February 14, 2016
A love letter for Valentine’s Day…
I am taking a moment on this beautiful Sunday (down here in the San Francisco Bay Area) to write a love letter expressing my personal gratitude, and the gratitude of every person associated with Lead Safe America Foundation for the generous and active support from Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation this past year!
When we first heard from Jon Fishman and his wife Briar a year ago this weekend, [as incredible as the following admission may sound to hardcore Phish Phans] we had absolutely no idea who they were (other than that they were concerned parents of a lead poisoned kiddo), and – to be frank – really had almost no idea what Phish was – nor any idea of the scope of their amazing community of Phans and their impact on the world!
Since then, we have had the privilege of getting to know and work with so many positive and engaged Phans (both in the virtual world of social media, and through highly productive personal collaboration), and have discovered that much of this community’s demographics parallels our (Lead Safe America’s) followers too: families—parents of young children, concerned with keeping all of our children safe and protecting them from environmental toxicity, parents wanting the best for their children, parents wanting safe homes for their families!
Thank you so much, WaterWheel Foundation, for donating $11,384.56(!) in support of our work this past year [$5,000 this past summer which enabled us to have our booth at the 2015 Magnaball Festival in upstate New York, and another $6,384.56 this past month, raised through the July 2015 Bend, Oregon Phish Show’s WaterWheel booth]. In addition to making it possible for us to reach out to so many families in the Phish community, your support made it possible for Lead Safe America Foundation to initiate efforts to bring awareness to the crisis in Flint, Michigan and has helped us to reach out to Flint families over the past month—bringing them information, free, independent lead-in-water testing, as well as affording us the opportunity to formulate longer term goals for how we can help families there. Our upcoming Flint plans include bringing more free water testing, free blood lead testing, & free XRF testing [for identifying additional sources of exposure to lead and other toxic heavy metals in household goods] to families, as well as participating in a city-wide Earth Day festival.
Without WaterWheel’s help, we would not have been able to make our first outreach trip to Flint (at the end of January), let alone start laying the groundwork for ongoing outreach events there—advocacy initiatives and events that will happen this month and over the next several months as well!
WaterWheel Foundation’s generous and un-imagined support has enabled us to reach out to and connect with thousands of families across the United States—many of whom are new to the issue of childhood lead poisoning as a vital facet of environmental – and personal – protection.
And the financial support – while so very much appreciated – is unexpectedly truly secondary to the impact that being welcomed into the Phish community has had on our work helping families everywhere!…
A sweet anniversary:
Since Valentine’s weekend a year ago, our work has become inextricably linked to the community of Phans & specifically the “Little Ragers” community – more than 3,000 Phans who are also parents of young children. Individuals within this amazing community have helped us spread the word about our work helping families, have made t-shirts for Lead Safe America, have filmed footage for our documentary, have directly helped us help families in Flint, have helped get Lead Safe America PSAs on national radio, have come to speak with us at events, and – using our free lead test kits to test the paint in their homes some have even – sadly – discovered some of their own children have been poisoned, have then joined our parent support group (for parents of lead poisoned children), have volunteered to help us bring outreach to their communities—in New York, Oregon, Vermont, Michigan, Arizona, California and elsewhere. It’s truly been an unparalleled experience, in terms of how one single “connection” can have a domino effect that has educated thousands of parents in a community, in turn helping to protect many thousands of children across the country.
We look forward to any opportunities to collaborate with the WaterWheel Foundation and Phans in 2016 and in the future—and fondly anticipate connecting with more and more Phans and being part of this Phamily for years to come.
We love you WaterWheel! Thank you!
Founder & Executive Director
Lead Safe America Foundation
on behalf of the Board, Staff and Families of Lead Safe America