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A robust network of Shaker neighborhood friendships and the power of social media allowed Babies Need Boxes Ohio to coalesce as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in a matter of weeks. The impetus for such haste was Selassie’s request that the group coordinate their first box distribution with a distribution she was planning for Minnesota on November 15 last year. “That’s what’s so great about living in Shaker,” says Dreyfuss, who grew up in and still resides in the Onaway neighborhood. “Within a week, we had a director of midwifery, someone with nonprofit management experience, an MBA, a lawyer, and an early childhood educator, all a purse-throw away from each other.” Dreyfuss’ sister, Ellen Loughan, was immediately sold on the idea, and soon recruited friends Sarah Garver Megenhardt, Blair Barnhardt-Hinkle, and Celina Cunanan to the board. As a senior manager at Ernst and Young, Loughan offers organizational and business-practices expertise to the group. Non-profit expert Megenhardt has coordinated the group’s social 50 SHAKERONLINE.COM | SPRING 2017 An All-night Drive media and fundraising efforts, along with securing storage space and creating their volunteer database. Barnhardt-Hinkle provides experience in government relations, grant writing, and non-profit management. She says that her role as director of Government Relations for the Cleveland Clinic allows her to combine her personal and professional interest in the issue. Clinical expertise is the specialty of BNB Ohio board member Celina Cunanan, who directs the Division of Nurse-Midwifery at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital, and is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Case Western Reserve University. She also runs the CenteringPregnancy program at UH, which provides education and group support to expectant moms and their partners. Cunanan also facilitates BNB Ohio’s connection to several community-based maternity care programs. Executive Director Dreyfuss has been the main liaison with the Minnesota headquarters. Each of these busy working mothers donates many hours per week to the fledgling organization. “Everything is volunteer-run,” says Megenhardt. “It’s a good number of hours, maybe five or 10 per week, more around the time of an event.” The group’s first distribution event almost didn’t happen. The women discovered that there had been a delay shipping the boxes from Minnesota. Celina recalls, “I had 20 moms and dads coming to the Centering Program for boxes – and no boxes coming. So I got on the phone with Danielle Selassie, just to see if there was anything we could do. Danielle apologized, got off the phone, and then almost immediately texted me, ‘I’m gonna drive them to you.’ I texted, ‘Oh, no, you’re not’; she texted back, ‘Oh, yes, I am!’ She drove all night, got them here the day before the distribution, then turned around and drove back. That’s dedication.” The distribution went off without any further glitches, on the same day as the distribution in Minnesota – November 15. It was held during a CenteringPregnancy session at UH’s MacDonald Women’s Hospital in University Circle. Photo courtesy BNB Minnesota


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