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Wellmark Foundation grant funds awarded to the Black Hawk County Health Department

Grant, chosen from over 130 requests, will fund the Creating a Culture of Healthy Living Project

March 26, 2013

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(Waterloo, Iowa) –The Black Hawk County Health Department has received a $19,000 grant from The Wellmark Foundation to implement the Creating a Culture of Healthy Living project.Working with local faith-based organizations and community partners, the program seeks to increase physical activity among adults living in a neighborhood that does not have access to safe, convenient, and affordable venues. Walking programs, infrastructure improvements and a unique outdoor fitness zone will be promoted.

Creating a Culture of Healthy Living Project
 A sub-committee of the Black Hawk County Board of Health identified the need for safe, accessible, and culturally appropriate opportunities for physical activity in our community. “When we were presented with statistics that showed significant health disparities experienced in our community, many red flags went up. Our community offers so much opportunity, and yet some of the basics are still lacking for a good portion of citizens. The collaboration of individuals and The Wellmark Foundation, who were able to make this project happen, is a testament to the power of possibility when concerned citizens work together,” said Elizabeth Cox, Chairperson of the Black Hawk County Board of Health.

The Creating a Culture of Healthy Living project will facilitate the development of neighborhood level change to support adults motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes. The project is made possible through community collaboration, with key contributions from the Black Hawk County Board of Health, City of Waterloo Leisure Services, YWCA of Black Hawk County, Waterloo Blue Zones, Northeast Iowa Family Practice Medical Education Foundation, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood advocates.  

Grant One of Only Ten Selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans and their communities. Through its 2012 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received 135 grant requests seeking support for smaller community health projects. This grant award to the Black Hawk County Health Department represents one of ten competitively awarded grants to establish pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award a cumulative total of over $190,000 to these ten grant recipients to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The Wellmark Foundation is enthusiastic about the Creating a Culture of Healthy Living project,” says Matt McGarvey, director of the Wellmark Foundation. “By improving access to safe and affordable venues for exercise, this program addresses physical activity needs in low-income, minority populations in East Waterloo. Our grant donation helps provide the resources needed to create that environment.”

Black Hawk County Health Department
The Black Hawk County Health Department is currently one of the largest local public health agencies in the State of Iowa with more than 100 staff providing more than 30 programs and services in areas including communicable and environmental health disease surveillance and investigations; school nursing services in Waterloo and Cedar Falls School Districts; and child, adolescent and community health and wellness promotion programs. The Health Department provides leadership in numerous public health partnerships, promotes best practices, and champions evidence-based health promotion programs, including collaboration with local, state and national partners.

For more information on the Creating a Culture of Healthy Living project, contact  Eileen Daley, (319) 291-2413 or For more information regarding The Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit


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