Who The Folk?! Sarah Breiner and Danielle Spradlin

What does it take to start up a new non-profit milk bank? Lactation consultant Danielle Spradlin and attorney Sarah Breiner are doing just that, as they are working to get the Bold North Milk Bank off the ground. We talk with the duo about why there’s a need for this resource in the community, why the pair are traveling this road, and what type of work goes into starting an organization like this, on this week’s Who The Folk?! Podcast.

You can read an excerpt below, but for the whole interview, please listen or subscribe to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher, with more to come later soon. Please subscribe, rate, and review. And of course, if you have suggestions of others who would be great subjects, let us know!

You are the founders of the Bold North Milk Bank; what led you to start it?

Danielle Spradlin: The community here needs a lot of different health care resources there are families that want healthcare resources and we decided that human milk is the health care resource that we want to focus on. So we are opening a nonprofit milk bank to help the most vulnerable babies in our state. I was previously employed another milk bank in Minnesota and I saw lots of interesting things happening during my time there. I reached out to Sarah and I said: “This is what my eyes are telling me, this is what my senses are telling me, and I just don’t think that this is going to continue on.” So she gave me some amazing advice and amazing support, and we decided that instead of continuing on someone else’s project that was being poorly managed and was not complying with things like FDA guidelines or Department of Agriculture guidelines, that we wanted to do it right and we wanted to do it ethically.

So, Sarah, you’re the instigator for all this?

Sarah Breiner: I had spoken with the chairman of the board (at the other milk bank) about coming on as a board member and legal counsel, and I just had some kind of basic screening questions at the beginning, like wanting to know how they were managing grants and things like that. I want to make sure that anything that I am involved in is operating clean and efficiently. I used to be in-house counsel for Habitat For Humanity, and I’ve incorporated a bunch of non-profits in my practice. We can do this on our own, and we can actually maintain the integrity of the process.

How did you meet?

SB: I met Danielle eight years ago because she was my lactation consultant. I was struggling with a lot of the things that new moms struggle with, so I know her talent and her capabilities. To me, it just made sense to me to open a new bank.

DS: And it’s really nice to have someone that you can work on a project with that you have a good backstory, you have a lot of history that is directly related to the project that you’re working on. We used to live in Atlanta and now we are here in Eden Prairie, and we’ve worked on nonprofit projects surrounding maternal and child health before. And it’s always been a beautiful project it’s always been something that we were able to do rapidly and successfully and have a really good community impact. But it’s always been kind of small scale, and because now our milk bank concept our milk bank mission is the whole state of Minnesota and out into the Dakotas. We’re interested and meeting with these rural communities, and these underserved communities and the sovereign nations that are part of Minnesota and the Dakotas. This is such a bigger project and it’s an amazing thing to see that like we’ve really put in the background work of cooperation together, so you know forming up a board was super easy. We already had people that we knew who were talented and committed, and for every single thing we’ve done we haven’t missed a beat.

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