You need to know the impact of the Coalition on Lead emergency (COLE) a collective of nonprofits, environmentalists, educators, doctors, community members, and civic activists with four focuses to address the lead emergency in Milwaukee: education, workforce development, parent leaders, and advocacy. We have entered into a partnership with COLE to support their important work. 

COLE’s mission: to create a sustainable lead safe environment in Milwaukee by engaging a broad range of community partners.

You can take action too!


Contact Shy

Read and advocate for COLE’s asks in the Wisconsin Biennial Budget

Sign up to join COLE’s monthly meetings in-person or on zoom

Follow COLE on Facebook to learn about upcoming opportunities


Did you Know?
Lead testing in Milwaukee has fallen by 39% even though 3.3% of tested kids report lead levels above 10 mcg/dL .

COLE is changing this!
By organizing, advocating, and educating Milwaukee residents to create a lead safe city.

  • Monthly resource events for families
  • 40 kids tested at one block party
  • 150 families referred to best care practices
  • Dozens of partners in most affected areas
  • In-home follow up with families
Parent Education
  • 1900 lead awareness kits given to expectant and new mothers in targeted zip codes
  • 100 families trained around water, paint, soil, and nutrition, and how to educate other parents
  • Monthly meetings open to any family to receive lead education. 400 more kits given to attending families
  • 500 filtered water pitchers to supplement families buying water bottles to protect from lead
Advocating for change

Before 2021 children had to test at 20 mcg/dL or more to receive resources or intervention.

  • COLE partners advocated with elected officials to lower the level to 10 mcg/dL so more families.
  • affected by lead have access to the resources they need.
  • Children who test at 9.9 mcg/dL or lower are referred to COLE where they can get a lead kit and training on how to prevent further exposure.

COLE programs educate parents to advocate for their children and train them to educate other parents. Results:

  • COLE’s database increased from 8 families in 2019 to over 200 families.
  • More than 500 families benefit from the COLE lead educational meetings, resources, and follow-up visits.

COLE advocated for increased state and community investment in lead prevention and education:

  • $8 million over two years from the state budget for the Lead Safe Homes Program.
  • $1 million raised for COLE: $500,000 from the UW Madison School of Public Health WI Partnership Program and $500,00 from Milwaukee County Health Department to respond to more elevated blood lead level (EBLL) cases and equip birthing moms with lead free kits.