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Update: Ashland Birth Center secures funds to stay at its current location

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 12:17 PM CDT
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May 3, 2022 update: Good news for the Ashland Birth Center.

The center has secured funding to stay at its current location and continue to serve as a safe haven for pregnant women.

At the end of April (see below for the previous story), the center was at risk of losing its space if they didn’t raise the funds to buy the historical home.

However, $60,000 has been awarded to the center by the “Small Business Big Wins” promotion.

Staff will now be able to purchase the building and continue to serve the rural communities.

ASHLAND, WI (CBS 3 Duluth) - Tucked in Ashland’s downtown sits a historical home welcoming the newest community members of Wisconsin’s South Shore.

For the last decade, Savita Jones and her team of midwives and doulas at the Ashland Birth Center have specialized in providing health care to babies and mothers with a more natural and customized birthing experience.

Starting as an in-home birth service, the center grew from the needs of area families.

“We serve a large area. We have families that travel several hours to use the birthing center,” said Jones. “As a rural community, it is not quite as easy to be traveling to many areas far away from Ashland. I was finding myself all over the region, and so the need for the birth center really came up as a reflection of the community.”

According to Jones, more and more families are turning to midwife births nationwide.

Despite 2021 being one of their busiest to date, the excitement was dimmed when they learned the place they call home would be put up for sale.

“When it first went up for sale, we looked around to see if there was a better match for us in the community. We considered building new. We considered going back to just doing home births,” said Jones.

But Jones wanted a chance for the community to have a say.

Now the center is turning to their neighbors, hoping to raise $55,000 by June of 2022 to purchase the building themselves.

It’s a goal mothers like Nicole Kavajecz hope can be reached.

When Nicole gave birth to her daughter in 2020, it was at the height of the pandemic.

Important people like midwives, doulas, and family members were not allowed inside traditional hospitals at the time.

Nicole says the Birth Center was able to accommodate their requests while making her feel empowered and ready for the experience.

“That was a hard thing to overcome, fear, and they totally changed the paradigm for me about how you approach a birth,” said Kavajecz.

She says it was a no-brainer to come back for their second child, who is due this summer.

“It’s pretty incredible to think about Savi and Dana’s impact and all the midwives they work with, what an impact they have had on women and families and children, and if the community lost, it seems tragic to me,” said Kavajecz.

Jones said their reach stretches far and wide, also having a strong tie to the South Shore indigenous communities, making them a vital asset.

“We’ve mostly held a space for them to do the work they are already doing and bring that into their births. It’s much easier for a small organization to make changes and accommodate,” said Jones.

With about $10,000 left to go for their campaign, they are optimistic the community can pull through.

Recently the Ashland Birth Center was nominated for the Barclays Small Business, Big Wins Contest, where they could win $60,000.

Out of nearly 5,000 entries, the center made the top ten thanks to community votes.

They will find out in May if they win the money, and if they do, Jones said it would be more than enough to buy the center, but if they don’t, they will need to fundraise the rest by June.

For more information on donating to the cause, click here.

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