The mission of the March of Dimes Foundation is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
The March of Dimes was founded by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 to combat the tragedy of polio. In an effort to create awareness and support for the scourge of polio, President and Mrs. Roosevelt hosted a fundraising President’s Birthday Ball at the White House. Governors and business leaders throughout the nation were asked to join with them and host fundraising balls in their respective communities. Beginning in the late 1930s until the mid 50s, over 6,000 balls were held by community leaders who joined President Roosevelt and helped win the war against polio. Fundraising balls were held in Honolulu during that period and supported by the territorial Governors. With the development of the Salk polio vaccine in the 1950s, and the founding of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the March of Dimes succeeded in its original mission of conquering the crippling disease.
With the eradication of polio, the March of Dimes faced the unique challenge of applying its proven strategies to meet other urgent public health needs. By the early 1960s, its focus turned to the thousands of serious and unexplained physical and mental disorders that originate before birth--a problem even more challenging than polio. In 2005, the March of Dimes turned the spotlight on another threat to the health and lives of our babies - the growing, serious and costly problem of premature birth. One in eight babies is born premature and may suffer lifelong health problems. Sadly, many will die. The world renowned opera singer and past chair of the National March of Dimes Beverly Sills said it best, “It is the hope of the March of Dimes that one day all babies will be born “perfectly beautiful and beautifully perfect.”
In 1996, Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano joined with the March of Dimes Hawaii Chapter to re-establish this historical fundraising event in honor of all of the Territorial Governors and State Governors who supported the Chapter. Each year the Hawaii Chapter recognizes a local business, organization or community leader for their contributions to our state. This year we are presenting Dennis Francis with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award for Distinguished Community Service.
The Governors’ Ball will include a silent and live auction, great food, and entertainment. The 2012 Ball will be held on Saturday, November 3rd at the Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Black-tie or jacket for men. Cocktail or formal evening wear for women.