BMO Harris, United Way team up to fight infant mortality

MILWAUKEE -- The fight against infant mortality in Milwaukee got some much-needed help Monday morning, September 10th. BMO Harris Bank announced it is donating $750,000 dollars over three years to United Way of Greater Milwaukee to promote healthy births.

"As adults, every infant that dies in this community is our responsibility when it's preventable," President and CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee Mary Lou Young said.

In the City of Milwaukee last year, 100 babies died before their first birthday. Combating infant mortality isn't easy. There are many factors at play, including funding.

"That`s not simply a corporate donation. It's an investment in the health and well being in the most vulnerable group in our community -- our children," Executive Vice President of Retail Banking at BMO Harris Bank Brad Chapin said.

The funds will help United Way launch its Healthy Birth Initiative and hire a project director to make this a community-wide effort.

Progressive Community Health Centers is also benefiting from the donation. United Way is granting the health agency $150,000 over the next three years.

"We are going to help them fill a big gap in their talent pool and allow them to hire a full-time nurse that will be dedicated to prenatal patients," Young said.

In Milwaukee, the black-to-white infant mortality gap is among the highest in the nation.

As chair of the Healthy Birth Initiative, Mayor Tom Barrett set a goal to reduce Milwaukee's African American infant mortality rate by 15% and the overall rate by 10% by 2017.

"We have to change what`s going on in our city because there are too many babies that are dying and there are too many babies of color who are dying in this city before they reach their first birthday," Mayor Barrett said.

CLICK HERE for additional information and resources on Infant Mortality via United Way's website.

CLICK HERE for safe sleeping tips for infants via the Milwaukee Health Department's website.