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Who we are

The Wellmark Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created in 1991 by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. For 30 years, The Wellmark Foundation has been honored to work with — and support — organizations and government entities across Iowa and South Dakota, providing $53 million in charitable funding to more than 500 projects.

Our focus

The mission of The Wellmark Foundation is to fund initiatives that positively impact the well-being of Iowans and South Dakotans.

One of the greatest health challenges facing Iowans and South Dakotans is chronic disease, which results in individuals having a diminished ability to live their best life. Many chronic diseases are the result of lifestyle.

There is increasing evidence showing where we live and what is available to us can have a significant impact on our health. Are healthy food options readily available? Are surroundings designed to promote physical activity? These are known as social determinants of health.

It's difficult to eat healthy if the only easy options are fast-food restaurants or gas stations instead of grocery stores or farmers' markets. And it can be a challenge to be physically active if there aren't things as simple as sidewalks available to get around. The Wellmark Foundation's goal is to help eliminate those barriers.

What we are doing

For the past several years, The Wellmark Foundation has focused on these key social determinants of health. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Commission to Build a Healthier America, "people can make healthier choices if they live in neighborhoods that are safe, free from violence and designed to promote health. Ensuring opportunities for residents to make healthy choices should be a key component of all community and neighborhood development initiatives."

The Wellmark Foundation wants all Iowans and South Dakotans to live their healthiest and best lives. That is why The Wellmark Foundation is focusing on initiatives that will have a positive, long-term impact on overall health.

Through our Matching Asset to Community Health (MATCH) grant program PDF File, we are specifically looking to fund sustainable projects that make it easy to eat healthy and engage in everyday physical movement and physical activity.

BluesCare GivingSM encourages Wellmark employees to support the nonprofit organizations that are positively impacting the health and wellbeing of the communities where they live.

Our Board of Directors

Laura Jackson, Chair
Executive vice president, Health Equity, Access & Improvement, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Dr. Thomas Cink
Retired, radiologist, Sanford Hospital

John D. Forsyth
Retired, chief executive officer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Izaah Knox
Executive director, Urban Dreams

Thomas McMahon
Private investor

Our team

The Wellmark Foundation staff are available to connect with you.

Mary Lawyer
Executive director Send Email

Gina Ryan
Manager Send Email