Program Partners include the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, and NC Child
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.— Mutual of America Financial Group recognized RTI International’s Clean Water for Carolina Kids program and partners with a 2021 Community Partnership Award during a special event earlier this month at Mutual of America’s headquarters in New York City. RTI received $50,000 as one of five nonprofit organizations selected for “outstanding contributions to society, in partnership with public, private and other social sector organizations.”
“Clean Water for Carolina Kids is the first program to make scientifically robust lead-in-water testing achievable across the entire state. With schools and child care centers acting as ‘participant scientists,’ we significantly expand our reach,” said Jennifer Hoponick Redmon, the program director at RTI International. “As a parent of young children, I am especially pleased that our approach empowers local communities with data-driven guidance to keep kids safe from lead exposure.”
Launched in 2017, Clean Water for Carolina Kids is making critical advancements in preventing early childhood exposure to lead. While RTI piloted the testing approach, the NCDHHS, Duke Environmental Law and Policy Center, and NC Child evaluated legal, regulatory and economic options for implementing the lead testing statewide.
Together with input from outside stakeholders, the program partners successfully updated North Carolina’s statewide child care sanitation rule so all licensed child care centers would be required to test for lead in water being used for drinking and food preparation. The program has become a model for eliminating childhood exposure to lead and other contaminants.
“Because of Clean Water for Carolina Kids’ unique approach, more than 98% of licensed child care centers in North Carolina have completed testing since 2020 despite the pandemic,” said Ed Norman, Program Manager for the NCDHHS Environmental Health Section. "With widespread testing, publicly available results and follow-up support, North Carolina is a leader in national efforts to provide lead-free drinking water for young children.”
John R. Greed, Chairman, President and CEO of Mutual of America Financial Group, said of the award winners, “The 2021 award-winning programs have created innovative solutions that address the challenging social, emotional and physical issues faced by many individuals and families in their local communities. Through collaboration and exemplary leadership, these programs are making a meaningful difference in the lives of those they serve, and we are honored to recognize them for their efforts.”
About Mutual of America Financial Group
Mutual of America Financial Group is a leading provider of retirement services and investments to employers, employees and individuals. We provide high-quality, innovative products and services at a competitive price, along with outstanding personalized service, to help our customers build and preserve assets for a financially secure future. Our mission is built upon our values—integrity, prudence, reliability, excellence and social responsibility—which have guided us since 1945 and continue to serve us and our customers well. For more information, visit mutualofamerica.com, and connect with us via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach — one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org. To sign up for testing in North Carolina, go to www.cleanwaterforcarolinakids.org. If you are interested in our other projects, go to www.cleanwaterforUSkids.org or contact us.
About NC Child
NC Child is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization. We advance public policies to ensure that every child in North Carolina has the opportunity to thrive – whatever their race, ethnicity, or place of birth. To find out more and get involved, go to ncchild.org.
About the NC Department of Health and Human Services
The NC Department of Health and Human Services manages the delivery of health- and human-related services for all North Carolinians, especially our most vulnerable citizens — children, elderly, disabled and low-income families. The Department works closely with health care professionals, community leaders and advocacy groups; local, state and federal entities; and many other stakeholders to make this happen.
Image caption: From left to right; Fawn Pattison, Communications Director at NC Child; Ed Norman, Program Director, NCDHHS; Jennifer Hoponick Redmon, Director of Environmental Health and Water Quality at RTI and Clean Water for Carolina Kids Program Director; Tim Gabel, President and CEO of RTI; Keith Levine, Senior Director of Analytical Sciences at RTI, Nancy Lauer, Scientist and Lecturer at the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Clinic; and Andrew Kondash, Research Environmental Scientist at RTI and Clean Water for Carolina Kids Program Coordinator.