Fred and Emma Goltz began volunteering with March of Dimes following the birth of their twins, William and Kate. Emma went into unexplained preterm labor with the twins in 2004 and delivered them at 30 weeks. During their NICU stay, William was struggling with respiratory distress and was given surfactant—it saved his life. Fifteen months later, Emma went into preterm labor once again and delivered their daughter, Elsbeth, at 35 weeks.
The Goltzs were living in California’s Bay Area at the time. Fred spent endless hours researching what went wrong with their pregnancies. When the twins were about six months old, Fred was walking through an airport and saw a sign connecting March of Dimes to prematurity. They credit March of Dimes with saving their son’s life due to March of Dimes research that led to surfactant therapy.
Fred and Emma have been steadfast volunteers and donors as a way to show their gratitude. “We wanted no other family to go through what we had. Having gone through preterm labor and having preterm infants, we were incredibly frustrated with the lack of answers for 90% of what we encountered on our journey,” they said. “We don’t know why women go into labor early, there are no drugs for them. March of Dimes is a very research driven organization and has ambitious goals for programs and advocacy for moms and babies.”
The Goltz family has served in multiple local roles and significant national roles. Initially, they became involved through California’s Bay Area March for Babies and quickly took on leadership roles at the local level such as chairing March For Babies and Signature Chef events, serving as an ambassador family, as well as Bay Area Board members.
Nationally, the Goltzs have made a major impact serving on the National Campaign To End Premature Birth Committee. In 2010, the Goltzs chaired the $20M Prematurity Research Center Capital Campaign for Stanford. They connected March of Dimes to the right resources that led to a major gifts infrastructure being stood up within the organization. After moving to London, they continue to volunteer.
“We have volunteered for a long time and have gone on a journey with March of Dimes. The same way our children were infants in the NICU and are now freshman in college, March of Dimes has evolved during our time together. One of the most pivotal moments for us was the establishment of the Prematurity Research Center at Stanford. That similarly progressed to a conversation around major gift philanthropy and a different approach to medical research.”
The Goltzs have helped transform the organization. Over the last three years, they provided their professional expertise, countless hours building strategy, invaluable guidance and significant funding to start the March of Dimes Innovation Fund.
The Innovation Fund is a venture philanthropy initiative to solve the world’s most pressing maternal and infant health challenges by developing therapeutics and diagnostics. The Fund is focused on our three goals of ending preventable preterm birth, ending preventable maternal mortality and ending the health equity gap. By investing in startup companies, we will accelerate our impact for maternal and infant health. Emma and Fred provided the leadership gift to launch the Innovation Fund and have volunteered hundreds of hours to build the vision, strategy, governance, processes and communications of the Fund from the ground up. Fred has an extensive background in private equity and business deals and Emma has a banking background and expertise in philanthropy that make them the perfect candidates to lead this effort. They have met with many donor prospects to share their vision for the Fund, which has resulted in new volunteers and additional revenue. They have applied all of their knowledge and skills in building out the Fund.
According to the Goltzs, “Philanthropy is changing and people are focused on impact. If you can use your philanthropy to further an organization’s mission while also making it stronger by taking it to the next level that feels like a win-win. If we invest in innovations that directly impact mission and also generate revenue to contribute to underwriting research, the fund is successful. One of the critical success factors in the Innovation Fund is March of Dimes’ credentials within the scientific community that comes from decades of supporting their work. This will allow us to continue our commitment to research well into the future.”
For close to two decades, the Goltzs have given March of Dimes the significant gift of time, leadership level gifts and guidance based on their professional and personal expertise to ensure each initiative with their involvement was and is successful. Their incredible commitment to service to March of Dimes was honored in 2022 when Fred and Emma were awarded the Elaine Whitelaw Volunteer Service Award, the most prestigious award March of Dimes presents to recognize a lifetime of distinguished volunteer service.