Lisa Bernstein was an Innovation Fellow at Bank Street College of Education, where she launched Simply Put, a non-profit publishing and programming organization that reaches neglected audiences in the US and around the world with empowering and engaging parenting, education and health information.
A projected census undercount of children 0-5 from marginalized communities inspired WE COUNT! the first in the Simply Put: Civics series. That campaign, funded by the Carnegie Corporation and the Census Funders Collaborative, included an adorable read-aloud book so children could learn "how to count," as family members learned why "we all count" in the 2020 Census. Illustrated by diverse artists, and translated into 15 languages, the WE COUNT! book and the animation (narrated by Auli'i Cravalho. star of Disney's Moana), were free online, as were early childhood professional development training, curriculum, and event-marketing tools for libraries and community programs. The evaluated, evidence- based campaign reached over 600,000 families; and was adopted by hundreds of national and local organizations (ALA, Head Start...) and customized for many states (ie. CA, NY, USVI...) across the country.
Before launching Simply Put, Lisa was the co-founder and Executive Director of The What To Expect Foundation which she formed with the authors of the best-selling What To Expect pregnancy and parenting series. Together they created award-winning cause marketing campaigns in partnership with Nissan, Clorox, and GSK that disseminated important messages to parents (on car seat safety, healthy homes, the importance of immunization) and raised over $7 million for the Foundation.
She used those funds to publish Baby Basics, a comprehensive pregnancy guide for "neglected audiences" that combines narrative, illustration and evidence-based health information to entertain and engage women who don't expect to find their experiences or concerns reflected in the pages of a book. Baby Basics (in English, Spanish and Mandarin) has sold over 750,000 copies to non-profit agencies that support at-risk families across the US. The book inspired the Baby Basics program, a new paradigm of health education that encourages a woman's personal and intellectual growth during the teachable moment of pregnancy. With extensive training in strength-based educational strategies and the Baby Basics curriculum, thousands of medical professionals, health educators and community workers now help women to actively seek, read and engage with health information to build critical thinking skills and social networks during pregnancy.
Since 2014, Lisa has led a partnership with the US Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues to create the $4.8 million Women’s Health Innovation Program (WHIP) to bring prenatal health, literacy and empowerment support to women in Liberia and Bangladesh. Working with in-country teams, she created Big Belly Business Liberia and Babu Barta Bangladesh - books, curriculum and training that help 15 partner health and literacy NGOs in each country run Moms Club groups to help women learn to read about pregnancy and meet and help one another. She continues to advise and build this project in partnership. By 2017 the program has reached over 100,000 families.
Simply Put also draws upon Lisa’s expertise in commercial book publishing. A former publicist at Henry Holt and Little Brown Publishers, Marketing Director at The New Press, and Associate Publisher at Workman; she ran campaigns for many titles, including the bestselling What To Expect When You’re Expecting parenting series and the Brain Quest educational program.