2014 Grant Awards
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The Wellmark Foundation funds projects that are grounded in community and builds on collaborations to improve the health of Iowa and South Dakota communities.

2014 Healthy Community Grant Awards

Here are brief summaries of the grants awarded in 2014 by The Wellmark Foundation board of directors.


Buchanan County Conservation Board (Hazelton) $10,313 grant award
Cedar Valley Nature Trail Surfacing Project Partnership
Buchanan County Conservation Board is partnering with neighboring Black Hawk County, the federal Transportation Alternatives Program, a local Trails Association and the small town of Brandon, to rehabilitate and resurface a 4.4-mile section of the 52-mile Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Eastern Iowa. This includes improving the trail’s surface and corridor, and developing and installing interpretive and way-finding signage.

Buchanan County Health Trust (Independence) $9,885 grant award
Igniting the SPARK
“Igniting the SPARK” will work to decrease the obesity rates in Buchanan County for children in first grade by offering a healthy initiative specifically for introducing healthy snack options and daily physical activity, as well as supporting integration into classroom learning. This program will involve incentives for positive behavior and knowledge demonstration in youth throughout Buchanan County.

Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health (Mason City) $24,951 grant award
Staywell: Cultivate Healthy Communities
The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health will use this funding as a catalyst for a larger project to establish a community-based dietitian to improve the nutritional environment in Cerro Gordo. In particular, the dietitian will work on several initiatives to increase the use of Farm-to-School programs and EBT usage at farmer’s markets.

City of Atlantic (Atlantic) $25,000 grant award
Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project
The project will focus on reconstruction of an old trail that runs along the Bull Creek in the center of Atlantic. This section of the trail will complete the intra-city trail system that runs from the south of Atlantic, through town and out to the Schildberg Recreation Area.

City of Manning (Manning) $25,000 grant award
City Park Connector Trail
This grant will help build a 2,200-foot concrete trail to give pedestrians access via the connecting trail to existing wellness opportunities, including the recreation center, community football and soccer fields, community gardens, the city park and other community amenities. It is the first community connecting trail in the city of Manning.

City of Mason City – Youth Task Force (Mason City) $25,000 grant award
Outdoor Fitness Stations
The outdoor fitness stations are a project of youth volunteers on the Youth Task Force Community Coalition. This project will install fitness equipment at four outdoor locations in the community that is accessible and free to all citizens. The youth will make the community aware of this addition to the built environment and educate the public on the physical activity opportunities of the outdoor fitness stations.

Clinton County Board of Health - Healthy Lifestyles Coalition (Clinton) $20,652 grant award
A Healthy Behaviors Educational and Motivation Program

Clinton County Healthy Lifestyles Coalition seeks to educate and motivate elementary school-aged children in Clinton County by providing education to the children and their families about factors that contribute to childhood obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles that can effectively counteract unhealthy habits. In order to do this, members of the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition recognize that any effective effort designed for positive impact must target the problem from multiple windows of entry. The project targets evidence-based practices that produce change on two levels: the child and the family.

Community Health Partners of Sioux County (Orange City) $21,400 grant award
Let’s Go Sioux County
The Let’s Go Sioux County 5-2-1-0 project is a summer activity promotion program modeled after summer reading programs. Part of the project is to implement a coordinated, culturally and geographically specific social marketing campaign to reduce childhood obesity.

Dallas County Public Health (Adel) $19,190 grant award
Perry Elementary Walking School Bus Program
The goal of this initiative is to address the childhood obesity epidemic by assessing and modifying infrastructure for active transportation and implementing an evidence-based walking school bus program to encourage more kids to walk or bike to Perry Elementary School.

Goodwill of the Great Plains (Sioux City) $17,976 grant award
YouthBuild Skills & Grills
This project serves at-risk, previous-dropout high school students in Goodwill’s Sioux City YouthBuild program with nutrition education, access to healthy foods every day, cooking classes instructed by a local chef and take-home cookware and food for families. These at-risk youth, many with family responsibilities and dependent young children, learn lifelong cooking and nutrition habits and skills while working toward a high school diploma.

Mills County Public Health (Glenwood) $25,000 grant award
Eat Healthy Mills County
This project will increase the availability of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Project partners plan to strengthen their Farm-to-School program by utilizing a team teacher/mentoring program with high school mentors assisting second through fourth graders.  The project funding will also expand availability through the Glenwood Giving Garden by implementing a sustainable volunteer recruitment program and increasing their community education component.

Siouxland District Health Department (Sioux City) $25,000 grant award
Sioux City Walking School Bus Infrastructure Project
Siouxland District Health Department, in conjunction with Sioux City Public Works department and the Sioux City School Corporation, plan to implement active transportation approaches by improving designated safe walking bus routes to school with needed infrastructure improvements.

University of Northern Iowa Foundation (Cedar Falls) $24,200 grant award
FRED: Food, Resource & Education Demonstration
Funding will will launch a mobile integrative cooking and food education program with a primary aim to create enthusiasm and motivation for eating both healthy and local foods while increasing food efficacy (perceived confidence, skills and ability related to food and nutrition).

United Way of Central Iowa (Des Moines) $25,000 grant award
United Way Health Connect Pilot Project
The United Way Health Connect pilot project will offer a way for doctors to “prescribe” basic resources like food and heat, just as they do medication, for patients who are in need of assistance. Specially-trained volunteer advocates work side-by-side with the patient to access community resources/community health utilities and public benefits that are marked on the prescription pad.

YMCA of the Metropolitan Cedar Rapids Area (Cedar Rapids) $7,208 grant award
Enhance Fitness in the Cedar Rapids Metro Area
Enhance Fitness is a physical activity program for older adults with arthritis. YMCA of Cedar Rapids plans to pilot this program in its service area at both the YMCA and community partnership sites. The model is evidence-based and the Cedar Rapids location is one of a handful of Ys piloting this project nationally as part of a larger national effort around senior health and physical activity promotions.


South Dakota

Black Hills State University (Spearfish) $24,800 grant award
Spearfish Local

Spearfish Local is the beginning of new community-wide partnership that focuses on health aspects of the community, including a focus on the health benefits of the local food economy. Spearfish Local is unique because it is bringing passionate community organizers together with like-minded university faculty and more than 4,000 students who can contribute to community health and wellness through internships, class projects and service learning.

City of Sioux Falls Health Department (Sioux Falls) $25,000 grant award
Helping Sioux Falls Residents Eat Well and Live Well
While the Sioux Falls community enjoys a strong business climate and high quality of life, a recent community health status report identified several needs in the area of nutrition, including the fact that Sioux Falls is among the lowest-ranked communities in the nation for fruit and vegetable consumption. South Dakota State University Extension and Live Well Sioux Falls seek to utilize a food policy council to support planning for, and implementation of, local strategies to increase the access to and consumption of healthy foods and beverages.

Dakota Rural Action (Brookings) $25,000 grant award
South Dakota Farm to School Program
Dakota Rural Action will continue to develop a Farm-to-School program that will increase the amount of locally produced healthy foods in South  Dakota school lunch programs, help educate about farming and eating healthy, and increasing the healthy food choices made by South Dakota school children. Dakota Rural Action will increase the number of schools serving local food in their school lunch programs and deepen the impact of the programs that are already serving locally-sourced foods.

South Dakota 4-H Foundation (Brookings) $24,220 grant award
Get Active. Stay Active
Get Active. Stay Active is a pilot project to involve 200 Brookings youth, ages 8-12, in a series of four seasonal outdoor recreation mini-programs to get kids active and outside for physical activity. The program is intended to build outdoor activity skills linked specially to seasons of the year and ultimately to contribute to lifelong, outdoor hobbies and healthier living.


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