/ Healthy Roots Foundation
Matt and Anne Schneider founded the organization now known as the Healthy Roots Foundation in 2009 after their youngest son, Nicholas, was born with a life-threatening birth defect. Below, Matt and Anne share their story of the inspiration and events that led to the Healthy Roots Foundation:
Our youngest son, Nicholas, was born with a life-threatening birth defect and spent the first month of his life being treated at one of the country’s top Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. We were incredibly grateful to Cincinnati Children’s for not only saving his life, but providing our whole family with excellent care.
Improving Children’s Health
After experiencing the intense anxiety of having a critically ill baby, we decided to turn our annual backyard bluegrass party into a family-friendly fundraising event that benefited children’s health through the amazing institution that is Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In September 2009, our organization was founded as Bluegrass for Babies, Inc. The original mission of Bluegrass for Babies was to help improve children’s health through raising funds for the Perinatal Institute of Cincinnati Children’s.
Healthy Lifestyle Model
As we continued our journey as new parents, we discovered that the environments of parents and young children are incredibly important to establishing the foundation for a healthy life. However, we realized that the standard health education provided to prepare new parents and young families in our society had not equipped us with the resources to be able to able to make informed decisions to provide our children with the best possible start to life.
In 2011, we began to leverage the Bluegrass for Babies fundraising event as a way to educate families on practical healthy lifestyle tips and to model healthy lifestyle choices through the operations of the event. For example, we decided to offer concessions that were sourced from local and sustainably raised food purveyors, and entirely eliminated high fructose corn syrup from the food options. Additionally, we felt it was important to become a zero-waste event.
Educational Outreach Programs
Cincinnati Children’s Museum approached us in the fall of 2012 to host health-focused outreach programs based on the family friendly educational tools and activities that we provided to the public at our Bluegrass for Babies Signature Event in 2011. We also adapted these outreach programs as a traveling exhibit that we could host at various family friendly events held throughout the community.
Our Board of Directors became aware that there is a large unmet need in our community in regards to providing young families with the information and tools needed to provide children with the strongest foundations for a healthy life based on the demand of these outreach programs by families and educational organizations.
Healthy Roots Foundation
In order to help bridge the health education gap, our organization evolved into a robust, multi-layered non profit rooted in the mission of providing families with the knowledge to make the best choices to raise healthy children. As a result, our Board of Directors decided that we needed an overarching identity that reflected our educational impact—and the Healthy Roots Foundation was born in 2014.