2020 Annual Award WINNERS

By Lauren Kollauf on Monday, October 5, 2020

2020 winners show us their projects

In just a few months, a new group of schools, workplaces, individuals and communities  working to improve the health of Iowans will be honored at the 2021 Healthiest State Annual Awards

But before we jump ahead to 2021, we wanted to check in with our 2020 Healthiest State Award winners who were honored back in February. Each received a monetary award to continue their efforts to create healthier environments for their students, employees and fellow citizens. 

Workplace Award – $1,000 each

Anawim Housing (Small)

Anawin Housing values their in-person staff time and are excited to use their funds for a staff bonding event as soon as it is safe to do so.

Drake University (Large)

Drake University, in Des Moines, used their funds to create a one-mile walking path around campus in the shape of a bulldog (Drake mascot) marked with blue paw prints. A sign explaining the Bulldog Mile and a map of the route was posted outside of the Olmsted Center. Drake hopes the Bulldog Mile becomes a focal point for faculty, staff and student walks and runs.  


Early Care Award 

Tender Care  – $250

Tender Care, an at-home child care provider in Mt. Pleasant, used the prize funds to construct an innovative new garden bed that allows students to learn about "lasagna layering" and see the plant growing process in action!


Tri-County Head Start – $500

Tri-County Child & Development, serving Blackhawk, Buchanan and Grundy counties, originally planned to use the funds to build a garden. However, after their programs were closed in March due to COVID-19, Tri-County pivoted to provide families with an at-home radish growing kit. When students returned to the classroom, they discussed the radish project and had a taste test.


Out-of-School Program Award – $500

Opportunity on Deck

Opportunity on Deck, serving kids in central Iowa, utilized the funds to help launch their summer youth programming including two baseball clinics and an end-of-summer camp that provided free access to a variety of different physical activities such as lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, yoga and karate.

Opp on Deck

Education Award – $5,000

Irving Elementary 

Irving Elementary, a two-time winner in the Waterloo Community School District, used the funds to further invest in heart-rate monitored technology and developing a program for self regulation and movement. Kids use the heart-rate monitors to track their emotions and amount of physical activity they get throughout the day. Irving's Morning Exercise Club is also being adapted to "COVID Style" to incorporate social distancing and more low-impact movements.


Individual Impact Award – $1,000

Bob King, Dallas Center

Bob King contributed his prize funds to the Dallas Center Rotary Club's effort to build and equip an ice rink shed at the community's Heritage Park. The club donated $9,000 towards the $18,000 project. After the shed arrives in October, Rotarians will install skate holders and and load the shed with skates. A grand opening is planned for December when the ice is ready.

dallas center

Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Community Award – $5,000 each


Manning used their prize fund to support several projects including: purchasing supplies to start two new classes at the community recreation center (Step and HIIT), purchasing apple and peach trees that were planted near trails, install a sand volleyball court at High Trestle Park. Read more about Manning's efforts here.


West Union

West Union plans to use their prize funds towards a new bike trail that will connect us to Echo Valley Park to downtown. Read more about West Union's efforts here.


Waverly used the funds to enhance a downtown pocket park with a mural portraying the community and active lifestyles. Painting of the 15-feet high and 68-feet wide mural is currently underway. Read more about Waverly's efforts here.


2021 Healthiest State Annual Awards

awardsApplications are now open for the 2021 Healthiest State Annual Awards. Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 30. and finalists will be announced in January. Finalists will be announced in January 2021 and winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony in February 2021. 

The categories for the Healthiest State Initiative Annual Awards include:

  • Workplace
  • Education (K-12 School)
  • Early Care
  • Out-of-School Program
  • Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Community Award
  • Individual Impact

Each winner will be awarded a monetary prize to contribute towards a health and wellness-related project that benefits their employees, students or fellow citizens. The Healthiest State Annual Awards are sponsored by Wellmark and Nemours.