Jennifer Hudson is more than a powerful singer and actress. She’s a philanthropist, too, and the March of Dimes at their Celebration of Babies soiree in Beverly Hills recognized her work for families and childbirth health recently.
The Dreamgirls star received the Grace Kelly Award for supporting mothers in giving their babies a healthy start on life. According to the March of Dimes, Hudson has championed children, women’s issues and poverty around the world.
“That’s everyone’s dream, is to go home with a happy, healthy baby,” Hudson told The Hollywood Report at the soiree. “Thankfully, I had a healthy, happy childbirth – but not everyone does.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Hudson founded The Julian D. King Gift Foundation with her sister in 2009. The nonprofit is named after her nephew, Julian King, who was killed alongside Hudson’s mother and brother in a 2008 domestic shooting. Through the foundation, Hudson strives to improve children’s health, education and welfare around the world.
“Having healthy and happy babies is every mother’s wish,” Hudson said in a statement to March of Dimes. “But in the United States, premature birth is the number one cause of death of babies. I’m proud to support March of Dimes in their ongoing commitment to healthy pregnancies and families, striving for a world where every baby has a fair chance.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of premie birth for African American women 13 percent – nearly 50 percent higher than for white women.
For an infant born at 24 weeks, well before a healthy term, the likelihood for survival drops to about 39 percent, experts says.
“She’s taken her strength from her own pain to help other people. That says a lot about who she really is,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said about Hudson at the March of Dimes event, which brought in $1.4 million in charity. “Jennifer is a marvelous person.”