Twenty-five years ago, NC babies were dying at a rate higher than anywhere else in the nation. As a result, the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation was established as a nonprofit in 1990 by Governor James B. Martin through Executive Order #99 and a five-year, $5 million grant from (then) Glaxo, Inc., to coordinate the activities of the Governor’s Commission on the Reduction of Infant Mortality (1990-95).

The North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation has evolved throughout the years, becoming a highly recognized advocate for improving the health and well-being of women and children across the state. We are proud of the work we do on behalf of North Carolinians and will continue to educate, advocate, provide and lead in an effort to positively impact future generations of Tar Heel children.

  • The Foundation has coordinated six of the state’s most successful public health education campaigns designed to reduce infant mortality and promote healthy lifestyles for the women and children of North Carolina. Three of the Foundation’s public education campaigns received national awards; one being recognized as a promising practice in cultural competency.
  • Annually, through mid-2012, the Foundation distributed more than three million educational materials, FREE of charge, to community organizations, healthcare providers, businesses and individuals across the state.
  • Between 1991 and 2002, we awarded more than $4 million to 269 public and private agencies to support programs impacting infant mortality
  • In 2009, 82 small, one-time grants were awarded to community based and government organizations in 51 counties. The grants supported a wide range of local programs to improve the health of women of childbearing age
  • As a result of the Foundation’s promotional efforts of NC Health Choice, more than 130,000 children are enrolled in this publicly funded health insurance program

Training and Technical Assistance

  • All licensed childcare providers working with infants receive state mandated “safe sleep” training developed by the Foundation in an effort to reduce the risks of SIDS
  • In 2003, the Foundation hosted a statewide Summit on Low Birthweight and Prematurity, culminating in the dissemination of a Final Report, concluding that, while some very creative, innovative and successful programs exist, infant mortality in North Carolina remains a major public health concern

Research and Advising

  • Through focus groups, discussions and key informant interviews (in English and Spanish), the Foundation has produced reports and made recommendations to the N.C. Division of Public Health on topics such as:
    • Women’s health-promoting behaviors and use of health services
    • Understanding pregnancy intention
    • New WIC food packet
    • Latino’s perceptions of children with special healthcare needs
    • Latino’s attitudes about teen sex, relationships and acculturation