March of Dimes will rebrand

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

The March of Dimes announced the launch of a national rebranding campaign on Wednesday at the annual Alachua County Executive Luncheon - a campaign to help the public recognize the organization's commitment to protecting all babies - those born healthy as well as those who need help to thrive.

The nonprofit organization now boasts a new logo, Web site and revamped multimedia resources geared toward educating a larger demographic and furthering the March of Dimes mission to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The new resources will officially become available on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

"The majority of people that recognize March of Dimes identify us as the people who defeated polio," said Betsy Trent, assistant division director for the North Central Florida March of Dimes. "There is less awareness of our mission to save babies."

As part of the initiative, the March of Dimes renamed its premiere fund-raising event from WalkAmerica to March for Babies.

"It leaves no question about why people are participating in the event," Trent said. "It's about helping all babies to have the best start to life as possible."

At the luncheon of Jan. 9, which kicked off Alachua County's 2008 March for Babies, honorary chairs Tom and Dianne Mallini set the event's annual fundraising goal at $1 million.

The 8.6-mile walk, which will start and end at the Westwood Middle School athletic field on Saturday, March 29, is expected to bring in more than 6,000 walkers.

"Gainesville is known for its championships. We're Titletown and March of Dimes is known as the champion for all babies," Tom Mallini announced to nearly 200 of the organizations top local donors. "We can be champions again . . . by maintaining the record of highest per-capita contribution in the country."

As one of the most popular walking fund-raiser events, March for Babies is used to raise millions for lifesaving efforts nationwide. All profits support folic acid education campaigns to help prevent birth defects, special intensive care facilities for sick newborns, therapy for those born with underdeveloped lungs and community grants to offer prenatal care to expectant mothers.

The rebranding campaign was developed to bring these services to a greater number of people, Trent said. Woman can now sign up for e-mails, podcasts and text messages to be sent to their phones and computers with the latest medical and scientific research. offers forums with the most frequently asked questions and answers about pregnancy.

"We want to be able to be there in all the different venues that women of today go for," Trent said.

"It's an effort to keep up with the times, stay fresh and stay current.

To join an existing team, sign up as the captain of a new team or walk as an individual in the March for Babies fundraiser, visit or contact the North Central Florida Division at 352-378-9522.

Vanessa Garcia can be reached at 352-338-3166 or

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