Throughout her long career in international development--including with MCC's peace office in Washington, DC--Luann Martin of McLean, Va., worked to promote the well-being of women and children around the world.

Following Luann’s death in 2015, her family made a generous gift to MCC in honor of her legacy and lifelong passion for maternal and child health and nutrition. This gift of $1 million over the next several years will increase MCC’s capacity to work toward realizing Luann’s lifelong dream of seeing more “healthy children, lives saved and kids growing up with meaning and a future.”

Worldwide, more mothers and children are living each year. The mortality rate of children younger than 5 years has fallen by 53% between 1990 and 2015, and the maternal mortality rate has fallen by 44% since 1990.

But still today, about 1 million newborns die on their very first day of life from preventable causes, and nearly 300,000 women die annually due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth.

The Luann Martin Legacy Fund for Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition will allow MCC to scale up its work with dedicated partners in eastern and central Africa who are helping to save lives by addressing barriers to maternal and child health. MCC's partners will promote a Care Group model in which local health promoters work directly with mothers. This model has been shown to significantly improve health in resource-limited settings.

Projects improving health and preventing disease are an integral part of MCC's development work, which seeks long-term solutions to poverty, hunger and poor health by working alongside local congregations and communities.