Contributed by Office of Media Relations, University of Iowa

Two organizations serving Muscatine have received grants from the University of Iowa, one to help cancer survivors build communities through art, and the other to build a food program that helps low-income residents.

The University of Iowa College of Public Health and its Business Leadership Network announced the six award recipients under the third annual round of the Community Grant Program. The organizations received cash grant awards of up to $3,000.

The Muscatine Center for Social Action will provide a food stability program that supports healthy nutritional behaviors and enables better food choices for families living in poverty in Muscatine. Participating families receive a healthy food delivery on the last week of their SNAP calendar month, a week they typically experience a food shortage. The food stability program provides each family with a crock pot, food, and recipes made with affordable ingredients.

The Living Proof Exhibit of Davenport will use art sessions to improve the quality of life of Quad City and Muscatine residents touched by cancer. Patients create something beautiful while having the opportunity to connect with others impacted by cancer. Eighteen art sessions will be provided in Scott and Rock Island Counties, with bilingual sessions offered in Muscatine County.

“We are excited to support these locally initiated projects to improve community health,” says Edith Parker, professor and head of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the UI College of Public Health. “The grant program is one way the college is partnering with communities and business leaders across the state to increase the well-being of Iowans.”

Other statewide grant recipients include: Cass County Memorial Hospital, Atlantic; Fayette County Substance Abuse Coalition, Fayette; Lee County Health Department, Fort Madison; and Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging, Waterloo.

The grant program funds, in conjunction with an equal cash match from another organization or business, will be used for public health-related initiatives and projects in the recipient communities.

The College of Public Health provided the grants as part of its Business Leadership Network (BLN) initiative. Some of the funds for the grant program are provided by the UI Provost’s Office of Outreach and Engagement, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. The BLN, established in 2011, 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.

The first round of grant funding was awarded in 2015. This third 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 at: www.public-health.uiowa.edu/bln.