Franciscan Health Foundation board members raised more than $19,400 for the Prenatal Assistance Program in Michigan City at a recent reception aimed at matching an anonymous $15,000 contribution.

“This combined educational and fundraising reception was completely the idea of two of our incredible Foundation Board members who toured our Prenatal Assistance space this summer and were moved to raise awareness of and funds for the program,” said Franciscan Health Foundation Director of Development Debbie Tatum. “We can’t thank them enough for hosting this amazing event.”

Franciscan Health Foundation Board members Kelly Shikany and Jennifer Hogberg hosted the fundraising reception Oct. 13 at the Franciscan Health Michigan City legacy campus at 301 W. Homer Street, which houses the Prenatal Assistance Program.

“I’m a lifelong resident (of Michigan City) and it’s really important to me that this community is the best it can be,” Shikany said. “It’s about doing the best we can for women and their children. When we have healthy families, it impacts the whole community.”

Hogberg became a member of the Franciscan Health Foundation Board of Directors in spring 2022 and shortly thereafter toured the Michigan City Prenatal Assistance Program facility.

“It was so impactful,” Hogberg said. “Looking at the need is a real driver and the people here care so deeply.”

Franciscan Health Community Health Improvement Director Danielle Crowder said in 2020, the infant mortality rate in LaPorte County was 11.7%, higher than both the state and national averages.

Indiana also ranks eighth in the nation for infant mortality.

“I want to ensure that every single woman out there who is pregnant or parenting has the supportive services that they need to not only be successful in their own role but to mitigate and reduce any risks that may be generationally passed on to their children,” Crowder said.

Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni said the statistics present a unique opportunity to meet an urgent need and praised the work of the Prenatal Assistance Program staff, their community partners and financial supporters for championing the cause.

“They’re helping mothers and infants get the care they need so we can have healthy moms, healthy babies and healthy pregnancies,” Mazzoni said.

The prenatal assistance program began in Crown Point in 2002. In 2021, the program expanded to Hammond and in 2022, grew to include Rensselaer and Michigan City.

The staff in Michigan City is multidisciplinary with case managers and community paramedics who ensure mothers have supportive contact throughout their pregnancy and post-partum 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anyone interested in donating to the Franciscan Health Foundation’s Prenatal Assistance Fund may do so online at this link. More information about the program is available online at this link or by calling the Franciscan Health Foundation at (219) 661-3401.