Most know by now that last year, when tennis great Serena Williams had her first baby, she experienced some life-threatening complications. Williams developed blood clots in her lungs, and her coughing caused her C-section to rupture. During the surgery to fix the rupture, doctors found a hematoma in her abdomen. She shared her story in a self-penned article on CNN.com, citing that the experience opened her eyes to the dangers of childbirth; dangers that are significantly higher for black women. In fact, black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes.
Now, Williams is taking her concern to a new level, investing in a startup working to end the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. Williams, together with investor Mark Cuban, has invested millions into Mahmee, a black-owned company formed in 2014. "Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies", said Williams. The online platform provides women with the tools to track their health after giving birth and connects them with health professionals to help with questions or concerns. The company believes it is using technology to fill just one gap, albeit an important one, in the fight against maternal mortality.
Why We Like It
Traditional philanthropy isn't the only way to have impact. Williams, through her firm Serena Ventures, is investing in a for-profit social good company. In other words, Williams has chosen to use social impact investing to move the needle on maternal mortality rates for black mothers. Additionally, the cause area is very clearly one that is personal and authentic to Williams. After suffering from life-threatening complications after she birthed her daughter, Williams became aware of the disproportionate rates of injury and death in black women following childbirth, and she made an educated decision as to how she would utilize her resources to affect change.
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