U.S. Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were joined by Senate co-sponsors Chuck Schumer (NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) on Thursday, Dec. 1, in introducing bipartisan legislation to commemorate the work and legacy of the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act of 2011 would mint coins in celebration of the organization 75th anniversary in 2014. Proceeds from the commemorative coin will be used to support the March of Dimes’ Prematurity Campaign, an intensive multi-year initiative to find the causes of prematurity and raise awareness among health professionals and the general public.
“I cannot think of a more appropriate way to recognize the March of Dimes than to mint actual coins honoring its work,” said Hagan. “From its efforts to help end the polio epidemic to its work today to prevent birth defects and the number of babies born prematurely, the March of Dimes has made a difference in the lives of our families for more than seven decades. A commemorative coin will serve both as a celebration of the March of Dimes’ 75 years of accomplishments and a reminder of the work we still need to accomplish to combat diseases that strike our youngest children."
“Since its beginning, the March of Dimes has made monumental vaccine breakthroughs, invested in research to study and prevent premature births and provided essential aid to mothers-to-be,” she said. “This coin, which will be minted at no cost to American taxpayers for the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes, is a fitting tribute to the organization’s truly outstanding work.”
The March of Dimes was founded in 1938 by President Franklin Roosevelt as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at a time when polio was on the rise. The foundation established a polio patient aid program and funded research for the vaccines that effectively ended epidemic polio in the United States. Since that time, the March of Dimes has focused on preventing birth defects, prematurity and infant mortality.
“For 75 years, the March of Dimes has done critical work in protecting the health of our nation’s children,” Schumer said. “This commemorative coin would help mark the invaluable role that March of Dimes has played in our country’s history, starting with its work to end polio up to today’s fight against birth defects and premature births. What’s more, this commemorative coin would help fund new research into the causes of premature births and would allow March of Dimes to continue its incredible work for years to come.”
The March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint 500,000 $1 coins in recognition and celebration of the founding of the March of Dimes. The design of the coin will be selected by the Treasury Secretary in consultation with the March of Dimes and the Commission of Fine Arts.
“Once again, a coin has the opportunity to help this nation fight a threat to its children,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “During the Great Depression, citizens sent their precious dimes—four billion of them—to the White House to fund research in the successful fight against polio. This time, the sale of these commemorative coins will help fund research and programs to identify the causes of premature birth. A dime defeated polio; this special dollar will help fight premature birth. We thank Sen.s Kay Hagan and Susan Collins for introducing the March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act.”