2012 Grant Awards
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The Wellmark Foundation seeks projects that are grounded in community and build on collaborations to address underserved populations.

2012 Healthy Communities Grant Awards

Here are brief summaries of the grants awarded  in 2012 by The Wellmark Foundation board of directors.

Childhood Obesity Prevention-based Grant Awards

Healthy Henry County Communities (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) $16,355 grant award
Walking School Bus Programs in Henry County
Healthy Henry County Communities will implement walking school bus programs in stages beginning in the spring of 2013 throughout all four schools districts in Henry County.  The goal of these programs is to increase physical activity levels among both the children and the adults walking, in turn helping create safer routes to school and reducing obesity through physical activity. 

Siouxland District Health Department (Sioux City, Iowa) $20,000 grant award
Sioux City CATCH Program
Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD), in conjunction with Beyond the Bell, is addressing the growing childhood obesity prevalence in Woodbury County.  SDHD staff will assist with wellness policy development, revisions and implementation, as well as provide sites with the training and curriculum needed to implement the CATCH Kids Club program in five Beyond the Bell afterschool programs, with potential to reach 2,047 students through this initiative.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (Des Moines, Iowa) $16,600 grant award
Fostering Healthy Diets in Children through Vibrant School Projects
This project addresses the national and local problem of child obesity by fostering school food environments that feature fresh fruits and vegetables and garden-based education.  The target community is students, their families and teachers in the Des Moines Public School system, with a specific emphasis on schools with free and reduced lunch rates of more than 50 percent.  NCAT will work intensively with six Des Moines schools, most likely those with whom NCAT partnered during the 2011-2012 school year to establish school gardens, and teach nutrition education via FoodCorps work – Moulton, Carver, River Woods, Hillis, Monroe and Goodrell.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Education) $19,992 grant award
Meet the Challenge!  Improving School Wellness Policies throughout Iowa
The Meet the Challenge! project began in 2011 by training five registered dietitians (RDs) in the state to assist 40 schools in modifying school lunch menus and working with school wellness councils to advocate for increasing minutes of daily physical activity, modifying other school wellness policies and assisting schools in applying for one of USDA’s prestigious HealthierUS Schools Challenge (HUSSC) awards.  This work will continue to assist an additional 20 schools in achieving application-ready status for HUSSC awards during the 2012-2013 school year.

South Dakota
South Dakota Discovery Center (Pierre, S.D.) $18,760 grant award
VEGGiES:  Volunteers & Educators Growing Gardens with Eager Students
The VEGGiES project fully engages children and the community in growing fresh fruits and vegetables to increase healthy eating habits and to increase outdoor physical activity through maintaining the gardens.  The short-term goal is to create and support gardening programs at seven partner sites until they achieve sustainability – three elementary schools, one Head Start site, and three out-of-school child care sites.  Long-term, the project will spread the work to all school sites in Hughes and Stanley counties.  Project strategies include training and curricula, site coordination support and sustainability planning. 

Boys and Girls Clubs of Sioux Empire (Sioux Falls, S.D.) $20,000 grant award
Future Chefs of America
Future Chefs of America seeks to prevent childhood obesity by providing youth with hands-on learning experiences to gain knowledge about nutrition and its effects on the human body – as well as practical kitchen skills for planning and preparing balanced, nutritious meals.  In addition, participants will learn cultural and social norms for table etiquette, explore cooking-related careers and develop self-confidence in their abilities.  Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire and its partners will develop a curriculum toolkit that can be packaged for replication at the more than 4,000 clubs within the BCGA system, achieving exponential impact across generations of club members.

South Dakota State University (Brookings, S.D.) $20,000 grant award
School Wellness Policies:  Assisting School Districts to Identify and Overcome Barriers to Implementation
As a federal strategy to combat childhood obesity in America’s school systems, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 requires all educational facilities that received federal funding as part of the National School Lunch Program to develop and implement a school wellness policy.  Although school districts are creating wellness policies, there is not a system in place to evaluate the quality of the written policies or the ability of the school system to implement the policies. Therefore, the goal of the project is to conduct an assessment of school wellness policies within the state of South Dakota in order to identify the needs and barriers associated with writing a strong policy and implementing the policy within the school system to foster wellness and prevent childhood obesity.

Community-Based Wellness and Prevention-Based Grant Awards

Black Hawk County Health Department (Waterloo, Iowa) $19,000 grant award
Creating a Culture of Healthy Living:  Social Support and Enhanced Access for Physical Activity in East Waterloo
To reduce disparities and improve the health of low-income, minority populations in East Waterloo, the Black Hawk County Board of Health, Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, City of Waterloo, faith-based organizations and neighborhood advocates have partnered to develop infrastructure and social support for physical activity.  Utilizing a variety of evidence-based strategies, including faith-based outreach, capacity building, infrastructure improvements, walking groups, and an innovative outdoor fitness zone, the goal of the  initiative is to increase physical activity among adults living in a neighborhood that does not have access to safe, convenient and affordable venues for exercise through culturally relevant messaging and promotion.

Burlington Area Community YMCA-YWCA (Burlington, Iowa) $20,000 grant award
Des Moines County Living Well Trail Connector
Grant support will be used to complete an approximately 500-foot gap in a bicycle/pedestrian path near the new Edward Stone Middle School.  The section will connect two existing sections of bicycle/pedestrian path to make active transportation a more feasible option for increased physical activity.

South Dakota
City of Sioux Falls Health Department (Sioux Falls, S.D.) $19,450 grant award
Commute Active!
This project will commence development of an Active Transportation Program for the City of Sioux Falls, as part of the overall Live Well Sioux Falls community health initiative.  The project focuses on advancing active transportation in biking and walking through foundation strategies of bike route destination signage, bike racks, street routes, community walking audits, cross buttons and education/awareness activities.

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