July 19, 2011

Another Heroic Effort on Behalf of Babies by Farmers Agents and Customers

"Be a Hero For Babies Day®" Raises $2.75 Million for March of Dimes

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In communities across the country, Farmers Insurance Group and its agents organized local telethons, golf outings, poker tournaments, gourmet dinners, carnivals and even a Zumba-thon and raised $2.75 million in a one-day fundraiser called Be a Hero for Babies Day benefiting March of Dimes programs to give every baby a healthy start in life.

March of Dimes officials said the funds raised on June 29 will support urgently needed research and education to help prevent serious infant health problems such as birth defects and premature birth, the number one cause of newborn death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disabilities.

"This is the sixth consecutive year that Farmers agents have led this extraordinary one-day fundraiser and once again showed how much they care about America's families," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "The funds raised will help support March of Dimes research, education, community services and advocacy efforts on behalf of babies. We applaud everyone at Farmers who participated in Be a Hero for Babies Day and made it such a great success."

"Congratulations to all Farmers employees, agents and district managers from across the country for giving back to their local communities," said Bob Woudstra, Farmers chief executive officer and a member of March of Dimes' national Board of Trustees. "It's because of the dedication and hard work from everyone in the Farmers family that we were able to again raise millions of dollars on behalf of moms and babies."

Preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation) is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the 2006 Institute of Medicine report. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.

As the nation's third-largest personal property and casualty insurance group, Farmers is committed to improving the communities where their customers, agents and employees live and work. Farmers' commitment to the March of Dimes spans more than two decades and has donated more than $31 million dedicated to research and education programs to protect infant health.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

SOURCE March of Dimes