Lead-Free MV

The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties is committed to a multi-million-dollar initiative aimed at reducing childhood lead poisoning and supporting access to healthy housing in Herkimer and Oneida counties for the next decade. The Foundation will lead and coordinate “Lead-Free MV” with multiple community partners, including the Oneida County Health Department, Herkimer County Public Health and Herkimer County HealthNet among many others.

Lead-Free MV, as a ‘Collective Impact Initiative,’ provides a framework to tackle this deeply entrenched and complex social problem, through an innovative and structured approach empowering government, business, philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and citizens to collaborate and achieve significant, lasting social change.

A Silent Danger

In recent years, Oneida County has had one of the highest levels of childhood lead poisoning in the state. Experts say children can be exposed to lead through a variety of sources, including contaminated soil or water; imported toys, pottery or cosmetics; and paint used before 1978. At low levels, symptoms of poisoning are often hard to detect, but may include loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and abdominal discomfort.

Long-term lead exposure can result in developmental delays, learning difficulties and behavioral issues, with lifelong financial consequences. And despite a state law requiring early childhood testing for lead exposure, a third of pre-school children in Herkimer and Oneida Counties have not had the required blood test.

Coalition for Change

Beginning with The Foundation’s initial $1 million investment through 2019 and a multi-million-dollar commitment for the following decade, the Lead-Free MV Coalition will focus on healthy housing and the reduction of lead hazards in pre-1978 housing, as well as expanding testing and community awareness of the problem. Efforts will range from direct outreach and education to strengthening legislation related to property maintenance.

In addition to providing seed funding, The Foundation will serve as a “backbone organization” for Lead-Free MV and coordinates efforts among partner organizations. The Coalition oversees the initiative’s mission and progress, and helps advance the cause within the community. Coalition members represent public health, local government, legal, insurance, healthcare, education, child care, construction and support services constituencies.

Interested in working with the coalition? Contact The Foundation at 315-735-8212 or email info@leadfreemv.org.