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LeadSafe CNY initiative receives $150,000 grant

By Traci DeLore (


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has awarded a $150,000 grant to the Central New York Community Foundation’s LeadSafeCNY initiative, allocated toward the cost of hiring a coordinator for the LeadSafe CNY Coalition.

Over the past four years, the foundation has provided a total of $625,000 in financial support to LeadSafeCNY, according to a news release from the CNY Community Foundation.

The LeadSafe CNY coordinator will work closely with partner organizations to formulate and implement the coalition’s goals, objectives, and strategies. The individual will be employed by Home HeadQuarters, a housing-development organization working to remove lead paint from Syracuse homes.

The LeadSafeCNY Coalition is a collaboration of stakeholders from health care, housing, education, philanthropy, and government sectors along with affected residents working to decrease lead-poisoning rates in Central New York, the release stated.

Chipping lead paint is the leading source of lead poisoning in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 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, per the release. This can lead to higher likelihood of ADHD diagnosis, absenteeism, criminal behavior, violence, and suicide.

Since the CNY Community Foundation’s LeadSafeCNY grantmaking launched in 2018, nearly 1,500 windows and 150 doors have been replaced and more than 195 rental units have been either newly constructed or renovated. In addition, 280 individuals were trained in proper lead-paint removal. According to the Onondaga County Health Department, 11 percent of Syracuse youth tested in 2022 had elevated blood-lead levels.

The foundation says it has committed to investing at least $2 million to fund a variety of approaches to address the region’s high childhood lead-poisoning rates. To date, it has invested $2.3 million through LeadSafeCNY.

The Central New York Community Foundation is a public charity, established in 1927, that receives contributions from donors, manages them to grow over time, and then distributes funding to address the region’s greatest needs. The foundation says it has invested more than $270 million in community projects that benefit Central New York.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation awards grants to meet the unmet health-care needs of individuals, families, and communities throughout the state.

Home HeadQuarters is a nonprofit neighborhood and housing-development organization and certified community development financial institution that offers home purchase and improvement loans and developed more than 1,300 formerly vacant and abandoned properties.

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