Skip to main content
The Wellmark Foundation logo

2020 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.

High Trestle Trail Connection

The overall project will create a paved trail connection between the High Trestle Trail and the City of Boone. The trail will connect Boone County's Grant Woods, Swede Point Park, Iowa Arboretum, and Ledges State Park. The Phase I trail segment leading to Swede Point Park will give trail users access to campsites, a shelter house, sand volleyball, playground, and hiking trails to enjoy. Making a direct path to this county park provides access to recreational opportunities and a chance to explore a park. Connecting the trail to this park and surrounding natural land increases the trail users' awareness of Iowa's unique natural environment.

Heery Woods Nature Center Trail Expansion and Renovation

The project includes the expansion of one-third mile of new trail and renovation of the trail system, including interpretive signage and a wayfinding system on the south side of Heery Woods State Park. The renovation will alter portions of the existing trail to avoid changes in the bluff of the Shell Rock River. Additional enhancements include resurfacing two existing trail loops with fresh lime screenings and a crushed rock base and adding foot bridges to provide crossings.

Outdoor Recreational Area

The focus of this project is renovation of the basketball and pickleball courts in Bloomfield City Park, which are currently in a state of disrepair. This renovation is part of an ongoing project to modernize the recreational amenities in Davis County, including the public pool and the local outdoor trail system. These renovations are intended to create a safe, outdoor recreational area for residents, as well as attract visitors to utilize the space.

Park Improvements

This grant will be used to purchase a new playground system to replace the current playground equipment. The majority of the current playground equipment was installed prior to 1980 and is now causing safety concerns for the children who use it on a daily basis.

Trailhead Plaza at Creekside Park

The Trailhead Plaza at Creekside Park will be a destination for riders of the existing paved trail network and will serve as the starting point for the adjacent natural surface trail systems. The plaza will include a shelter, informational signage, bike parking, drinking fountain, and sitting areas to provide people the opportunity to rest from a run or observe riders on the trails. Its purpose is to welcome riders to the flow trail system, make it easy for them to engage in healthy activities, and promote ridership.

Food Distribution Study

This study will seek to identify sustainable solutions for ensuring access to fresh, local, and healthy foods. It will first assess current distribution strategies and needs of the greater Fort Dodge region, and will then identify, prioritize, and plan for new and/or existing food distribution entities.

Lions Park Ball Diamond Renovation

The La Porte City Parks and Rec Commission and the La Porte City Lions Club have collaborated to renovate the existing city-owned ball diamonds at Lions Park. The project will include removing the existing infrastructure, repositioning the fields to allow for safer spacing between, increasing the size to a 225-foot diamond with base paths to meet regulations, adding ADA required fencing for spectator safety, and new sidewalks placed throughout the entire park.

West Evergreen Park Improvements

The Lennox Community Park Board has identified a need for additional amenities at West Evergreen Park, as it is the only community green space serving the west side of town. This improvement project will add two sand volleyball courts, playground equipment for the neighborhood children and a new identification sign.

Main Street Pocket Park

The City of Lenox, along with the Leading Ladies of Lenox, plan to install a mid-block crossing on Main Street. This includes a pocket park in an unused alley and a curb bump out. Both of these amenities allow for safer pedestrian crossings, slower vehicle traffic and beautification. Highly visible continental-style crosswalk markings will be painted.

Boehner Pond Enhancement: Wabash Trace Connectivity

This project aims to connect the Wabash Trace Nature Trail and Boehner Pond. Due to the ponds proximity to the Wabash Trace, connecting the pond to the trail will increase accessibility. In addition to the connection to the Wabash Trace, the city desires to create a hard-surfaced multi-use trail around the pond to further expand its offerings to both the community and visitors. Lighting and benches will be installed to enhance safety for all users.

Revitalizing Martin's Basketball Court

This project will revitalize Martin's outdoor basketball court which is located in Brooks Memorial Park, Martin's largest city park and the heart of the town. The basketball court is heavily used but it has fallen into disrepair over the years. This project will resurface the existing court and create a new pickleball court. The Martin Wellness Coalition will also install a bike rack to enhance connectivity to safe destinations and active transportation providing another option for users to get to Brooks Memorial Park.

Murray Recreational Complex

The Murray Recreational Complex is a public, outdoor recreational development on the city’s south side. When complete, the recreational complex will offer residents and visitors access to three ball fields, three youth-sized soccer fields, one tee-ball field, a half basketball court, a multi-purpose building, two playgrounds, and a paved trail system.

Pickleball/Shuffleboard Courts

The City of Sigourney has tennis courts that are not used on a regular basis. These courts will be repurposed for pickleball and shuffleboard. The city will install a windbreak by adding a fence, provide relief from the sun with large umbrellas and add seating for a place to rest between games and matches.

Johnson Park Playground Equipment

This project will include needed updates to the play area at Johnson Park. New, commercial playground equipment designed for children ages 5-12 will be installed. The surface area will be replaced with a sustainable grass mat surface.

Water Works Park

Water Works Park is in extreme disrepair, unfit to serve the recreation needs of any age and has not been improved in 50 years due to lack of funding. This project will renovate the ground surface, play structures and other accessible amenities to better serve residents and visitors, promote healthy activity, and strengthen the social fabric of the community.

Middle School Outdoor Classroom

The Clear Creek Amana Middle School Outdoor Classroom in Tiffin is a project that aims to take an under-used space and transform it into a space that is welcoming to the community and allows curriculum to expand out of the classroom to engage students in a different way. Students will have enhanced hands-on curriculum related to food production, food consumption and physical education.


ConnectCR will revitalize the urban Cedar Lake and build a pedestrian/trail bridge over the Cedar River near the NewBo and Czech Village neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids. The Smokestack Bridge will provide safe, vehicle-free passage across the Cedar River. This amenity will be used by bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, and families using the trail system to get around the city. This bridge also enhances the city's connection to two national trails: the American Discovery Trail and the Great American Rail-Trail. It also improves the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which runs from Waterloo to downtown Cedar Rapids, and on to Muscatine.

Community-School Garden

This project will make gardening accessible and inviting for all Custer community members through the construction of raised gardens. By moving the community garden to the K-12 school campus, the community-school garden will provide new amenities that will widen the scope of users. By providing raised garden beds, perimeter fencing, resting benches and a sun shelter, all community members will be encouraged to use the space to grow healthy fruits and vegetables.

From Dirt to Dining: Healthy Eating Starts with a Seed

This project includes planting 12 community gardens and adding 10 new gardens. The 12 existing gardens are located around Longfellow Center where DakotAbilities provides day services. Each person supported by DakotAbilities who has an interest in gardening is partnered with a neighborhood volunteer mentor. Together they plant, maintain and harvest the gardens. A registered dietitian plans meals based on what vegetables are ready for harvest and provide menus and recipes to complete a meal using the vegetables grown.

Cadwell Park Courts

This project will include the construction of a full-sized basketball court at Cadwell Park in Dayton. Caldwell Park has an existing gazebo, restroom and drinking fountain and is adjacent to the elementary school where two playgrounds are located. The new basketball court will create additional recreation for community members.

Inclusive Playground Update

This multi-faceted project began in 2017 when it was determined that the mulch surrounding all of the playground equipment was hard to navigate for students. While keeping the current playground structures, the ground will be converted to pour-in-place, solid surface tiles to provide a safe, ADA-compliant space. The project will also add an inclusive spinner where students can stand, sit or be buckled in to meet their differing needs while enjoying recreation time.

New Playground at Rock Creek State Park

Rock Creek State Park is updating the existing 50-year old play structure with new inclusive and accessible playground equipment and ground cover. The existing playground is heavily used but is deteriorating, does not fall within all current specifications and is surfaced with sand. A new playground will replace the outdated equipment and create more options for children's physical activity needs while providing new features and activities to benefit children of a wider age range.

Greenfield Park Improvement Project

Greenfield City Park has become desolate as equipment and amenities have aged, or become a safety hazard, which then lead to removal. This improvement project will renovate and improve the park. Once complete, Greenfield City Park will boast new play equipment, new sidewalks for walking and connections, and renovated shuffleboard and basketball courts for all to enjoy.

Treasure Cove Disc Golf Course Improvements

Iowa Western Community College has a strong history of the community using its outdoor recreational areas. Improvements to the Treasure Cove Disc Golf Course will include replacing the current worn out rubber tee pads with permanent concrete tee pads, new landscaping and the addition of four wooden foot bridges. These improvements will increase the safety and accessibility for users and enhance the beautiful outdoor course.

Western Iowa Miracle Field

The Western Iowa Miracle Field will be located next to an all-inclusive playground in Carroll, Iowa. The Miracle Field will remove all obstacles for children and adults with physical or developmental disabilities to safely play baseball. The field will have a rubberized surface that helps prevent injuries as it will be completely flat to eliminate barriers for wheelchair users or visually impaired players. The bases, pitching mounds, and on-deck circles will be painted on the surface. The Miracle Field will have multiple uses that appeal to individuals of all ages throughout the year as it will also be used for kickball games and exercise classes.

Madison County Environmental Learning Center

The construction of a new Environmental Learning Center, to meet the expanding needs for environmental education and outdoor recreation in Madison County, is being planned. The center will serve as the central hub for outdoor recreation opportunities within Pammel State Park which include hiking, paddling, biking, snowshoeing and swimming. The center will promote outdoor learning experiences through interactive exhibits that encourage outdoor exploration, a classroom for hands-on STEM based programming, and a multi-purpose room that will connect people to their natural surroundings.

Trail Corridor

A one-third mile trail extension will be constructed to link a new hotel to the existing gazebo trail head located at Highway 92 West, where it will connect with the community trail loop. As part of the project, a bike rack with bicycles will be housed at the hotel allowing the public to access bicycles and ride the trail. The trail extension will provide the collaboration needed to house free bicycles and offer quick and convenient access to the trail.

Demonstration Kitchen & Garden-to-Table Dining

A demonstration kitchen will be built in the lower level of the Judy Jasper Educational Center at the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum and a new series of courses related to garden-to-table dining will be written and presented. The courses will be written into two parts. One, a season-long series of courses, starting in the Teaching Gardens and ending in the Demonstration Kitchen, for all ages. Two, develop curriculum for elementary school students visiting the Arboretum. The curriculum will adhere to South Dakota educational standards for first, third, and fifth grade.

Junior High FitCore Extreme

The Pleasant Valley Junior High will add a FitCore course to use as part of its Health/Wellness/Physical Education curriculum and provide an engaging wellness opportunity for the community to use outside of school hours. The course will contain 15 pieces of equipment that will challenge users in overall fitness, agility, endurance, strength and well-being.

First Bridge

First Bridge — Phase I aims to recreate an original span of the first railroad bridge to cross the Mississippi River between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa, and open a safe crossing and key connection to existing bike and pedestrian trails. Using one of the original bridge embankments on the northern bank of the river, this full-scale wooden replica span of the historic bridge will cross US-67 and the active Canadian Pacific railroad line. This pedestrian and bicycle bridge will connect River Heritage Park and the Mississippi River Trail to a burgeoning residential and business hub across the busy, four-lane highway and railroad tracks.

Pollmiller Playground Project

Three Rivers Conservation Foundation launched the “Places to Play” campaign in 2019 with the objective of replacing and enhancing playgrounds at Lee County parks. The first goal is to replace the playground at Pollmiller Park. Located in West Point, Pollmiller is the county's busiest park and attracts nearly 40,000 people per year. New playground equipment and playscaping will meet the recreation needs of all who visit the park.

Raider Park Connector Trail

The connector trail, which will provide a safe route to school, is part of a larger project to restore and rehabilitate Raider Park. The project includes an extensive trail system and an outdoor campus for area students. The connector trail will bisect the park, connecting the residential area north of the park to Stevens High School on the south. Students will be able to walk to school through the park and avoid busy roads. The trail system will also include a cross-country trail for running and walking and a single-track biking trail. The outdoor campus will feature a pavilion with solar panels and a green roof that will serve as an outdoor classroom, an arboretum of diverse trees including fruit trees, and areas for scientific study of plants, animals, and environmental conditions.

New Playground

This project will enhance and update the playground equipment at the city park. With the assistance of the city, the park will be redesigned with the playground equipment being moved to a safer area within the park. The new designated playground area and the new equipment will provide a better environment for physical active.

Kewash Trail Paving and Enhancements — Phase II

This project involves the grading and paving of approximately 7,400 feet of existing Kewash Nature Trail. Phase II will extend the trail west to the Crooked Creek Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge is a scenic location in Washington County where many residents and visitors seek out as a safe place for serenity, relaxation and recreation.

Park & Rec Complex Trailhead Pedestrian Route and Community Orchard Loop

A pedestrian pathway is needed to connect the school grounds, a city park, the wellness center and community orchard to make a safe route for area residents and visitors. A new pavilion will serve as the trailhead for the pedestrian path, incorporating signs that note the distances to each location. The pavilion will provide a place for residents and visitors to seek for community engagement, exercise and wellness.