Family members prepare food around a kitchen counter

Grant Assessing Lead Poisoning Solutions with Residents

Two groups will partner to lead ‘Kitchen Table Talks’ with families who have been identified through our Life Needs Assessment tool as having been impacted by lead issues in their housing.

November 8, 2021 – Center for Court Innovation and Planned Parenthood of Western & Central New York recently received a $40,000 performance management grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to assess lead poisoning and housing issues in Syracuse.

The groups will partner to lead ‘Kitchen Table Talks’ with families who have been identified through the Community Foundation’s Life Needs Assessment (LNA) tool as having been impacted by lead issues in their housing. In a series of sessions held over the next two years, 8-10 neighbors will be invited by a host to share a meal in their home. There, residents will be asked by trained community messengers for their input on solutions to the lead poisoning problem in Syracuse. Some neighborhoods were reported to have upwards of 25% of children with elevated blood lead levels in 2019, according to the Onondaga County Health Department.

“We intend to gather data about their perception of community resources, possible solutions and what has or has not worked for residents up to this point,” said Sarah Reckess, director of Center for Court Innovation’s Syracuse office. “By using the LNA, we now will be able to specifically reach out to individuals we know have a pre-identified need in a specific geographic area.”

Community assessment is a major focus of the Community Foundation’s Performance Management Learning Community (PMLC), now entering its tenth year. PMLC uses grant dollars and peer learning to help nonprofits measure their effectiveness.

“Participating in PMLC has allowed us to expand our understanding that data is not only about reporting requirements and it’s not bothersome – it can help frame our work and add depth to our understanding of the community we work in,” said Reckess. “We also appreciate having other agencies at the table – being able to ask questions and go through the learning process together helped us forge relationships with other agencies who are committed to improving the community.”

This year, seven organizations received a total of $105,000 in grants to join the next PMLC class: Symphoria ($5,000); Onondaga Earth Corps ($20,000); Center for Community Alternatives ($5,000); FOCUS Greater Syracuse ($20,000); Wellhouse Industries ($15,000); Center for Court Innovation & Planned Parenthood ($40,000).

The Community Foundation awards PMLC grants to support data measuring efforts, which include such things as database management and statistical analysis, to help nonprofits track their efforts and look for trends. This in turn assists the organizations in identifying what is working and what is not, leading to the development of more effective programming and funding competitiveness. Applicants agree to participate in a year-long learning community in order to qualify for a grant.

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