Skip to main content
The Wellmark Foundation logo

28 Iowa organizations will receive Wellmark Foundation Small MATCH grants

September 3, 2020

Des Moines, IA — The Wellmark Foundation has notified 28 Iowa organizations they will receive Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grants, contingent upon securing the required 50 percent match amount. The required match may be a combination of in-kind donations or services and cash. To ensure community support for these projects, organizations have until Nov. 6 to secure their match. Each of these grantees are planning projects that can help individuals, families and communities achieve better health through built environment initiatives that encourage physical activity or access to and consumption of nutritious foods.

"The Wellmark Foundation is proud to see all of the outstanding work communities are doing during these challenging times," said Mary Lawyer, The Wellmark Foundation executive director. "These projects will not only provide the ground work for access to and consumption of nutritious foods but also opportunities for physical activity within their communities — both of which will enhance the quality of life and the overall well-being of citizens for generations to come."

The organizations selected to receive a Wellmark Foundation 2020 Large MATCH grant include:

Boone County Conservation, $25,000
High Trestle Trail to City of Boone Connection — Phase I, Boone
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, instilling a conservation ethic in users.

Butler County, $6,934.17
Heery Woods Nature Center Trail Expansion and Renovation, Clarksville
The project includes the expansion of one-third of mile of new trail and renovation of the trail system, including new and updated interpretive signage and a wayfinding system on the south side of Heery Woods State Park. The renovation will also 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 with a lime screening top and adding foot bridges to provide crossings over ditches between two trail sections.

City of Bloomfield, $25,000
Outdoor Recreational Area, Bloomfield
The primary 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 increase physical activity levels of residents, create a safe outdoor recreational area for families and children, as well as bring in more visitors and potential new residents.

City of Churdan, $20,000
Park Improvements, Churdan
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.

City of Coralville, $25,000
Trailhead Plaza at Creekside Park, Coralville
The Trailhead Plaza at Creekside 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. This plaza will include a shelter, informational signage, bike parking, drinking fountain, and sitting areas to provide people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to rest from a run or observe riders on the trails. Its purpose will be to welcome riders and their families to the flow trail system, make it easy for them to engage in healthy activities and promote increased ridership.

City of Fort Dodge, $11,725
This study will 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.

City of La Porte City, $25,000
Lions Park Ball Diamond Renovation — Phase I, La Porte City
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 the fields, increasing the size to a 225-foot diamond with base paths to meet regulations, adding new fencing for ADA requirements and spectator safety and new sidewalks throughout the park.

City of Lenox, $25,000
Main Street Pocket Park, Lenox
The City of Lenox, along with the Leading Ladies of Lenox, would like to install a mid-block crossing on Main Street. This project 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. Upon completion, this area will serve as a vibrant gathering place for people to meet and a destination for walkers and cyclists. Various fitness activities and the farmers market will be held in this space.

City of Malvern, $25,000
Boehner Pond Enhancement — Phase I: Wabash Trace Connectivity, Malvern
This project aims to connect and increase the use of two great resources that Malvern has to offer, 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.

City of Murray, $25,000
Murray Recreational Complex, Murray
The Murray Recreational Complex is a public outdoor recreational development on the city’s south side. Construction of Phase I will be complete by end of 2020. Phase II includes the following elements: a sidewalk and a paved trail from the main fields to First Street, a multi-purpose building, and field irrigation. The sidewalk will follow the main drive into the complex and will serve as the main pedestrian access. The trail will cross a pedestrian bike bridge over a stream and will provide access to a local convenience store and Lions Shelter. 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, a three-fourths mile paved trail system, and hard-surfaced parking and sidewalks.

City of Sigourney, $25,000
Pickleball/Shuffleboard Courts, Sigourney
The City of Sigourney currently has tennis courts that are not used on a regular basis. These courts will be repurposed for pickleball and shuffleboard. In addition, the city will install a windbreak by adding a fence, provide relief from the sun with large umbrellas and add a table, chairs and benches for seating.

City of Van Meter, $14,000
Update Playground Equipment at Johnson Park, Van Meter
This grant will be used to purchase new, commercial playground equipment designed for children ages 5-12. The mulch will also be removed and replaced with a sustainable grass mat surface.

City of Victor, $17,365.89
Water Works Park, Victor
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 grant will help 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 town.

Clear Creek Amana Community School District, $13,583
Middle School Outdoor Classroom, Tiffin
The Clear Creek Amana Middle School Outdoor Classroom 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, Inc., $25,000
ConnectCR, Cedar Rapids
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 wide Cedar River. This iconic 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 Cedar Lake, through downtown Cedar Rapids, and eventually on to Muscatine.

Dayton Community Club, $10,000
Cadwell Park Courts, Dayton
This grant will help fund a full-sized basketball court for Cadwell Park in Dayton.The court will be placed in the park that is adjacent to the elementary school. The school property has two playgrounds while Cadwell Park has a gazebo, a restroom and a drinking fountain. This court will enhance the opportunity for additional recreation for community members in Dayton.

Durant PTO, $24,000
Inclusive Playground Update, Durant
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 some students. While keeping the current playground structures, the ground area surrounding the structures needs to be pour-in-place, solid surface tiles in order to provide a safe, ADA-compliant surface. 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.

Friends of Rock Creek State Park, $25,000
New Playground at Rock Creek State Park, Kellogg
Rock Creek State Park is looking to update 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 Chamber/Main Street & Development, $25,000
Greenfield Park Improvement Project, Greenfield
The Greenfield City Park has become desolate as equipment and amenities have aged or become a safety hazard, which then had to be removed. This grant will help renovate the park. Once complete, the City Park will boast new play equipment, new sidewalks for walking and connections, and renovated shuffleboard and basketball courts for all to enjoy.

Iowa Western Community College, $10,000
Treasure Cove Disc Golf Course Improvements, Council Bluffs
Iowa Western Community College has a strong history of the community using its outdoor recreational areas, including but not limited to, the YMCA youth sports programs, Southwest Iowa high school cross country meets, Iowa Senior Games, and recreational and tournament disc golf play. 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.

Kellans Kingdom, $25,000
Western Iowa Miracle Field, Carroll
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 simply 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 Foundation for Environmental Education, $25,000
Madison County Environmental Learning Center, Winterset
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 of 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.

Mahaska Community Recreation Foundation, $21,000
Trail Corridor, Oskaloosa
A one-third mile trail extension will be constructed to link the newly built 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 proposed trail extension provides the collaboration needed to house free bicycles and offer quick and convenient access to the trail.

Pleasant Valley Community School District, $15,000
Junior High FitCore Extreme, Le Claire
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.

River Action Inc., $25,000
First Bridge, Davenport
The 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.

Three Rivers Conservation Foundation, $12,000
Pollmiller Playground Project, West Point
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 group's 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.

Washington County, $25,000
Kewash Trail Paving and Enhancements — Phase II, Washington
This project will involve the grading and paving of approximately 7,400 feet of existing Kewash Nature Trail. Phase II will extend 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.

Woodbine Community Foundation, $25,000
Park & Rec Complex Trailhead Pedestrian Route and Community Orchard Loop, Woodbine
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, located near the newly constructed wellness center, will serve as the trailhead for the pedestrian path, incorporating signs that note the distances to each location. The trailhead pavilion will provide a place for residents and visitors to seek for community engagement, exercise and wellness.

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.