March of Dimes Silver Dollar
With its March of Dimes silver dollar, the U.S. Mint celebrates an organization that has been helping kids stay healthy for 75 years. It began with a lot of volunteers collecting money to stop a deadly disease. Today, its research helps babies arrive healthy and strong.
How it Began
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent much of his life in a wheelchair after the disease polio left him unable to walk. His personal struggle led him to form the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became the March of Dimes.
Polio was a virus that made a lot of people — many of them kids — sick. It sometimes left them unable to walk or breathe normally. During Roosevelt’s presidency, volunteers around the country organized annual dances called balls on his birthday to raise money to cure polio. In 1938, to publicize those annual balls, a marketing firm asked Americans to send their spare change in a “march of dimes to reach all the way to the White House.” Thousands of people — including many children — sent their dimes. In the end, they collected $268,000 for research to find a cure. Because of inflation, this would be worth close to 4.5 million dollars in 2015!
The Success Story
The dime theme stuck and the research succeeded. In 1955, Jonas Salk helped create a vaccine that wiped out polio. A few years later, the organization officially changed its name to the March of Dimes. With polio under control, it began focusing on helping ensure that babies are born healthy.
Today, the March of Dimes and its many volunteers focus on promoting newborn screening and educating mothers about healthy pregnancies.
The Mint creates two commemorative coins a year to raise money to support worthy organizations. Congress decides which organizations will benefit from commemorative coins and passes laws that tell the Mint which coins to create.
On Dec. 18, 2012, Congress signed the March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes Foundation. Money from sales could to help finance research, education and services to improve the health of women, infants and children.
The coin’s design represents the March of Dimes foundation’s past, present and future and its role as a champion for improving the health of mothers and babies.