Christy Turlington Burns Is on a Mission to Save Moms Around the World

Christy Turlington - LEAD
Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

As a mother, Christy Turlington Burns knew that helping to eradicate preventable maternal deaths was a cause she wanted to dedicate time toward. And back in 2010 the supermodel founded Every Mother Counts as a campaign after she made the heart-wrenching No Woman No Cry, a documentary on pregnant women in third world countries with limited health-care access. The organization became a nonprofit in 2012 as Turlington Burns continued to expand her mission.

"I knew as the film was coming to a close and we were finishing up the edit, I didn't want to just educate people, but I wanted to give them a way to participate," she told InStyle. "So starting Every Mother Counts [or EMC] with its own name. Separate from the film but kind of connected to the film felt like the best way to build on the energy that hopefully was created from the film."

On Thursday night, Turlington Burns hosted the third annual LoveEMC fundraiser, An Evening to Benefit Maternal Health, in New York City to a huge turnout. "We started [EMC] initially as a campaign and a website just to have more information and more resources. And from there it just kept building and growing. We became a grant-giving organization in 2012," she said proudly.

"Our goal is to end every preventable maternal death," she said. "It's lofty but you have to think big and dream big with those kinds of issues."

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The fundraiser, held at the chic Bowery Hotel in downtown Manhattan, featured an incredible live performance from Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, plus fun raffle items from the likes of Dry Bar and Barry's Bootcamp, to benefit the organization.

"The fact that 303,000 die every year—800 women per day, 2 women every minute—those are all numbers and stats that if people just shared with their neighbors or in their circles would be meaningful," Turlington Burns said.

The mother of two clearly takes pride in her organization and for good reason: They've raised $3.5 million in grant money in the last four years. "Those grants are in like nine countries at this point," she said. "So just the sort of geographic coverage that we’re able to do and the impact that we've made, we've impacted more than half a million lives, that feels pretty substantial. Even 10,000 [lives], even one, honestly, would feel like we were doing something that was needed and valued."

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