two children playing in a playhouse smiling to camera

CNY Community Foundation Receives $150,000 for Lead Poisoning Prevention Efforts

The LeadSafeCNY coalition will now be able to hire a coordinator thanks to a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

The Central New York Community Foundation’s LeadSafeCNY initiative recently received a $150,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to put toward the cost of hiring a coordinator for the LeadSafeCNY Coalition. Over the past four years, the Cabrini Foundation has provided a total of $625,000 in support to LeadSafeCNY.

The coordinator will work closely with partner organizations to formulate and implement the coalition’s goals, objectives and strategies. The LeadSafeCNY Coalition is a collaboration of stakeholders from the healthcare, housing, education, philanthropy and government sectors, as well as affected residents, that is working to build on successful strategies implemented in other areas of the country, harness existing resources and make strategic investments to decrease lead poisoning rates in Central New York. The coordinator will be employed by Home HeadQuarters, a housing development organization that is doing extensive work to remove lead paint from Syracuse homes.

Since the Community Foundation’s LeadSafeCNY grantmaking launched in 2018, nearly 1,500 windows and 150 doors have been replaced and more than 195 safe and affordable rental units have been either newly constructed or renovated. In addition, nearly 280 individuals have been trained on proper lead paint removal and thousands of people have been informed about the risks of lead poisoning.

The EPA reports that chipping lead paint is the leading source of lead poisoning in the United States. Due to friction points from frequent opening and closing, doors and windows are the primary sources of paint chips and dust particles that contain lead. Elevated blood lead levels in young children have been found to cause reduced brain function, impacting the skills needed for academic success, physical activity and social interaction. This can lead to a higher likelihood of ADHD diagnosis, absenteeism, criminal behavior, violence and suicide.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, which awards grants to meet the unmet healthcare needs of individuals, families and communities throughout New York State, chose to support LeadSafeCNY for its potential to significantly improve the health and safety of children in Syracuse.

The Community Foundation established its LeadSafeCNY initiative in 2018, committing to invest at least $2 million to fund a variety of approaches to address the region’s high childhood lead poisoning rates. According to the Onondaga County Health Department, 11 percent of Syracuse children tested in 2022 were shown to have elevated blood lead levels. The total amount invested in the community to date through LeadSafeCNY is $2.3 million.

Those interested in learning more about LeadSafeCNY or viewing local lead data can visit leadsafecny.org.

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About Central New York Community Foundation

The Central New York Community Foundation is a public charity that turns community dollars into community change. Established in 1927, it receives contributions from donors, manages them to grow over time and then distributes funding to address the region’s greatest needs. The foundation has invested more than $270 million in community projects that benefit Central New York. It also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of strategic initiatives that foster a thriving and equitable region and address the most critical issues of our time. For more information, visit https://www.cnycf.org/

About Mother Cabrini Health Foundation

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. The Foundation – which is named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor – provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State. For more information, visit https://www.cabrinihealth.org/

About Home HeadQuarters

Home HeadQuarters is a non-profit neighborhood and housing development organization and certified Community Development Financial Institution that, since 1996, has helped more than 5,000 families become first-time homebuyers; provided nearly 13,000 homeowners with affordable home purchase and improvement loans and grants, and developed more than 1,300 formerly vacant and abandoned properties. The organization is the leading lender to families of color living in Syracuse, out lending all other financial institutions combined. The organization is a chartered member of NeighborWorks America, the country’s first designated Community Based Development Organization and is recognized nationally for its innovative loan products for homebuyers, homeowners, local minority contractors and “mom and pop” landlords who are unable to borrow from traditional lenders. Learn more at https://www.homehq.org/.

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