project leader
Bridget S
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the project

Families of Upstate, New York need a midwifery-led, out-of-hospital birth option that is equitable and accessible to all. 

With a greater understanding of our country's maternal mortality and morbidity crisis coupled with the numerous rights violations and restrictions imposed on birthing people in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are seeking a different approach to their maternity care and birth experiences. However, there are very few options for alternatives in Upstate, NY. While home birth with a midwife is an option, these midwives often have limited availability and the majority of the time, clients must pay for their services out of pocket without the certainty of insurance reimbursement. There are two birthing facilities in Buffalo, NY but neither are both midwifery-led and licensed by the State. 

We are working to establish a licensed, midwifery-led, freestanding birth center in Rochester, NY. 

However, establishing a licensed, freestanding birth center in New York State is no easy task. While birth centers have grown over 80% nationwide in the last 10 years, there are still only two licensed and accredited birth centers statewide with one of them located downstate in Brooklyn. Though freestanding birth centers are much smaller and strictly focus on supporting a low-risk population, New York still requires them to adhere to the same regulatory guidelines and licensure process as large hospital systems by submitting an application for a certificate of need. As it currently stands, this application process is both time-consuming and excessively costly. However, we must navigate this step before we can even consider beginning construction on our facility.

While there are quite a few steps to the process, we are confident this task is achievable, especially with the right people on board. 

We are dedicated to seeing this through because we are focused on accomplishing the bigger goal of providing the families of the Greater Rochester Area the option of being cared for in birth and beyond by midwives in a licensed, freestanding birth center. This first phase of fundraising will help us complete the certificate of need application that will grant us state licensure and make way for the construction of our birth center. State licensure provides equity and accessibility to our center while supporting its sustainability.

The money we raise will allow us to partner with the appropriate professionals that will give our birth center the best possible chance of navigating this complicated certficate of need process with as few unnecessary delays or costly errors as possible.


The families of Upstate, NY have waited long enough for the midwifery care provided in a licensed, freestanding birth center. 


the steps

Once the funds are raised*, we can:

  • Engage our architect (~$30,000) to complete the drawings of the center facility and ensure it will meet all regulatory codes and guidelines for a New York State licensed, midwifery-led birth center. 
  • Consult our attorney (~$20,000) in order to establish our center with assurance of compliance. 
  • Hire our medical consultant (~$28,000) who will coordinate the numerous aspects of the certificate of need application process and ensure we have all appropriate information required for licensure. Once we've submitted the application, our consultant will help us navigate the review and approval process at the state level as smoothly as possible. 
  • File our certificate of need application ($2,000) for state licensure and go before the review board.

When we've been approved for licensure, we can begin phase two of the birth center process - construction! 

*There is advocacy work being done currently as well as proposed legislation that could potentially alter and ease the certificate of need process for midwifery-led birth centers in New York State. If this occurs while we are fundraising, any money raised will then be shifted to the next phase(s) of our project (construction, equipment, center operations, etc.).

why we're doing it

The current system of maternity care in the US is ill-fitted for and failing the majority of people giving birth. The one-size fits all approach often places healthy, low-risk people in circumstances in which they receive acute care services that directly impact the normal, physiologic birth process, strips them of much of their autonomy and places them at higher risk for more invasive interventions, poor outcomes and significantly reduced satisfaction in their experience. The midwifery-model of care centers its approach around and enhances the whole-person wellbeing of their patients. Their time-intensive approach in the context of a freestanding birth center leads to higher rates of overall satisfaction in care and significantly better outcomes for both birthing people and their babies.

As birth professionals who have seen the differences in these approaches first hand, we have seen how often the current system leaves families confused, frustrated, voiceless and disempowered with very little recourse. The variations and discrepancies in quality of care between providers and birthing locations in our community is staggering. We are tired of hearing the same stories over and again and the status quo perpetuated indefinitely within a system that is not working for the majority of families. We will no longer look to the system to initiate desperately needed change. We are bringing change to the system by completely reimagining it. We are reclaiming what it means to care for someone giving birth, centering it around them and their families and  We are reimagining what it looks like to provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive, gentle care in an environment that is built around supporting those values first and foremost. We are designing a system that centers people over protocols and autonomy over hierarchy, where we embody how to treat each person with genuine kindness and respect and where people are treated like experts in themselves and empowered to take ownership of their transformative life experiences.


Disbursed budget 3.1.21:

The fees we've raised will go towards the cost of filing an application for the Certificate of Need required in New York State for Midwife-Led Birth Centers to receive licensure ($2,000). The remaining $14,645.20 will go towards the $15,000 cost for hiring an attorney to review the contracts and paperwork for licensure and facility construction.  

  Normal Fees
TOTAL RAISED = $17,195.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $514.80

Original budget:

The following fees will cover the costs needed to apply for the Certificate of Need required in New York State for Midwife-Led Birth Centers to receive licensure and begin construction on the facility. 

Architectural Fees ($25,000) - A number of architectural drawings are required to complete the application process.

Attorney Fees ($15,000) - Filing paperwork and contracts must be reviewed by an attorney. 

Medical Consultant Fees ($35,000) - The consultant helps assemble the numerous pieces of the application and coordinates with the various professionals involved to help it go smoothly. When the application is submitted, the consultant represents us before the state and ensures we have all the items we need when we're in the review and approval process. 

Application Filing Fees ($2,000) - Required to be submitted along with the application in order to be considered.

BUDGET (revised, without ioby fiscal sponsorship fees):

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $79,418

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.


ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $4,187
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $83,733.70

Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.


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