's commitment to our goal of giving every baby a fighting chance has been unwavering for 21 years. The impact of this generous contribution to help fight premature birth, the leading cause of death among babies in the United States, is significant and substantial."
Publix, based in Lakeland, Florida, with 1,120 retail stores in six states: Alabama (61), Georgia (182), Florida (768), South Carolina (56), Tennessee (39) and North Carolina (14), has worked alongside the March of Dimes for more than two decades. This year, during their annual three week in-store and associate March for Babies fundraising campaign, Publix customers and associates raised more than $7.3 million, an 18 percent year-over-year increase for the second straight year. This brings the Publix 21-year total to an impressive contribution of more than $65 million to help more moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.
"I'd like to give a big thank you to the more than 180,000 associates across our company who give of themselves every day in our stores and communities. Our people truly make the difference, and without them, we wouldn't have been able to achieve our stellar campaign results," says Todd Jones, Publix CEO & President. "And with the passion of our associates, comes the generosity of our customers. We've always said, we have the best customers in the industry. And each year, they rise to the occasion to support healthy babies."
March for Babies is Publix's largest-grossing customer facing campaign. The company also raises awareness within the communities it serves through outreach by associates who engage the hearts and minds of customers, Mr. Jones says.
Since Publix joined the March of Dimes in 1995, there have been many breakthroughs for mothers and babies, including:
After years of March of Dimes advocacy, in 2008, all 50 states began to require screening of all newborns for 21 or more serious but treatable conditions immediately after birth.
The March of Dimes has opened five Prematurity Research Centers, a network of centers pioneering a "team science" approach that brings together scientists from a wide array of fields to find the unknown causes of preterm birth.
In April 2016, the Food & Drug Administration approved voluntary fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid after years of petitioning by the March of Dimes. Hispanic women are about 20 percent more likely to have babies with serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube birth defects.
March for Babies is the March of Dimes largest fundraiser and America's favorite walking event. It takes place during the last weekend of April in nearly 500 communities nationwide. March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, and top sponsors Famous Footwear, Macy's, Cigna, United Airlines, and Mission Pharmacal.
Founded in 1930, Publix Super Markets is the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. Publix and our associates excel in community involvement, volunteerism and a commitment to our market areas and beyond. Publix's commitment to diversity has contributed to their success in being a great place to work and shop. For more information visit their website publix.com or find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites at marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.