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Healthiest Ames Video created by the Wellmark Foundation

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Wellmark Foundation selects Healthiest Ames for Matching Grant

AMES, Iowa (Jan. 9, 2015) — Healthiest Ames announced today that it has been awarded a $75,000 Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grant from The Wellmark Foundation. The City of Ames has committed to an in kind contribution to match the $75,000 grant.

The project, Engaging Ames in Complete Streets, is focused on building environments and advancing policies that will enhance walkability and bikeability in our community.

“This matching grant will allow Healthiest Ames to lead initiatives to increase physical activity in Ames by engaging stakeholders in envisioning change, designing solutions and partnering for policy change,” said John Shierholz, Healthiest Ames. “We greatly appreciate the assistance of the United Way of Story County which is the fiscal sponsor for Healthiest Ames.”

The goal of the project is to lead to the development of a formalized policy as well as infrastructure and culture changes to promote active transportation in Ames. A successful Complete Streets program includes a safe and connected network of sidewalks, paths and trails, education strategies to promote pedestrian utilization, and policies that guide future development and upgrading of existing infrastructure.

Grant one of only 14 selected

The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans and their communities. Through its 2014 MATCH Grant Program, The Wellmark Foundation received numerous applicants. This grant award to United Way of Story County, serving as the fiscal sponsor for Healthiest Ames, represents one of 14 competitively awarded grants to create pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota. These projects are focused on childhood obesity prevention and community-based wellness projects.

The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $872,110 to these 14 grant recipients to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The environmental factors of the community in which a person lives, works and plays can greatly impact his or her healthy behaviors,” said Stephanie Perry, The Wellmark Foundation. “Creating a complete streets policy is a step that will improve the environment which will lead to improved health and reduced obesity rates in the citizens of Ames.”

For more information about Healthiest Ames email or For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, contact Teresa Roof at (515) 376-5869 or visit

About The Wellmark Foundation

The Wellmark Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation created by Wellmark, Inc., doing business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Please visit The Wellmark Foundation's Web site at to learn more about our grant program, as well as a list of previous grant recipients. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and The Wellmark Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Healthiest Ames

Healthiest Ames is working to make Ames the healthiest community in Iowa. Healthiest Ames will continuously improve the quality of life of Ames citizens through education and collaboration that promotes lifelong engagement in healthy living.

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