March of Dimes volunteer and 2015 High Heels for High Hopes model Cari  with chef Alfredo Van Nortwick of SweetWaters, winner of the 2014 Richard Balajadia Ultimate Signature Chef competition

March of Dimes volunteer Cari Garrigus, CEO of Eugene Association of Realtors, with chef Alfredo Van Nortwick of SweetWaters, winner of the 2014 Richard Balajadia Ultimate Signature Chef competition

The fifth annual Signature Chefs Auction in Eugene last night raised over $90,000 for March of Dimes’ mission to improve the health of babies. On October 14th at Valley River Inn, five of Lane County’s finest chefs offered their signature dishes and the winner of the Richard Balajadia Ultimate Signature Chef cook off was revealed.

The cook off, held last week at Kendall Lexus, had four chefs competing for the title. Chefs were told in advance they had to use four ingredients in the competition: pork chops, apples, swiss cheese and cherry tomatoes, with a surprise ingredient (not revealed until the cook off) of Mountain Dew. The panel of judges kept the winner a secret until Alfredo Van Nortwick of SweetWaters was awarded the title of Richard Balajadia Ultimate Signature Chef last night.

Other treats included a special visit from The Duck and the talented Bill and Robb of KPNW who served as emcees. The most popular packages of the auction were a seven-night stay on the Big Island of Hawaii, a tailgater with and RV for the U of O/Stanford game, and seven night get away in Honduras.

The evening’s notable chefs were: Jose Martin Pelayo of Chapala Mexican Restaurant, Tom Ascariz of Prime Rib & Steak House, Billy Thur of The Zingaro, Amber Pasquali of RiverWalk Bakery, and Alfredo Van Nortwick of SweetWaters at Valley River Inn.

Wine for Signature Chefs Auction was provided by Southern Wine and Spirits and craft beer was compliments of Hop Valley Brewing.

The 5th annual Signature Chefs Auction was hosted by Valley River Inn. Other sponsors include First Tech Federal Credit Union, Kendall Auto Group, Les Schwab, New Image Carwash, Southern Wine and Spirits, Hop Valley Brewing, KVAL and KPNW.

Funds raised by Signature Chefs Auction support lifesaving research and educational programs right here in Oregon.


Are you passionate about March of Dimes?  Have you had a premature baby or a baby born with birth defects? Want to share your story to inspire others to help all babies be born healthy?

Applications are now open for our 2015 Official Ambassadors!

If you live in Oregon or SW Washington and are able to speak at local events and to the media about your experience, fill out the Official Ambassador Application 2015 and turn it in (instructions included on the form) by Monday, September 29th.

YAY baby

We’re excited to announce our 2014 Community Grants to organizations working for improved infant and maternal health throughout Oregon and SW Washington.

The Greater Oregon Chapter community grants program is designed to invest in priority projects that further the March of Dimes mission, support national campaign objectives, and further our strategic goal of reducing disparities in birth outcomes.

Selected by our Program Services Committee, this year’s grants are awarded to:

  • PeaceHealth SW Medical Center Foundation – $20,000 to support the program design for a CenteringPregnancy start-up at Vancouver Clinic/PeaceHealth SW Medical Center.
  • Catholic Community Services – $14,000 to fund a Neighborhood Connectors program which will increase outreach, education and referral of pregnant women in six high poverty neighborhoods in Marion and Polk Counties.
  • North Central Public Health District – $14,000 to implement a combination of Centers for Disease Control’s Every Woman Every Time and the One Key Question Initiative on preconception education and prenatal outreach and referral in Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam Counties.
  • Healthy Birth Initiative-Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD) – $12,000 to incorporate a 5A’s type smoking cessation program called SCRIPT into the services offered by the Healthy Birth Initiative case management services and train 10 MCHD employees and community partners to deliver the program.
  • NEOPDX – $10,000 to provide the STABLE program to critical access hospitals in Oregon for training in neonatal resuscitation and stabilization and training on indicators for appropriate transfer.


More good news: we award community grants each year. A request for proposals for the 2015 grants will go out later this fall.

NOTY 2014_people

Now accepting nominations for 2014 Nurse of the Year Awards!

Know an outstanding nurse or two who works in Oregon or SW Washington and deserves some recognition? Here’s your chance to tell the world about the wonderful work they do! Nominations in 17 categories are open now through August 19th and there is no fee to submit one (or more).

Finalists will be announced at the Nurse of the Year Awards breakfast on October 24, 2014, at The Sentinel Hotel (formally The Governor Hotel) in downtown Portland. More information about the awards and how to submit one or more nominations or register for the event is available at marchofdimes.com/Oregon.


March is National Optimism Month and we have something that will raise your hopes not only for the babies we’re helping with our research, but also for a fun-filled family vacation!

Six Family Teams will win a trip for four team members to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

  • The Top 3 Family Teams in the U.S. with the most money raised will each win, and
  • 3 additional Family Teams will be selected by a random drawing to win (you’ll get 1 entry for every $500 raised by your Family Team)

Winners will get air travel, 3-night hotel accommodations and a 2-day Park Hopper pass for 4 team members!  Some restrictions apply. Please see this pdf for more details and how to qualify.

Janowski family

Janowski family

Mary Pat Janowski has done it again! She’s the first to reach Top Walker status for the 2014 March for Babies!

A Top Walker is someone who raises $1,000 or more for March for Babies; and Mary Pat done that plus at least $230 more! One of our most dedicated volunteers, Mary Pat has served as Official Ambassador and on the Family Team Committee and Communications Committee.

Congratulations Mary Pat!  And THANK YOU!

2014 Ambassadors_collage

We are excited to introduce you to our Official Ambassadors for 2014:

  • The Helms Family of Hilsboro, OR
  • The Olsen Family of Philomath, OR
  • The Zeulner Family of Portland, OR

They all know the struggles that come with premature birth and are working with March of Dimes in hopes that fewer families will the experience they did.

You can read their stories here.


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