2011 Grant Awards
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2011 Level I (smaller) Grants (6 grants total of $138,555)

Family & Children’s Council (Waterloo, IA); $20,000 grant award
Healthy Babies Program  
This project proposes to support the birth of healthy babies to African-American pregnant women by encouraging early and consistent prenatal care, as well as a focus on overall wellness.  This will occur through a mentoring and case management system to improve birth outcomes by lowering the incidences of low birth weight and premature babies, along with bi-monthly educational forums that will raise awareness of the issue.  Birth outcomes for infants can be significantly improved by providing comprehensive care for women before and during their pregnancies in a culturally specific manner.

South Dakota Dept of Health (Pierre, SD); $25,000 grant award
Fruit and Vegetable Project 
In efforts to change South Dakota's downward trend in fruit and vegetable consumption rates among adults and youth, the DOH Nutrition and Physical Activity program seeks funding to assist with a formative assessment to understand the barriers to why South Dakotans are not consuming the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.  The information gathered will aid in planning and implementing an initiative on awareness and promotion of fruits and vegetables through environmental and policy strategies.

Iowa State University (Ames, IA); $21,580 grant award
The Chef Charles Revision Project  
The aging Iowan population merits the creation of an evidence-based health education program for older adults.  The purpose of this proposed project is to revise the Chef Charles nutrition education program using social marketing theory for Iowans age 60+ incorporating the components of evidence-based programs.  Health promotion programs provide many benefits to public health agencies including increased likelihood of positive outcomes, easier program implementation, effective use of resources, and the utilization of standard evaluation methods.

South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD); $22,900 grant award
Reading Round-up:  A literacy-based curriculum encouraging healthy behaviors: 
The overall goal of Reading Round-up, a curriculum of published storybooks and nutrition and physical activities, is to reduce the prevalence of obesity while improving the health of preschool-aged and elementary-aged children and families.  The project will last 24 months with the initial stages beginning late spring 2012.  SDSU faculty and personnel will evaluate the impact of the curriculum on overall improvement in dietary and physical activity levels of the child, the child's knowledge of healthy eating and activity, and the potential of utilizing more community-based activities for future dissemination.      

City of Mason City (Mason City, IA); $25,000 grant award
Walking School Bus Project - Jefferson and Hoover Elementary Schools
The Mason City Youth Task Force will organize and coordinate the implementation of a Walking School Bus project for the spring 2011 and fall 2012 seasons at Jefferson and Hoover Elementary Schools in Mason City, IA.  This project will increase the activity level of 200 elementary students and provide safe routes for children to walk to school.  The city and its Youth Task Force will engage adult and high school student volunteers as part of the Walking School Bus project.

Iowa Dept of Public Health (Des Moines, IA); $24,075 grant award
Strategic Social Marketing to Prevent Obesity among Low-income Iowans 
This proposal would implement a social marketing intervention in Des Moines, Iowa, using radio and television.  This grant would allow the Iowa Nutrition Network to implement a campaign with significant reach and rigorously evaluate the effect of that campaign on parents' nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors.  Messaging would be behaviorally-focused to include long-tested Pick a Better Snack & Act, as well as messaging around making the switch to 1% and fat-free milk (their bodies change, so should their milk).

2011 Level II (larger) Grants (3 grants total of $408,420)

Iowa 4-H Foundation (Ames, IA); $128,436 grant award
Expanding Iowa’s USDA FNS People’s Garden School Pilot Program
In April 2011, USDA announced that Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is one of four state cooperative extension services (Washington, New York, Arkansas) that together will develop and run the only USDA Food and Nutrition Service People’s Garden School Pilot Program.  Wellmark Foundation funding would expand the limitations of the People’s Garden, Healthy Gardens, Health Youth grant to assure that every student in Iowa’s participating schools and grades (approximately 3,800 youth) will receive the same classroom and gardening nutrition education opportunities to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and access to healthy foods.  It will also be a catalyst to develop youth groups that carry the school garden and nutrition program through the summer and in year-round after-school programs.  

Iowa State University (Ames, IA); $149,984 grant award
Immersion in Wellness
Childhood obesity has the potential to cripple millions of American youth with debilitating complications as well as the healthcare system.  Immersion experiences have been successfully implemented in educational programming relative to language and/or cultural acquisition.  The focus of this proposal is to not only create and deliver experiential health education, but truly ‘immerse’ youth in an environment which fosters health promoting behaviors.  Immersion experiences in nutrition, physical activity, culinary, gardening, and a health-promoting environment will develop youths’ skills and self-efficacy, transferring positive health behaviors to their home and community.
Iowa Food Systems Council (Elkhart, IA); $130,000 grant award
Iowa Food Gardening Initiative:  Cultivating Food Security & Health
The Iowa Food Gardening Initiative will cultivate food security and improve health by increasing household, community, school and workplace food gardens across Iowa through integrated coordination, education, outreach and research strategies within food and nutrition assistance programs.  Administered by the Iowa Food Systems Council, the primary initiatives are to a) convene a statewide Food Access and Health Work Group (FAHWG) to address food insecurity, hunger and public health issues in Iowa using a community-based food system framework (coordination); b) Develop, implement and evaluate a Hunger-Free Iowa Food Garden Initiative.  This includes a statewide food gardening education initiative encouraging participants of federal food and nutrition assistance programs and emergency food assistance programs to engage in gardening activities (Education); a campaign that encourages home, community, school and workplace food gardeners to plant extra vegetables and/or pick extra fruit to donate to a food pantry or food bank in their community (Outreach); and a logic model for assessing impacts of community gardens in low-income neighborhoods using the Empowerment Gardens in Des Moines as a pilot (Research).

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