Our History – Celebrating 22 Years in 2022
In 2000, Ginny Ross and Loa Freeman made the decision to establish a nonprofit organization, the Doula Foundation of Mid-America, Inc. after teaching childbirth education at a local hospital and witnessing so many at-risk women with no support or resources for their pregnancy or birth. Their dream was to make a positive impact on the community by supporting at-risk women through the childbirth process and to ultimately reduce child abuse and neglect to help families grow and thrive. The first donation was received and the first mother received doula services in June.
In October 2001, the Doula Foundation of Mid America is incorporated as a nonprofit. We were the first community-based doula program in Missouri! We had no paid employees; however, Ginny Ross served as the Volunteer Program Director and Loa Freeman served as the Volunteer Executive Director. Ginny and Loa worked from their homes.
The first year budget was $12,000 with all other income from donations. Approximately 20 women received doula services. In 2004, services grow to include prenatal and baby yoga classes, childbirth education, and doula services. That year 39 women received doula services.
In the spring of 2007, an important collaboration with the Springfield/Greene County Health Department WIC program began and classes were held at their facility and the number of families we served increased to 170 per year.
Classes were offered at this new space and at the newly renovated Jordan Valley Community Health Center with the help of increased funding from WIC. The Doula Foundation served on an advisory committee with Jordan Valley and Mercy to bring a comprehensive women and children’s health initiative, Our Healthy Start, to the Springfield community. In 2011, we began providing postpartum doula services to at-risk mothers for up to 12 weeks.
From 2008 – 2019, The Doula Foundation shared office space with Grace United Methodist, Lutheran Family Services, CPO, and Preferred Family Healthcare.
In January of 2019, we received a donated facility. The new facility was made possible by the donation of the building to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ charitable real estate foundation by John Cooper, owner and CEO of The Harry Cooper Supply Co. Cooper and his wife, Mary, support the work and mission of The Doula Foundation. Ownership of the building is expected to transfer to The Doula Foundation in the future.
With incredible support from the community, our organization has been able to steadily grow resulting in over 100,000 services and resources provided to at-risk families in the community!
To date, more than 6,500 expectant families and over 21,000 individuals have received vital physical, emotional, and educational support and resources through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.
Today our team members are certified DONA birth and postpartum doulas, Community Health Workers, Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, Lamaze Childbirth Educators, and prenatal and postpartum yoga instructors. They’ve completed professional training and certificates in adverse childhood experiences, trauma informed care, diversity, equity and inclusion, and CPR.
The Doula Foundation was awarded Top Finalist in Small Non-profit Organization of the Year in 2020 by Southwest Missouri Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
The Doula Foundation has developed partnerships and referrals with over 45 regional agencies and organizations to provide comprehensive case management and resources for the families we work with.