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September 08, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa— With the help of dozens of field goals and thousands of 3-point baskets since 2010, the Northern Iowa Panthers have generated nearly $78,000 to support area health projects in partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield through the company’s 3-Point Play program.

As part of the program, Wellmark contributes $300 for every field goal during the Panthers’ football season and $20 for each 3-pointer throughout the men’s and women’s basketball seasons to advance unfunded or underfunded wellness initiatives.

Throughout the past years, those donations — averaging just under $13,000 annually — were allocated to the City of Cedar Falls to improve various public facilities and provide members of the community new opportunities to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

“Wellmark-sponsored funds allowed our city to renovate an entire flood-destroyed golf course into a riverside park,” said Mark Ripplinger, director of municipal operations and programs for the City of Cedar Falls. “With their help, we were able to pay for an entirely new playground, a youth baseball field and complete the last leg to connect over 30 miles of hard surface trails throughout the community.”

The City of Cedar Falls is also expected to fund a senior exercise area with donations from the 3-Point Play program. This area will be designed with age-appropriate equipment and amenities for local seniors.

Expansion planned for 2016-17 season

New this year, fans now have the opportunity to help determine the Iowa community who benefits from the proceeds generated by Panther “3s.” From now until the conclusion of the men’s basketball season in early 2017, fans can text “UNI” to 97063 or visit External Site to nominate their Iowa hometown for a chance to win. The change comes as Wellmark and the University of Northern Iowa look to spread the benefit of the program’s trail, park and playground funding to additional communities throughout the state.

“After many seasons of helping Iowans eat right, move more, and feel better, in partnership with the City of Cedar Falls, we’re excited to expand the program as part of our vision to develop more healthy hometowns,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark sponsorship manager. “This sponsorship continues to do great things for the state, and we’re looking forward to another successful season cheering on the Panthers.”

To learn more about the Wellmark 3-Point Play program, and to nominate an Iowa hometown to win this season’s health project funding, visit External Site.