The Central New York Community Foundation is inviting all Syracuse residents to take part in a one-day vote to choose which city-wide project will receive $150,000 in grant dollars to help increase childhood lead testing and awareness. Public voting will take place online and in-person at the Salt City Market Tuesday, May 2, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. The online ballot can be accessed at https://pbstanford.org/cny2023. You must be a Syracuse resident and at least 16 years old to vote.
Tuesday’s election is the culmination of nine months of work completed by Syracuse residents, community leaders and nonprofit organizations to design solutions that would be most effective in their neighborhoods. The Community Foundation’s participatory budgeting project invited residents most affected by the striking childhood lead poisoning rates in Syracuse – 10.49% as of 2021 – to decide how to spend LeadSafeCNY funding to address the need.
A series of evening sessions held from September through April supported attendees with dinner and childcare. Participants learned about childhood lead poisoning, generated ideas for solutions and collaboratively developed proposals for the community-wide vote. A total of 165 individuals participated in the design sessions.
“This was a unique opportunity for residents to bring their experiences to the table and decide what they wanted to see happen to change their communities; the energy was electric,” said Qiana Williams, program officer of community engagement at the Community Foundation. “This process amplified the voices of those most affected by childhood lead poisoning and pointed to possible solutions.”
The projects up for vote are:
BABY B.A.C.K. INC.’s Block to Block Project: Will use various outreach approaches such as canvassing, electronic billboard, social media and other messaging campaigns, to screen children for testing, educate and raise awareness around lead prevention, as well as coordinate street-to-street lead testing events in partnership with the Onondaga County Health Department for the 7,800 households in the 13205 zip code.
Syracuse Peacemaking Project’s Lead the Way Project: Will collaborate with PEACE Inc., Families for Lead Freedom Now, and other community partners to 1) provide trainings to staff and community leaders on lead poisoning, barriers to accessing testing and care, and advocacy; 2) screen Syracuse families’ risk for lead poisoning; 3) connect families to lead testing and related aftercare services; and 4) empower residents to lead engagement efforts.
United Way of CNY’s Lyft4Free Project: Will increase the number of children tested by removing transportation as a barrier to visiting the pediatrician’s office or the blood lab after tests have been ordered. Free roundtrip Lyft rides will be available to approximately 1,533 households with children ages 0 to 6 (approximately 2,300 children), particularly focusing on zip codes in the city of Syracuse with a low volume of testing or those that have high positivity rates.
Village Birth International & Sankofa Reproductive Health & Healing Center’s Lead Awareness Expansion Project: Will partner with Doula 4 a Queen, zenG Wellness and Cafe Sankofa to use community-based doula care as an avenue of engagement and peer to peer community-led wellness. Doula-led education will be expanded to incorporate lead awareness and prevention into pre- and post-partum programming.
Additional details about the projects up for vote can be found here.
The winning project will be announced live at a celebration party being held on May 2 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m in the Salt City Market’s community room. All participants, voters and members of the media are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be available.
The Community Foundation established LeadSafeCNY in 2018, committing to fund a variety of approaches to address the region’s high childhood lead poisoning rates. The total amount invested in the community to date through LeadSafeCNY is $1.97 million.
To learn more about the Community Foundation’s participatory budgeting project, visit http://www.cnycf.org/budgeting.
About the 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 $250 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.