Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we put out the call to our Healthy Start participants to let us know what they are thankful for this year. We received several responses from families who have endured so much during the pandemic, exacerbating obstacles that existed pre-COVID-19. Highlighted this month is Maddie’s story (found below). I love this because it not only shows Maddie’s resilience and determination to better her family’s circumstances, but also demonstrates the collective effort to help her through her community health worker, Shanice.

As I reflect on this year, I am so grateful for the dedication of the Nurture KC staff to serve as a constant source of support and guidance to the families we serve. Our community health workers problem-solve daily and with a compassionate heart to help families often facing daunting barriers on everything from food insecurity to homelessness to domestic violence. For many women, pregnancy is an especially vulnerable time and having a community health worker walking beside them provides the strength needed to succeed.

This Thanksgiving, I ask you to consider Nurture KC in your plans for Giving Tuesday. Your Giving Tuesday donation will help some local families in great need, getting their babies off to a healthy start. As Maddie’s story shows us, we cannot do it alone.

With Gratitude,
Tracy Russell
Executive Director, Nurture KC
Why we ask for your support this Giving Tuesday, Nov. 30

How did Maddie go from “in the street and lost in life” to breaking the cycle of poverty and now thriving?

Maddie carved out a better life through the support of Nurture KC’s Healthy Start program and her community health worker, Shanice, within the program. Maddie enrolled in Healthy Start when she was pregnant with her first daughter. Welcoming baby Lehani into the world spurred Maddie to make her goals a reality with guidance from Shanice. Maddie left her part-time, low-wage job for a full-time job with benefits. She now works in customer service for an insurance company and does so from home. Shanice also taught Maddie how to care for her child – as a newborn, then infant, then toddler. Life was happy and stable with bills being paid and a roof over their heads.

Unfortunately, the road turned bumpy again when Maddie struggled with postpartum depression after welcoming another daughter, Camila. Once again, Shanice was by Maddie’s side. She connected Maddie with services to overcome her depression. Shanice was a consistent, positive presence in her life. Maddie and her husband also strengthened their relationship and their family flourished. They overcame the odds, and even recently purchased their first home where they will spend Christmas as a family of four!

Will you help Nurture KC build bright futures this holiday season? With your financial support, we can rally behind moms like Maddie and change lives. Our Healthy Start program is unique, as it connects each of our moms one-on-one with a community health worker to have a safe pregnancy and healthy baby. Last year, we served 346 families! Now, more than ever, we can use your support. Thank you for your consideration and generosity this Giving Tuesday.

Nurture KC increasing public awareness about maternal health

This Fall our Executive Director, Tracy Russell, has been asked by news outlets and health policy organizations to share insights on how to improve maternal health. Two recent opportunities include:

  • Healthcare IT News / HIMSS -- Senior Editor, Kat Jercich, interviewed Russell about maternal morbidity and potential solutions with a special focus on health equity. Learn more about this news outlet at

  • MATCH Coalition -- Russell was the guest speaker for the November meeting, along with Sharla Smith of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, discussing the maternal health needs of Kansas. The mission of MATCH is to be the leading advisor on digital health for maternal health, impacting policy, regulations and practices. Learn more at

"Both locally and nationally, Nurture KC is being recognized as an expert on improving maternal health -- thanks to Tracy's expertise. The success of our annual meeting this summer, coupled with the publication of Nurture KC's Maternal Morbidity in Kansas City Report, also helped increase awareness about our mission and how much work our staff does on a daily basis," says Angie Henderson, Nurture KC's Communications Director.

Note: The Maternal Morbidity in Kansas City Report is now available to the public at Please share with your networks!
Partner provides our Healthy Start families with groceries

Just in time for Thanksgiving, University Health (formerly Truman Medical Centers), provided bags of fresh produce and grocery gift cards to families in our Healthy Start program. Families drove-through Nurture KC headquarters to receive these items, along with diapers if they were due to pick up. We appreciate the long-standing support of University Health.
What is the Healthy Start Shopping Mart?

Kuddos to these moms in our Healthy Start program! They are shopping at our in-house Healthy Start Shopping Mart with points they accumulated by taking their children to the doctor, getting vaccinated, going to school, maintaining jobs and more through our program. Families can redeem points to get such items as diaper bags, baby bathtubs, feeding chairs, strollers, toys, clothes and personal care products.

Learn more about Healthy Start at
Check out our social channels

Be sure to visit Nurture KC's social media channels this week to see some of our Healthy Start families share what they're thankful for this Thanksgiving. We think it will warm your heart this holiday. Please share a post or two if you feel so compelled to help us spread the spirit of the season.

You can find us at:

Happy Thanksgiving to all our members! We are thankful for your support.

THANK YOU to Kylene Yelton for renewing your membership.

THANK YOU to Project Eagle for renewing its
organizational membership at the Donor Level.
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Kansas City, MO 64111