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Board of Directors

Meet our Board: Mary-Ann Schmutte

From the heart of Africa to the heartland of America  

I was born and grew up in Congo, in the heart of Africa and in a culture where breastfeeding was the norm. I saw breastfeeding everywhere. This background and my own experiences with our children have provided me with a keen interest in breastfeeding and breast milk. I began working with breastfeeding babies in the mid-seventies, as a La Leche League Leader. In 1995 I became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and currently work as a lactation consultant on the maternity floor of a large delivering hospital in Indianapolis.


Mary-Ann SchmutteThe more I learn about how breastfeeding works and the unique and long lasting health attributes of breast milk, the more fascinated I become. I was interested in being on the Board of The Milk Bank because of the important service it provides for babies in need. Being on the Board has provided yet another opportunity to learn about a different aspect of breast milk and the donation, processing and distribution of human milk. I have been on the board for almost five years and have watched the significant increase in the number of hospitals using human milk and mothers wanting to share their milk with families in need. I feel privileged to have been a part of this growth. I look forward to working with current and future board members and to help with the strategic planning for The Milk Bank.

New Name. Same Organization.

There were no comprehensive customer and market research. There were no heated debates with

meetings lingering into the wee hours of the night. The decision was easily reached and agreed to by all.

However, this is not to say the decision for the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank to change its name to The

Milk Bank was made in haste without thoughtful consideration.

Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank (IMMB) was established in 2005 operating out of a local Indiana hospital

that provided operational and financial support in the first few years. IMMB began to grow and the

growth of IMMB took it out of the hospital and in a position to support itself. Since its opening, IMMB

has opened milk depots in Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky. IMMB has generous

donor moms from across the United States without whom it cannot exist. And lastly, IMMB provides

human donor milk to hospitals in Indiana, throughout the Midwest and other regions countrywide.

Notably, in 2013, IMMB distributed over 200,000 ounces of milk to fragile babies in NICUs across the


The tremendous growth over the past few years hinted at undertones of redefinition for IMMB.

Recognizing that it had much more to offer outside of the confines of Indiana, IMMB employees and

board members knew change was in order. The passion and drive of the dedicated employees and

board members to redefine IMMB in the present and sustain the organization for the future lead its

efforts to change the name. After retreats in February 2014 the groups recognized a desire to redefine

IMMB to better speak to who we are and where we want to be in years to come. With little hesitation

and debate a decision was made to change the name of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank to The Milk

Bank, Inc.

As a board member since 2011 and the current president of the board, I am overcome with joy and

excitement to be part of this momentous event. While our name has changed, our purpose and

dedication has not. The Milk Bank remains committed in its mission and rooted to a desire to provide

community health by expanding the safe use of human milk for all babies, especially premature and ill


“What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” William




A Message from our Board of Directors

A Message for our Board of Directors

 By: John Countryman, IMMB Board of Directors Chair

The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank was established a decade ago by our first chairperson, Mary Weber, and her fellow board members along with meaningful operational and financial support from IU Health.  Since that time, the Indiana Mothers Milk Bank has grown to serve children receiving care in most hospitals in the state of Indiana of many hospitals in our neighboring Midwestern states.  I have had the privilege of participating in the wonderful work of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank for the past four years including serving as chair for three of those years.  During those four years many milestones have been realized including receiving our 1,000,000th donated ounce earlier this year dating back to our inception.  To put that number into perspective, we received just under 50,000 ounces in 2006, our first full year in operation.

The substantial growth in the number of children and families that we are able to reach is the result of the hard work and contributions of many individuals, including many of the readers of this message, and at this time of thanksgiving and holiday cheer, we thank you.  Thank you to our donor moms, our partner hospitals and their passionate staff, our milk depot partners, our recipient families, our financial contributors, our past and present board members, and last but certainly not least, our passionate, hard-working and committed staff. While we are organized as a not-for-profit organization, we view you (our donors, our recipient families and our professional partners) as our shareholders. Our staff and board work diligently to serve our existing and future shareholders by safely collecting, processing and dispensing the precious gift of a mother’s milk to improve the lives of our most fragile children.

On behalf a grateful board and staff, we thank you for your contributions and partnership throughout the first decade of our journey and look forward to celebrating our 2,000,000th donated ounce and improving many, many more lives in the years ahead.