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Wellmark Foundation grant funds awarded to City of Cedar Falls

Grant, chosen from over 90 applicants, helps the city of Cedar Falls encourage physical activity among school age children

December 3, 2013

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(Cedar Falls, Iowa) – Today, the Wellmark Foundation and the city of Cedar Falls held a check presentation to kick off a collaborative community project to combat childhood obesity. With the help of a $50,000 grant from The Wellmark Foundation, the Cedar Falls initiative will encourage safe and active transport of school age children by closing sidewalk gaps, adding crosswalks around the community, and urging area public schools to encourage walking and walking safety.

Community Collaboration to Promote Safe, Active Transport for School Age Children
The goal of this funded project initiative is to address one of the primary causes of the epidemic of childhood overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, through mobilization of a unique community partnership to complete the I-WALK assessment, implement and evaluate city-wide built environmental changes aimed at stimulating physical activity in the school age population. The project will assist with implementing important decisions to help students be safe, successful and physically active by moving naturally.

“We look forward to working with Wellmark Foundation and a number of local collaborating partners to build additional sidewalks and crosswalks to schools in Cedar Falls and work with the schools to promote more walking and biking to schools,” said Mayor Jon Crews.  The grant will also provide long range planning to all the additional elementary schools in Cedar Falls. Crews continued, “We are very appreciative of the grant approval from the Wellmark Foundation to assist Cedar Falls on this wellness initiative.”

Grant one of only eight selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans and their communities. Through its 2013 Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) Grant Program, the Foundation received 91 grant requests seeking support for smaller community health projects. This grant award to the city of Cedar Falls represents one of eight competitively awarded grants to create pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota focused on childhood obesity prevention and community-based wellness projects.

The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award a cumulative total of over $350,588 to these eight grant recipients to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The Cedar Falls community collaboration is a important initiative that will encourage local children to adopt healthy habits at a young age,” says Matt McGarvey, director of the Wellmark Foundation. “We recognize the value in their efforts and are proud to support their project.”

About The City of Cedar Falls
Cedar Falls is a city of nearly 40,000 citizens and is the home of the University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls has a vibrant award-winning downtown and strong industrial parks. It has a long history of cooperative projects with our local school district. The City has recently constructed two Safe Routes to School Projects to provide sidewalks for more and safer connections to elementary schools. Cedar Falls was also selected early last year as one of four Blue Zones Demonstration Projects and this project fits well with those goals of providing a more healthy community.

For more information on the Cedar Falls initiative, contact Mayor Jon Crews at 319-830-7075 or For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit


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