Timeline of the what to expect foundation

Expand the items below to learn more about us

Growing Up Strong
Like the mothers we help, our foundation is growing strong thanks to the support of countless people, programs and institutions that have joined us along our journey. We're proud of our accomplishments so far, and grateful for all the support we've received along the way.


  • Baby Basics begins international expansion through the Women's Health Innovation Program—a partnership with The U.S. Department of State and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Initial expansion includes efforts in Brazil, Bangladesh and Liberia.
  • B'More For Healthy Babies determines that Baby Basics has been a hit for the moms of Baltimore, and begins to plan for growth and expansion.
  • The State of Virginia Joint Commission on Healthcare recommends to the State Legislature that Baby Basics be a major part of the state's strategic plan to address infant mortality. 


  • Baby Basics Moms Clubs start in Appalachian towns in Virginia.
  • Baby Basics in Amarillo Texas is born.
  • Rockville Center New York starts a Baby Basics Program.
  • We've done it! Organizations in every state have now purchased Baby Basics for their moms, meaning that Baby Basics has reached nearly half a million moms!


  • New York State Department of Health, Office of Health Insurance Programs, purchases books and training from The What to Expect Foundation. Medical Director Dr. Foster Geston invites Foundation to present the program and partnership opportunity to every Medicaid Managed Care Medical Director in the state.
  • 4 Healthcare Plans: The  Monroe Plan for Health (Rochester, NY), The Hudson Health Plan (Nyack, NY), HealthPlus (Brooklyn, NY), and Americhoice (Nassau County, NY) work with The What to Expect Foundation to implement a new Quality Improvement Program—Baby Basics QuIC Program—in health centers and private practices in their regions.
  • The Baby Basics program is the framework of the B'More For Healthy Babies program. This Baltimore project to address the high infant mortality rate across the city has multiple partners, including all of the home visiting programs, major clinical providers, WIC, and Early Head Start.  


  • Robert Wood Johnson Community Initiatives funds three New Jersey Perinatal Consortiums (Newark, Hudson, and Central) to implement Baby Basics programs in each of their communities.
  • United Hospital Fund, realizing the success of Baby Basics' implementation and evaluation, provides a second grant to look at replication and sustainability of the program in New York.  
  • Mannatt Health Solutions works with the Foundation to study state policy and revenue streams for maternal and child services and together develop a NY state replication and sustainability strategy.
  • Children's Services Council of Palm Beach implements a county-wide Baby Basics program.
  • LA Best Babies begins a county-wide Baby Basics program. Every home visiting program in the network is trained to integrate the book and program into its daily practice.
  • Heidi Murkoff's PSA on vaccinations is shown in doctor's offices and airs on radio shows across the country. 


  • To expand our evidence base, The New York State Health Foundation funds a Baby Basics program to be created and evaluated with Public Health Solutions' six Women's Health Centers, their Nurse Family Partnership Program, the Healthy Family's Bright Beginnings Program, and all of their WIC sites.
  • Sisters of Charity supports the Cleveland Health Department's Baby Basics program.  MomsFirst, the federally funded Healthy Start Program, is the lead agency.
  • The What to Expect Foundation moves into a new home!
  • The What to Expect Guide to Immunizations, sponsored by GSK, is published in English and Spanish. Pediatrician offices across the US receive free copies for all parents in their practice. 


  • The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation donates $1 million to The What to Expect Foundation to create Baby Basics: Family's 1st Year—a book for underserved moms that helps them know what to expect during baby's first year of life.
  • 7,500 Xaio Bao Bao (in Chinese), 15,000 Hola Bebé and 15,000 Baby Basics are printed.
  • The Baby Basics Planner is translated into 12 more languages and is now available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.
  • Planning begins with Los Angeles Best Baby Collaborative to incorporate the Baby Basics program into its countywide initiative.
  • The first National Baby Basics Program Meeting brings healthcare professionals from around the country together with home visitors, literacy educators, high school teachers, librarians and community leaders to discuss the Baby Basics program and next steps for continued replication and evaluation.


  • Clorox and The What to Expect Foundation announce a What to Expect Healthy Home Campaign to teach families how to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Heidi Murkoff and Clorox donate all the proceeds ($1 million) to the Foundation.
  • The What to Expect Foundation and The March of Dimes announce a partnership to help low-income families have healthy pregnancies.
  • Evaluations of the Baby Basics program show that mothers were more likely to attend their prenatal appointments, report a higher level of satisfaction with care, and are more likely to attend their postpartum appointments—all important benchmarks for public health providers.
  • The United Hospital Fund gives the Foundation a grant to create Xaio Bao Bao—a Chinese linguistic AND cultural translation of Baby Basics. The Foundation partners with Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in Chinatown and hospitals nationwide, including UCLA, to create the translation.
  • An additional 50,000 copies of Baby Basics books are printed.
  • A Baby Basics Pregnancy PALS (Pregnancy Adult Literacy Support) program is started in Queens, NY. Volunteers in the waiting room help expecting women to develop questions for their doctor, and look up answers in Baby Basics while waiting for their prenatal appointments.
  • Additional Baby Basics programs form across the country including in Chattanooga, TN, and Queens and the Bronx, NY.
  • The Baby Basics Planner—an organizer and portable medical records program for moms—is created.


  • The Altman Foundation funds the first evaluation of a Baby Basics Clinical Program in New York City, in partnership with Medical Health Research Associates (MHRA). This program builds supportive prenatal education groups that moms attend while waiting for their appointment, training for the doctors, nurses and clerical staff, children's books for waiting siblings, and a rigorous evaluation. A storage room is transformed into a vibrant education room. The walls are painted to match the Baby Basics book cover.
  • Northern Queens Health Coalition partners with The What to Expect Foundation to offer Baby Basics Moms Clubs to underserved areas in the borough.


  • A report from the Institute of Medicine says as many as 90 million people have low health literacy, which is the ability to read, understand and act upon health information. The cost is estimated at $75 billion.
  • Former US Surgeon General VADM Richard Carmona attends the launch of the Houston Collaborative, and calls Baby Basics a "health literacy program he hopes will be replicated nationwide." The program is a partnership of prenatal care health providers, community based organizations and the literacy providers of Houston. The Foundation receives a certificate of Congressional Recognition from the State of Texas commending the efforts to "ease health disparities."
  • Baby Basics books are offered for sale at a greatly reduced cost, only to governmental or not for profit organizations that work with underserved families.
  • The SW Virginia Perinatal Consortium starts the first rural Baby Basics program in Appalachia reaching moms who are physically as well as socially isolated.
  • Hundreds of programs across the country work with the Foundation to raise enough money to provide books to all of their pregnant mothers, and the Foundation reaches 250,000 families nationwide.
  • Nurse Family Partnership home visiting programs across the Northeast buy Baby Basics books for all of their home visiting programs.      


  • The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that the US infant mortality rate is higher than 28 other countries. The US Department of Education finds that over 50 million Americans read below a 5th grade reading level.
  • Baby Basics is translated into Spanish as Hola Bebé. 50,000 copies are printed.
  • Baby Basics is revised and goes back to press for an additional 100,000 copies.
  • The Baby Basics curriculum for healthcare providers and a health literacy training for doctors who work with low-income, lower literacy parents is developed.
  • A grant from BMW builds the first Baby Basics program in Newark, NJ, in partnership with Gateway MCH and University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. US Senator Jon Corzine launches the program.
  • A grant from HealthNet, Los Angeles' largest Medicaid Managed Care Plan enables the Foundation to donate 7,500 copies of Hola Bebé to Associated Hispanic Physicians and other prenatal care providers in East Los Angeles. Congresswoman Hilda Solis and other LA dignitaries launch the program with a mariachi band and public service announcement in Spanish.


  • 30,000 copies of Baby Basics are donated to the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and distributed to providers who treat low-income populations throughout the county.
  • The What to Expect Foundation receives a commendation from the county of LA "in recognition of dedicated service to the affairs of the community." The Health Department hosts a "World's Largest Baby Shower" to mark the event and a group of pregnant celebrities join expecting moms from across the city.
  • 30,000 copies of Baby Basics are donated, in partnership with the New York City Maternal and Child Health Bureau, to healthcare centers and community based organizations across all 5 boroughs.
  • 5,000 copies of Baby Basics are donated to the Washington D.C. Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Mrs. Alma Powell chairs an event to celebrate the donation and program.
  • 10,000 copies of Baby Basics are donated to health centers, Early Head Start programs, adult literacy programs and other prenatal organizations across the country.
  • A nationwide study of the Baby Basics book shows that the book encourages moms (and dads) to read about pregnancy, and leads to more questions asked during appointments. Requests pour in for books from programs and mothers across the country and prompt the Foundation to build a comprehensive, Baby Basics prenatal health literacy program.


  • 100,000 copies of Baby Basics, (written to a 5th grade reading level) are published by The What to Expect Foundation to rave reviews from the providers and parents who call it a "What To Expect" for underserved families.


  • The What to Expect Foundation and Nissan win PR Week’s Cause Related Campaign of the Year Award for their car seat safety campaign. The campaign has grown from a guide for parents to a national media campaign that includes car seat safety checks at malls across the country, and donated mini-vans to help health centers make sure moms get to their prenatal appointments on time.


  • Research begins across the country (in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, from Appalachia to Native American Pueblos) to create Baby Basics—the first comprehensive prenatal guide to address the specific health, economic, cultural and literacy skills of at-risk expecting families nationwide.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in Washington DC allows Foundation to use their conference room for our first Advisory Board Meeting. It is the first time in the organization's history that an outside group is allowed to use the room—and the first time many of us have ever sat at a huge boardroom table shaped like a uterus! Attendees include some of the leading names in maternal and child health, family literacy, health literacy and immigrant and women's programming. Together, the group identifies the key goals of the Foundation, and begins to imagine what a lower literacy pregnancy guide would look like - and how it should be researched and disseminated.


  • Nissan and The What to Expect Foundation partner to create a “What To Expect Guide To Car Seat Safety.” All fees paid by Nissan to Heidi Murkoff are donated to The What to Expect Foundation so that "families in need know what to expect when they’re expecting."
  • The Marketing department of Prudential Health insurance (now Aetna) calls Workman Publishing to ask if there is a Medicaid version of What To Expect When You're Expecting. They explain that they want to send something to pregnant women on Medicaid that is simpler and relevant to moms and new -immigrants who are receiving prenatal care through their Medicaid plan. Workman happily passes the call on to the newly formed (literally 3 week old) What To Expect Foundation. The meeting of minds (actually the meeting of moms) leads to the Foundation's first grant of $25,000 from Prudential for planning the Foundation's agenda.


  • The What to Expect Foundation is formed and receives IRS 501(c)3 public charity status.