Monday, February 22, 2016
Today we are keenly present to the gratitude we feel for all of the people who have generously chosen to support—and involve themselves with—the work of Lead Safe America Foundation. We are finishing up hundreds of thank you letters to folks who donated in 2015. While numbers are not yet final…a total of nearly $200,000 was given by friends like you last year.
Each year’s metrics have surpassed our expectations, with phenomenal growth in the number of families we reach as well as growth in our internet presence and expansion of the reach of our messaging. Just a couple of examples: In 2015 our website LeadSafeAmerica.org had 167,798 unique hits, and we had Twitter parties for #HealthyHousing and #ChildhoodLeadPoisoningPrevention that created as many as 24,000,000 Twitter impressions (with the help of new friends like Jon Fishman, Ed Begley, Jr, Frances Fisher and Moby)!
As we begin 2016, we have more than 10,700 “likes” on the film’s Facebook page, and nearly 1,900 members in our Lead Safe America Foundation public Facebook group – with more than 50,000 people reached via our weekly e-mail blasts!
All of this is incredible—truly unpredictable and amazing! And on top of all of this, the national attention being brought to the issue of childhood lead poisoning as a result of the crisis in Flint (and revelations of similar situations across the country)—while tragic—also presents a tremendous opportunity to fuel a new movement for childhood lead poisoning prevention and awareness.
In the past few weeks I have learned of at least three other filmmakers making new documentary films on lead poisoning! While one might think this would be a little disturbing/annoying to me personally (along the lines “Hey—I was here first! I’ve been working on this movie for FOUR YEARS and I’m NEARING COMPLETION!”) – it’s not, really. I welcome as much coverage of the issue as possible, and in speaking with some of these other filmmakers I have encouraged them to keep me in the loop with their projects as I would love to help them get the word out to as many people as possible! The more ground we can cover – the better; the more people we reach with this message – the more children we protect!
And this brings me to the news about the film—our film— “MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic”…We started working on the film in December of 2011 – on a wing and a prayer – with a lot of help from a lot of people… we did not know how long it would take, what resources we would need, or how it would all pull together, but we did know that a documentary film would represent an unprecedented and powerful tool for getting this information to the “target demographic” for this message: parents of young children.
In 2015 the requests for help from families were practically more than we could manage, but we made it a priority to keep up with these requests for support, since we did not yet have funding to complete the film. As a result we estimate that we helped more than 25,000 families this past year [you could probably add up all of our separate totals and come up with a much higher aggregate estimate, but we felt it was reasonable to be conservative]. The film was *mostly* on the back burner, as our editor had her first child and took maternity leave and simultaneously we did not have the resources to move forward…
Fast forward to today, when we just recently received a grant for $100,000 from an anonymous donor – most of which is designated to help us finish the film [$70,000 designated for the film and $30,000 towards getting a new XRF for the organization.]!
We’re giddy with excitement about the possibilities; we actually may be able to finish editing the film in the next two to three months—we now have the resources to do it! When the opportunity to film with families in Flint came up two weeks ago – we were able to jump on it; we didn’t have to beat the bushes for emergency funding to make that happen; our amazing, award-winning editor is now back with the crew, helping us finish the project (integrating our Flint footage and other recent footage into our otherwise nearly complete film)! [We also just got a pledge of commitment for help with getting music rights for the film (probably the most difficult hurdle left in the project) and are so excited to be moving that forward as well!]
So now please stay tuned, and check back in a couple of months…once animation, music rights and editing are finished, we will need to do sound finishing and picture finishing—and then MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic will be coming to a theater near you! (To see our plan & updated timeline in more detail click HERE.)
Thank you to each and every one of the people who have helped make this film possible [I think the list is at 2,000—2,000 individuals have helped in some way (either with a donation of money, time or other resources! Wow!)]
Mother of Lead Poisoned Children
Founder, Lead Safe America