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Wellmark Foundation funds four health improvement projects in South Dakota

Grant, chosen from 150 requests, focus on childhood obesity and, wellness

January 24, 2011

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – The Wellmark Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation created by Wellmark, Inc., has funded four health improvement grants in South Dakota totaling $185,000.

The Foundation’s funding focuses on improving the health of Iowa and South Dakota communities by supporting programs targeting childhood obesity prevention, and community-based wellness and prevention. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests.

“These comprehensive and unique projects were selected through a competitive peer review process and represent the best community projects possible” says Matt McGarvey, Wellmark Foundation director. “Our philanthropic resources achieve the greatest impact when they are combined with community resources, and we are honored to support the projects these grants represent.”

All awards are two-year grants unless otherwise noted. Organizations receiving grants in the following prioirty areas include:

Childhood Obesity Prevention

  • Dakota Rural Action in Brookings will use a $115,110 grant to develop the framework for a farm to school program in South Dakota. The goals of the program, which will be piloted in two schools, are to increase consumption of fresh, healthy, locally produced foods in South Dakota schools, educate students about health and agriculture, and support local farmers.
  • Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons in Sioux Falls received a $20,000 one-year grant to develop a health and fitness program for girls. The program will help improve the health of 250 participating Girl Scouts and their families across the state. Girls will learn ways to improve their health, access health and fitness resources, and set goals for a healthy lifestyle.

Wellness and Prevention

  • The Mitchell Area Charitable Foundation will use a $25,000 grant to expand breastfeeding education in the community. The program strives to increase breastfeeding among new mothers, and help mothers breastfeed longer.
  • St. Mary’s Foundation in Pierre received a $24,986 grant to implement a pre-diabetes awareness program. The project will develop and distribute toolkits to 100 community-based service and social organizations across the state to facilitate behavior changes and improve the health, decreasing the number of South Dakotans who develop type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The South Dakota Diabetes Coalition (SDDC) will administer and provide leadership for this collaborative effort.

Visit for more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs



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