UI College of Public Health, Business Leadership Network announce 2024 Community Grant awards

Published on March 5, 2024

The University of Iowa College of Public Health and its Business Leadership Network selected five award recipients of its annual Community Grant Program.

The 2024 recipients are: Clay County Public Health, Spencer; Emmet County Public Health, Estherville; Helping Services for Youth & Families, Decorah; Pathfinders Resource Conservation and Development Area, Fairfield; and Taylor County Public Health, Bedford. The organizations will receive cash grant awards of up to $3,000.

The grant program funds, in conjunction with an equal cash and/or in-kind match from other organizations or businesses, will be used for public health-related initiatives and projects in the recipient communities.

Details about each grant recipient are below:

Clay County Public Health will provide education and cooking tools to individuals who frequent local food pantries. A dietitian will lead cooking demonstrations and provide healthy recipes using the foods acquired from the food pantry. Participants will receive education on food budgeting and will take home a cooking utensil that can be utilized in meal preparation.

Emmet County Public Health will provide food-insecure residents with a three-day emergency food supply as well as information and referrals to other community resources to lead to future stability. Electric cooking skillets will be provided to those who have no means to heat their food.

Helping Services for Youth & Families will work to break down barriers surrounding mental health crisis by supporting and connecting communities in Howard County to resources and education. Several mental health trainings and resources such as The Green Bandana Project, QPR Trainings, Mental Health First Aid, and the Active Aging Expo will be provided to residents across the lifespan, from students to seniors.

Pathfinders Resource Conservation and Development Area will create and print an online map of accessible museums, playgrounds, lakes, campgrounds, and trails throughout southeast Iowa to improve quality of life and increase participation for people of all abilities. The map will show amenities such as accessible bathrooms, accessible outdoor spaces, braille or large print, assistive listening, barrier-free entrances, and sensory-friendly hours or displays. The map will cover the counties of Marion, Mahaska, Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Des Moines, Lee, Henry, Jefferson, Van Buren, Davis, Wapello, Monroe, Appanoose, Lucas, and Wayne.

Taylor County Public Health will create an infant formula bank across a 12-county southwest Iowa service area to help families experiencing a financial crisis receive supplemental infant formula. This bank will also fill a need to assist families whose infants have special dietary needs and require more costly and hard-to-find specialty formulas. The participating counties are Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Fremont, Lucas, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, and Wayne.

The College of Public Health provided the grants as part of its Business Leadership Network (BLN) initiative. Funds for the grant program are provided by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The BLN fosters ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships between the College of Public Health and small- and medium-sized businesses and communities in Iowa. Through these relationships, the college engages and collaborates with communities in development of cutting-edge, high-impact public health research, enhances educational programs with service-learning opportunities within businesses, and promotes a culture of health throughout communities.

This year’s grant funding was available to nonprofit organizations and local government entities across Iowa. Details about the grant program, as well as additional information about the Business Leadership Network is available online.