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The Fertile Ground Foundation is committed to advocating for women and their families around the world. We are putting the infertility conversation first and are working to support those impacted by infertility. Join us in the fight against infertility!
Founders Shemaine & Herbert Pickens had the vision to create a foundation that would work tirelessly to advocate for women battling infertility. Their vision for the Fertile Ground Foundation is to break down the barriers around the infertility conversation so that the world can understand the world of infertility better and to also advocate and provide resources to women that will assist them along their journey with battling infertility.
Our mission is to advocate for, support, and provide resources for women and families battling infertility.
Providing engagement and support locally and around the country with the establishment of Chapters that will allow a more intimate setting to address the mental, physical, and emotional impacts of infertility. Fertile Ground is open to women and families from all walks of life; however, we will work to care for and provide attention to those who are highly impacted by infertility such as the Black community.
There are three areas where the Fertile Ground Foundation wants to address infertility and have an impact.
Providing a sounding board and a sanctuary where women and their partners can continue the conversation around the impacts of infertility. No longer will the conversation be taboo; especially in communities of color where infertility rates are higher. For example, studies suggest that Black woman are twice as likely to be impacted by infertility than other ethnic groups. Studies also show that because this topic has been taboo in the Black community, most fertility services has been focused on Caucasian women and their reproductive health.
It is now time to change that narrative for not just Black women, but all women and their families. Because infertility also impacts men almost as much as it does women, we want to give men an opportunity as well to be included and learn together with their partners about how this impacts them, what role they play, and how they can battle it together as a unit.
Infertility rates are growing, and reproductive assistance services are being overshadowed by the change in laws and services that support women's reproductive health. With the creation of more conversation around this topic, more women will become more aware of the services and professionals in the fertility arena that can assist them. Creating more awareness around infertility and promoting health and wellness through our resources will be vital to the community we plan to serve.
Connecting with local Healthcare Professionals in our community - This is another huge way we will be able to support and advocate for women. Most women, especially women of color, consider themselves alone when battling infertility. They don't know where to start, and they are either too embarrassed or afraid to acknowledge and speak up about their concerns.
Bringing more healthcare professionals into this space, (OB-GYN's, Fertility and Endocrinology Specialists), and having them share their expertise and best practices with woman on battling infertility will create a healthier and more relaxed environment.
Podcast and Social Connection - Much of what we experience today comes through social media interaction and online conversation. Fertile Ground will leverage these pathways to connect with our younger generation and to break the generational barriers around infertility. Our young women and men need to know and understand the importance of caring for their bodies during the reproductive years of 18-35.
Health is key and preventative care is a priority. We can use the avenues of Instagram and Facebook to connect with our community in this fast-paced world and keep them encouraged, uplifted, informed and connected with each other.
Fundraising and Grant Assistance for our Impacted Members and Community - One of the goals for the foundation is to be able to raise funds to provide financial assistance to recipients twice per year that will assist with paying for reproductive assistance services and consultations.
Many insurance providers do not cover these services, medications, or consultations which prevents women from getting the support and help they need and causes them to lose valuable time and resources taking from the financial stability of their home to pay for these expensive services. We want to assist with this where we can and encourage other advocating foundations to do the same.
Our Board is committed to building and growing the
Fertile Ground Foundation and Community, and to pushing forward the vision and mission.
Meet the Founder and Director of the Fertile Ground Foundation, and CEO of Sweet Pea Chic Baby Box Co., Shemaine Fox-Pickens. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina Shemaine has been an entrepreneur and corporate professional for the last 15 years. As a Wife and Mother, her passion to advocate for women and families sprung from her own personal experiences and journey with infertility, and her hope to bring more visibility to the world of infertility. Her mission for Fertile Ground is to bring women from all walks of life together to share experiences in hopes of healing one another, and to provide resources and support to women and their families across the world dealing with infertility.
As an infertility survivor over the last 10 years, Shemaine has committed to advocating and breaking down the barriers around the infertility conversation through the Fertile Ground Podcast and through the Foundation so that the world can better understand how to support women and families dealing with it.
"What doesn't kill can only make you stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Meet Co-Founder of the Fertile Ground Foundation, and CEO of Alliance Logistics, Herbert Pickens III. Herbert Pickens, a native of San Antonio, Texas, co-founded the Fertile Ground Foundation with Wife and Founder Shemaine Fox-Pickens. Herbert is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years in the logistics industry as well as a Veteran of the United States Marine Corp.
He works with the foundation to ensure that the fertility conversation reaches not just women, but men as well. He believes that men should work to be as educated and informed as women when it comes to their reproductive and overall health. He champions physical fitness and works with the foundation to cultivate partnerships and collaborations in the community that can assist in spreading the foundations mission and assisting as many families as possible.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Courtney Dial-Thurman is one of the Directors for the Fertile Ground Foundation. She’s a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. Courtney is a wife and mother to seven beautiful and very active boys. She’s always had a passion for non-profit organizations. Prior to becoming one of the Directors for Fertile Ground, Courtney would make sure to dedicate time to a non-profit organization of choice by volunteering or offering monetary gifts to support their causes and their communities.
She understands that giving back to the community is monumental for the growth of your environment and substantial for personal development. Courtney is passionate when it comes to women being well educated and knowledgeable about their fertility and what resources are available. Fertility isn’t always an easy conversation to have when it’s difficult to conceive, especially if women aren't aware of the resources that are available to them. She hopes to change this narrative and push forward the fertility conversation and ensure women have the access and resources they need to address infertility head on!
"And you begin again and sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, but you begin again. Even though your heart is breaking, in time the sun will shine and you will begin again. -Barry Manilow
Milan Kelly joins the Fertile Ground Foundation also as Co-Director. A native of Hartford, Connecticut Milan relocated to the Charlotte area in 2021. Shortly after her arrival to Charlotte she made the acquaintance of Founder Shemaine and Co-Director Courtney through social circles, and they all continued on the path of friendship. As she learned more about Shemaine's goals and passion for advocating against infertility, she became passionate about getting involved with the vision and advocating for women's reproductive health. As she learned more about infertility and also had her own particular experience with it, she made the decision to join the Fertile Ground Foundation at the ask of Founder Shemaine to help support other women and to help women better understand infertility.
Milan received her Bachelors and Masters Degree and is currently working as a Project Leader for a prominent data organization. Milan has worked as a corporate professional and project leader in the tech industry for over 10 years. She brings to the team her over 10 years of project management experience, corporate professionalism, technical support insight, and passion for supporting women, her community and charitable causes.
We are looking for volunteers to serve on our committees and advisory boards. If you would like to become an advocate, please contact us for more information!