|"Where it is not possible for the biological mother to breastfeed, the first alternative, if available, should be the use of human breast milk from other sources. Human milk banks should be made available in appropriate situations."
World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund
"If your feeling helpless, help someone."
International Breast Milk Project began in April 2006 when founder Jill Youse realized she had a freezer overflowing with breast milk. After googling "donate breast milk", Youse learned of an orphan home in Durban, South Africa in need of donor milk for their HIV+ infants and decided she would send her milk there. At the time, she had no intention of starting a worldwide movement. She had no idea what she had stumbled upon. A local newspaper ran a story about her project and within days, moms from all over the state were contacting her about donating milk. This newspaper article lead to more articles, that lead to a local television story, and eventually into the hands of Charles Gibson at ABC World News and Oprah Winfrey.
By the end of 2006 IBMP established itself as an international resource for donor milk and was growing fast. To accommodate the extraordinary growth, International Breast Milk Project partnered with Prolacta Bioscience, a life science company headquartered in Monrovia. Prolacta processes and packages the donated breast milk to ensure its quality and safety. At the same time, International Breast Milk Project gained the attention of Dominique Brown, COO of Quick International Courier, a global priority transportation and logistics company with offices around the world. Recognizing the critical need, Quick stepped up to the plate, donating all of the logistics, distribution and shipping to Africa.
By the end of 2010, donors from all across the US will have provided over 72,000 bottles (288,682 ounces) of breast milk to infants suffering from hunger, malnourishment, poverty and other life-threatening illnesses in South Africa. In addition, International Breast Milk Project has raised over $185,957 to help organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa improve the lives of infants and children in their community through health care programs and milk bank development.
Incorporated as a non-profit in Minnesota in March of 2007, IBMP received its federal non-profit 501c3 status in September of 2007. In November 2007, International Breast Milk Project earned the Charities Review Council seal of approval for organizational governance, transparency and financial accountability. In June 2008, Social Venture Partners recognized IBMP for social entrepreneurship and innovation.