CHF was founded in 2002 by Dr. Benjamin Hooks, noted civil rights leader and former Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP, and former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD) Jack Kemp to promote the prevention of childhood lead poisoning, the most significant and preventable environmental health problem facing America's children. These two leaders recognized the need for a practical approach to prevent childhood lead poisoning and understood the importance of collaboration with states and cities seeking programs and funding to address lead hazards.
CHF's first task was to help establish a federally-funded grant program for lead hazard reduction in housing in at-risk cities, the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program, administered by HUD. This grant program directs $50 million per year toward lead hazard remediation of low income housing units, and has been renewed each year since its inception in 2003. To date, nearly $300 million has been awarded to 52 communities under the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program.
To ensure the funding received by communities was used effectively for lead hazard reduction, CHF began to work with community leaders and elected officials in cities nationwide to make prevention the cornerstone of a comprehensive children's health strategy. For example, CHF has partnered with the City of St. Louis to support the local implementation of the national goal to eradicate childhood lead poisoning and reduce the prevalence of preventable diseases in underserved communities.
CHF began awarding small grants to community-based organizations in 2004. CHF's first grant went to support the City of Providence, RI's application for HUD funding to remediate lead hazards in at-risk neighborhoods. The grant application resulted in $3.9 million awarded to Providence. Since then, CHF has awarded grants to numerous organizations including Pacoima Beautiful, Wipe Out Lead New Jersey, the National Center for Healthy Housing, Park West Health System, and the Children's Health Fund.
In 2005, CHF entered into a historic partnership with Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, and funded by DuPont, to develop and implement a comprehensive, multi-year, multi-million dollar statewide lead poisoning prevention program called the Healthy Kids Collaborative (HKC). In 2007, the Healthy Kids Collaborative awarded $1.33 million in grants for outreach and education to six community-based organizations, and in 2008 HKC awarded $6.7 million for lead hazard reduction in 600 low-income Rhode Island housing units in targeted inner-city communities. The program will serve as a model for other cities and states as an integrated, cost-effective, and comprehensive approach to lead safety and remediation.
Over the years, CHF has expanded its scope of work to include other significant and preventable illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. We have worked closely with community and civic leaders, health advocates, elected officials, and the faith-based community to promote our mission of eliminating childhood diseases that may be prevented through outreach and education. CHF is confident that through programs like the ones we've championed, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of children.