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March of Dimes

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March of Dimes

Country: United States of America
National Headquarters: March of Dimes Foundation

National Office 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue White Plains, NY 10605

Company Head: Dr. Jennifer L. Howse
Date Founded: January 1938

The March of Dimes is a non-profit, health organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.



The March of Dimes was founded in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the growing epidemic of polio cases in the U.S. The organization was originally known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. "Comedian Eddie Cantor coined the phrase "March of Dimes" (playing on the popular newsreel feature "The March of Time"), appealing to radio listeners all over the country to send their dimes directly to the White House."[1] The organization officially changed its name to the March of Dimes in 1979.

A Cure

Dr. Jonas Salk, with funding from the March of Dimes, found a cure for polio some 17 years later in 1948. He first tested the vaccine on children who had already recovered from polio and then on volunteers including him an his family. The vaccine proved to have a 80-90% success rate of preventing polio. In the following years, the vaccine became a standard for children across the country. In 1962, the March of Dimes funded Dr. Albert Sabin in the production of an oral vaccine. Today, the polio virus has been all but eradicated in the U.S.


The March of Dimes continues to work tirelessly to save babies. In recent years, March of Dimes-funded grantees have used gene therapy successfully in treating hemophilia and retinitis pigmentosa[2] In addition, their website contains a Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center to help parents to prepare for the birth of a child.


  1. Uniting to Beat Polio. The March of Dimes. 2008. Accessed on February 4, 2008.
  2. The March of Dimes Today. The March of Dimes. 2008. Accessed on February 4, 2008.