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19 Iowa organizations will receive Wellmark Foundation Small MATCH grants

August 27, 2019

Des Moines, IA — The Wellmark Foundation has notified 19 Iowa organizations they will receive Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grants up to $25,000, contingent upon securing the matching funds. To ensure community support for these projects, organizations are challenged to match this grant at 50 percent. Organizations have until Nov. 8 to secure their matching funds.

"Each of these grant recipients submitted projects that can help individuals, families and communities achieve better health through built environment initiatives that encourage physical activity and also by providing access to and encouraging the consumption of healthy foods," said Becky Wampler Bland, The Wellmark Foundation executive director. "The next step is for the organizations to secure the required match for the grant. Based on the community support they noted in their applications, they are well on their way to securing those funds."

The organizations selected to receive the grant have demonstrated their projects are sustainable and will help to improve the well-being of the communities they serve well into the future. The 19 organizations include:

City of Afton, $25,000
Afton Safe Routs to Schools
This project will extend the existing trail and provide a safe off-street walking/biking option for students and residents. The sidewalks will be paved and made four-foot-wide to accommodate bi-directional traffic. While doing this work, culverts and curb cuts with ADA ramps will be installed. Permanent paint markings and signage will also encourage safe crossing of city streets.

City of Carroll, $25,000
Pickleball courts The city of Carroll is constructing a six-court pickleball complex which is in close proximity to a large number of residential properties. These courts will be open to the public and will promote healthy lifestyles by providing a free, readily available physical activity option.

City of Creston, $25,000
McKinley Park Trail Expansion
The city of Creston is building a trail around Lake McKinley. The trail expansion will be about a half-mile in length. The project will also include lighting to provide safety for the residents who like to walk around the lake in the evening hours

City of Decorah, $25,000
Park Improvements to Enhance Safety and Encourage Physical Activity
The city of Decorah will make needed upgrades to three of the most visited parks in the community — Phelps, Pulpit Rock and Van Peenen. All of these upgrades are designed to make the parks safer, maximize outdoor recreation opportunities and make it easier to engage in active living.

City of Eldora, $25,000
Memorial Park – A place to play and remember.
The city of Eldora will make over Memorial Park by installing new fully-functioning, high-quality play structures. This will make Memorial Park a destination for all generations to enjoy together.

City of Mount Ayr, $9,963.50
Judge Lewis Park Trail
This project will complete a half-mile trail around Judge Lewis Park. It will provide residents with a readily available option to engage in physical activity. With strategically placed benches, it also provides users with an opportunity to socially connect with one another.

City of Shell Rock, $25,000
Shell Rock Aquatic Center
The city of Shell Rock is constructing a new aquatic center. This community amenity will provide opportunities for children, adults and persons with accessibility needs to have access to physical activity through water-based programming such as swim lessons, aerobics, and therapy.

City of Spencer, $25,000
Pedestrian Crossings
This initiative will help expand Spencer’s Safe Routes to School. The city will re-design five high-volume street crossings making it safer for children to walk or bike to school. These features will benefit all residents including those who drive in the community.

Friends of the Terrain Therapy Garden, $25,000
VA Terrain Therapy Garden — Des Moines
This project will construct an outdoor physical therapy garden that can be used by patients who are re-learning how to walk and move. The garden is a public space that will be beneficial for patients, families and neighborhood residents.

Gibraltar Neighborhood Association, $25,000
Fairmount Park Trailhead — Council Bluffs
This project will create a foot path trail head into Fairmount Park. The trailhead will improve access and awareness to the foot path. This will increase physical activity in the park as well as the neighborhood.

Hometown Pride Morning Sun, $25,000
Safe Sidewalks for our Students
This project will provide a safe, walkable route to and from school as well as to downtown. These ADA-compliant sidewalks will encourage residents to get out and walk which will lead to a more active, healthier and socially connected community.

Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development, $25,000
Enhancing Food Access — Iowa City
This grant will allow Grow: Johnson County to build a greenhouse that will enable onsite planting of seeds and production of transplantable plants. This will benefit food insecure individuals who rely on Grow: Johnson County’s charity food production.

Linn County, $25,000
Linn County Food System Assessment — Cedar Rapids
Linn County will use this grant to study production, procurement, processing, and barriers to entry for new food producers. Once information has been collected, a master planning document with detailed action steps will be used to increase local food production within the county.

Maquoketa School District FFA, $25,000
Agriculture Learning Center Greenhouse
This greenhouse project complements a new agricultural learning center at Maquoketa High School. The greenhouse will increase student exposure to horticulture, plant science, plant development and food production. The community will also benefit from the greenhouse through programs that address nutrition, gardening, and food production.

Mount Pleasant Community School District, $25,000
Outdoor Pickleball
This project focuses on creating a permanent pickleball complex with six courts at the Mount Pleasant Community Middle School. Anyone living in or visiting the community will be able to easily play pickleball. The courts will be open to the public during non-school hours.

Nodaway Valley Community School District, $25,000
Elementary School Playground
The school is updating its existing playground equipment. The new equipment will be all-inclusive meeting the needs of all children. This will help children interact and play together for a more fulfilling play experience.

Shelby County Wellness Alliance, $25,000
Free Fitness 4 All — Harlan
The project will install outdoor fitness stations in Pioneer Park. These outdoor stations will increase the frequency and length of time spent in the park. It is also anticipated that friends and neighbors will connect socially with one another.

St. Rose of Lima Catholic School, $25,000
Playground and Peace Garden — Denison
This new open-air playground area will provide more play activities for children. The playground will be centered on the need for safe, educational and accessible activities to stimulate movement, encourage exercise and promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

University of Iowa Foundation, $25,000
University of Iowa Gardeners — Iowa City
This project will relocate gardens of the student-led University of Iowa Gardeners to central campus. The gardens will be more accessible and will grow food for students and food insecure members of the community. Last year, the gardeners harvested more than 1,000 pounds of produce. This move will facilitate even greater production.

Since 2011, The Wellmark Foundation has provided more than $11 million in grant funding to communities across Iowa and South Dakota. View previous Wellmark Foundation MATCH grant recipients.