Turning 15 is not the only milestone mothers2mothers (m2m) is celebrating this year. 2016 also marks two other anniversaries – 10 years of partnership with our first and largest corporate funder, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), whose generous support has brought health and hope for so many, like Princess and her two talented daughters; and 15 years of partnership with The Starr Foundation, whose $7,000 grant in 2001 got m2m off the ground in the first place and whose continued support has allowed us to grow and innovate.
m2m and J&J were brought together a decade ago by the common goals of making sure that no child is born with HIV and mothers are able to live long and healthy lives. J&J’s first support involved funding two m2m sites in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, which substantially increased the number of women accessing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services there.
Since then, J&J has been more than just a “funder;” they are a true partner in every sense of the word and have made it possible for us to grow into the organisation we are today. With their guidance, m2m learned to prioritise data collection and develop a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system, enabling us to capture the impact of our work and quickly identify and address performance issues. Over the years, they have continued to provide invaluable thought partnership, and their generous support has made it possible for m2m to expand to other African countries, in both clinics and communities, and employ more HIV-positive women to help more women and their families seek care and adhere to treatment.
Over the next weeks, we will be sharing stories of lives that have been changed on the way to zero through this partnership. We hope you enjoy the beautiful singing in this first story of Princess, a former m2m Mentor Mother and client, and her two daughters (watch video above).While J&J helped m2m expand and improve its programme, The Starr Foundation is the reason m2m exists in the first place. When m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser was trying to turn his Mentor Mother idea into a reality, Marie Matthews, whose children Mitch’s obstetrician father had delivered, introduced him to The Starr Foundation. The Starr Foundation’s donation of $7,000 funded m2m’s very first site in Cape Town, South Africa, at Groote Schuur Hospital. In 2002, a $25,000 grant from The Starr Foundation put m2m on the map by funding Mitch to take a group of Mentor Mothers to Barcelona to speak at the International AIDS Conference. Since then, The Starr Foundations’s continued support for m2m, with their unrestricted funding, has allowed us to grow, innovate, and lead.