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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 University of South Dakota Panthers have generated over $62,000 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 Coyotes’ 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 over $10,000 annually — were allocated to the city of Vermillion to improve various public facilities and provide community members new opportunities to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

“Without the contributions from Wellmark, we would not have been able to provide these upgrades to our community,”said Ryan Baedke, parks and recreation supervisor, Vermillion Parks and Recreation Department. “We were able to build an entirely new skate park to provide local skate boarding groups a home of their own to use, and includes opportunities for the entire community when we turn it into an ice rink during the winter months.”

The City of Vermillion should also expect to see improvements to Prentis Park following a major renovation of the park and the construction of entirely new basketball courts, funded from the most recent 3-point play season of Coyote athletics.

Expansion planned for 2016-17 season

New this year, fans now have the opportunity to help determine the South Dakota community who benefits from the proceeds generated by Coyote “3s.” From now until the conclusion of the men’s basketball season in early 2017, fans can text “USD” to 97063 or visit External Site to nominate their South Dakota hometown for a chance to win. The change comes as Wellmark and the University of South Dakota 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 South Dakotans eat right, move more, and feel better, in partnership with the City of Vermillion, 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 Coyotes.”

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