The Blackwell Baby Cafe: Momentum to Modernize Grant (M2M)

CAN's commitment to prioritizing the success of Minority Led Organizations (MLO’s) starts with creating innovative opportunities to empower their growth. The Momentum to Modernize Grant (M2M) was created to provide technology that produces transformational resources for nonprofit infrastructure, efforts to scale, and implementation support. Having access to the CAN portal allows organizations to manage their intake, records, documents, and client files, migrate data to the cloud and modernize new and existing applications.

M2M grant recipient, The Blackwell Baby Café, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and assisting mothers and/or pregnant woman with every aspect of breastfeeding and chest feeding. The organization was founded in 2016 by The Blackwell Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, which is the oldest African American church in Chautauqua County in the city of Jamestown, New York. The Blackwell Baby Café’s mission is to improve health outcomes by empowering families and providing professional, compassionate breastfeeding and chest feeding support. This includes minimizing obstacles and proving free educational trainings and support to extend the duration of breastfeeding as long as possible, addressing racial and financial disparities free of charge, providing a supportive environment for families, and engaging in community wide outreach and virtual support programs.

According to recent studies, the teen birth rate in New York declined 78% between 1991 and 2020. Even so, in 2020 there were 5,681 births to teens. It is also the case that 13% of all teen births were to teens who already had a child. Teen birth rates have fallen for all racial and ethnic groups, and in some cases the gap in teen birth rates by race/ethnicity has narrowed, but disparities remain. Chautauqua County’s teen pregnancy rate is 48.6% higher than the national average. With the knowledge of those statistics, The Blackwell Baby Café knew that was their starting point.

The Blackwell Baby Café has participated in numerous collaborative trainings, including one with the only local hospital and drug and alcohol agency for healthcare professionals. With over 100 attendees, Baby Café shared how opioids can affect an unborn baby and mother, the risks of opioid dependency on a pregnant mother, substance use and breastfeeding, and opioid use and addiction exposure. They have their own clothing, as well as homemade knitters and quilt lockers. They are known as the first Breast Milk Depot in Chautauqua County where they collect milk and send it to The Breast Milk Bank in upper New York State. They also engage in and promote Narcan training, safe sleep initiation training, and safe cribs (Cribs for Kids) training.

By 2026, their goals include providing a baby friendly, supportive environment for families; extending their community wide outreach into the northern counties; expand their programs; and continue to collaborate and partner with like-minded agencies- while adjusting goals annually to meet the changing community needs.

To learn more about The Blackwell Baby Café, visit

By: Sydney Marks

Coordinated Assistance Network is proud to present The Momentum to Modernize Grant (M2M) M2M is intended to provide technology that produces transformational resources for nonprofit infrastructure, efforts to scale, and implementation support. CAN is granting 75 in-kind grants to organizations for “Black Level” CAN portal licensure. Click here to learn more about M2M.