Skip to main content
The Wellmark Foundation logo

2017 Small MATCH grant recipients

Small MATCH grants support promising projects that help individuals, families and communities achieve better health with funding requests up to $25,000. The Wellmark Foundation offers grants to projects that either:

  1. Create a safe environment to be physically active in.
  2. Increases access to and consumption of healthy foods.

Get Small MATCH grant eligibility and application details.

See the great work that has been accomplished with funding from the Small MATCH grant.

Old MacDonald'' Farm – Phase I

Old MacDonald's Farm is modernizing and re-purposing the former Bever Park Zoo into an urban farm. The farm will include: raised vegetable gardens, pollinator gardens and vertical vegetable plantings, animals and a pond. The farm will provide extensive programming to engage the community in urban agriculture.

Garden Classroom Project

For the past two years, through partnerships with K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and local farmers, Central College has increased education about and access to fresh, healthy, locally sourced food. The garden classroom project will provide the infrastructure to continue to expand these partnerships through innovative, hands-on food education programs. These programs are focused on growing, processing, preserving, preparing, and enjoying fresh, healthy food. This unique space, a kitchen classroom situated in the heart of a half-acre garden, will serve as a hub for community food education and help build a culture of health in Pella and throughout central Iowa.

Community Indoor Rock-Climbing Wall

The community indoor rock-climbing wall will be a multi-functional tool for the school and community. It will be used by the school's Outdoor Expedition class as well as physical education classes. Outside organizations such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program will also use the rock-climbing as a way to increase self-confidence and promote physical activity.

Outdoor Learning Oasis

The Small MATCH grant will be used to renovate and enhance a current 65 ft. x 90 ft. garden space into an Outdoor Learning Oasis. In addition to continuing to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, it will also become an educational area. It will include a functioning outdoor classroom where children and families can learn about plants, garden-to-table programs, pollinators, insects, and flowers. A space for sensory play through smell and touch, an area for art including a chalkboard and paint area, as well for outdoor games like hopscotch will also be included in the outdoor learning oasis.

Game Courts Expansion

The Epworth public game courts were constructed in 1980 and are need of repair. This project was driven by a group of citizens who had presented the idea of pickle ball as a viable use of the courts. The project goes a step further and will expand the overall size of the game courts to also include basketball courts.

South Front Street Playground Enhancement Project

The South Front Street playground enhancement project will provide more play activities for children ages five to twelve. The project is centered on the need for safe, educational, and handicap-accessible activities to stimulate creativity and encourage exercise. The project has a river theme, and the main piece of equipment will look like a Mississippi River Paddle Wheel Steamer, providing an opportunity for children to learn about the area history and natural surroundings, while being active.

West Park Splash Pad

West Park is the main area for children to play in the summer. By adding a splash pad to the park's amenities, it will continue to encourage outdoor play for children of all ages. The splash pad will contain approximately 10 play features such as water and spray jets, as well as an area for children to experience flowing water in an interactive way.

Bike/Walk Lawton

This Bike/Walk Lawton project is part of a recreational trail that is being planned at the beginning of a new housing addition in Lawton. It will go north to the City of Lawton's welcome sign and end at Oak Street making it easier for residents to enjoy the outdoors safely.

Hickory Glen Park – Phase 1

Hickory Glenn is the city's newest and largest community park comprising over 77-acres. Phase 1 will include site survey, permitting, detailed engineering, design and development work, earthwork and mass grading on the eastern one-third of the park, and utility and roadway construction. The final improvements include the development and construction of the southeast corner which enhances the soccer fields with lighting, plaza and sidewalks.

Solon Recreation and Nature Area – Phase IV

The City of Solon is planning construction of a splash pad with an adjacent restroom and picnic building. The splash pad will be a total area of 6,153 sq. ft. with above ground spray features and ground sprays for maximum play value. The design is a nature theme to keep with the natural elements of the beautiful Solon Recreation and Nature Area.

Strawberry Point Aquatic Center Splash Pool

This project will enhance the current pool to meet the needs of the community. It will include an addition of a 30-foot x 48-foot zero entry splash pool with water features adjacent to the existing pool.

Black Hills CATCH Program

The CATCH program is an evidence-based set of curriculum, materials and training designed to prevent childhood obesity through healthy eating and encouraging increased levels of activity. This project will implement the CATCH curriculum in the Rapid City and Spearfish school districts and after-school programs.

Putting Obesity in Park — Improving Bicycle Infrastructure in the Burlington—West Burlington Communities

Partners for Conservation and its collaborators will initiate a multi-phase project to improve the accessibility and visibility of active transportation infrastructure. Project includes improvements to bicycle parking in high-traffic areas and enhancements to established infrastructure.

Fremont Playground Equipment Project

This project will provide a safe, secure and fun environment for children and their families to enjoy by updating the playground at the North and South parks.

Trailhead Kiosk/Message Center

This project will install a trailhead kiosk at the entrance to the park's trail system. The kiosk will provide information about the woods including a recently established four-acre nature preserve, and the rules and guidelines for public use. It will ensure visitors are aware of and comply with City of Ames park rules. It also provides a means to communicate with users about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and other park news.

Nature Play Trail

The nature play trail will engage children of all ages in imaginative, child-driven outdoor play during their visits to the nature center. Activity stations along the trail surrounding the established wetland will offer opportunities for children to climb, build, dig, jump, observe, explore, experiment and discover native plants and wildlife in diverse and engaging surroundings. It will be the perfect place for children to explore and develop their own creativity while being physically active.

Southwest Iowa Bicycling Education and Promotion

This project will improve and promote safe bicycling in rural communities of southwest Iowa. This project also includes installation of placement of signs and pavement markings. Education and cooperation between all users and stewards of the roadway will increase safety for cyclists and motorists, which will have direct positive health, environmental and economic effects.

Birdland Pocket Neighborhood

The Birdland Pocket Neighborhood trail will connect to the Neal Smith Bike trail. It is positioned right outside the Birdland Pocket Neighborhood, a group of neighboring houses with a shared open space and a focus on connectivity, healthy activity and community. When homeowners look out their front doors, they will look out to houses on the other side of the community trail. The presence of this trail will keep healthy activity and play at top of mind for homeowners and invite other community members into this unique neighborhood.

Grinnell Skatepark

This project will replace the aging and unsafe ramps and features at the current Grinnell Skatepark, located on an old tennis court in Bailey Park. The current surface and features will be replaced with a state-of-the-art concrete skatepark. It will be essentially maintenance-free and will serve many generations of skaters and BMX bike riders in the future.

Neal Smith Trail Repair

The Neal Smith Trail is a 26-mile paved National Recreation Trail that extends from Des Moines through Saylorville Lake to Big Creek State Park. Over the years, the trails' condition has deteriorated with cracks and needed repairs to the asphalt surface. This project will include repairs to the route and seal 12,700 linear feet of cracks from mile marker 6 through mile marker 10 on the Neal Smith Trail.

Kiwanis Miracle Playground

The playground is in the final step of a five-phase plan. The completed Kiwanis Miracle Playground will be a safe, ADA accessible, inclusive playground for children and adults of all abilities.

Play in Lone Rock

Lone Rock is a tiny rural town in the last phase of reviving its city park in order to provide a safe, functional environment for the community to congregate and be active. This project will install a large play apparatus including multiple climbers, slides and platforms in 2018.

Home Hydroponics

Home Hydroponics is an expansion of an existing program. The goal is to motivate and train 50 households on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation to grow their own hydroponic vegetables.

Healthy Nutrition Project

This project will institute healthy nutrition education in three different forms. This tiered approach will fulfill the three knowledge gaps in the area of nutrition for Monroe County: food labels/dietary needs, how to use ingredients and the belief that we're too busy to eat healthy. The first part includes dietitian-led education sessions that teach about calories, macro-nutrients and serving sizes. The second part of the plan will be healthy cooking demonstration. The third, and final part of the plan includes a meal planning aspect.

Farm-to-School Garden

This garden will provide access to red potatoes, red onions, white onions, Bibb lettuce and fresh herbs for the campus and the community, via the Siouxland Foodbank. The garden will also provide a site for four community workshops on topics including: tunnel gardening, sustainable practices in gardening, raised bed gardening and companion planting. It will accommodate space for a centrally located pollinator habitat and a large compost tumbler to produce compost from food.

Handicap-accessible and Inclusive Playground Equipment at North Bend Elementary

North Bend Elementary will purchase and install handicap-accessible and inclusive playground equipment for children of all abilities. Improvements to the playground will also facilitate new Physical Education curricula to give the students a variety of opportunities for balance, strength, momentum, and problem solving, which are all encompassed in the national PE standards. This playground also serves all children and families within the City of North Liberty and provides a safe and healthy environment in which to be active.

Cooking Up a Healthier North Iowa – Nutrition Education Expansion Project

Healthy Harvest of North Iowa's Cooking Up a Healthier North Iowa will expand current nutrition education efforts by providing mobile equipment and curriculum for hands-on cooking experiences for all ages. This will result in empowering participants with the skills to cook healthy meals with fresh, local ingredients on a budget.

Our Youth Center Garden and Health Education Project

This project will develop a children's garden to help introduce new fruits and vegetables to children and the community. This is part of larger initiative to provide healthy food for snacks for afterschool programming.

Sioux City Riverside Park Accessibility Infrastructure Improvements

This project will advance active living opportunities for children and adults living with a disability by making trail and infrastructure improvements to Riverside Park. This 100-acre park is home to the Miracle League which is an all-inclusive recreational complex for people with disabilities. Being able to expand access to Riverside Park and all its amenities will greatly enhance active living opportunities for people with disabilities and address health equity in the area.

Rotary Camp Park – Phase I

This project is partnering with Rotary Clubs from the Iowa City/Coralville area, a local Boy Scout Troop, and the City of Coralville to build an outdoor fireplace with shelter at the Rotary Camp Park. The park is located along the greenbelt of Clear Creek and adjacent to the Clear Creek Bike Trail. This project will allow outdoor events in the park to continue even in the event of inclement weather.

Louisa County Fairground Trailhead and Connection to the Hoover Nature Trail

This project will develop a community trail head at the Louisa County fairground that will connect to the existing section of the Hoover Nature Trail at the Chinkapin Bluffs Recreational Area. Improvements to the trail include resurfacing and addressing drainage issues. The Hoover Nature Trail will provide many opportunities for individuals and families to live a healthy lifestyle.

Pool renovation

The City of Wall Lake's pool was built in 1958. Over the past five years the city has been renovating the pool. This project will fund the final segment of the renovation — installation of a PVC liner. The liner will cover the inside of the pool to allow the pool to be open every day and provide a safe, fun, healthy place for children and adults to be active and interact with peers. The liner also will reduce water loss, eliminate painting and protect the swimmers from the rough concrete floor.

Outdoor Multipurpose Recreational Court in Community Park

This project will build a 120-foot x 60-foot multipurpose court in the park for health, wellness and recreational purposes for community members of all ages. It will include an asphalt surface which will be lined for three activities — tennis, pickle ball and basketball — and will be surrounded by a 10-foot chain link fence.

Healthy for Life

Youth & Family Services (YFS) will expand its Healthy for Life garden project to increase access to and promote consumption of healthy foods by children and families in YFS program. YFS will provide wellness and nutrition education for staff members so they will be able to share best practices and ideas with the children and families that they are serving.