Wellness Grants

The University actively supports and promotes a culture that supports health and well-being for all campus community members. Research shows that healthy behaviors are directly correlated to those individuals that we spend a majority of our time with. If a co-worker exhibits healthy behaviors, we are more likely to as well. The built environment can influence our behaviors.

To highlight how the environment can impact people's behaviors, take a look at this short, entertaining video!

The intent of providing grant funds directly to departments for activities that promote physical and emotional health and well-being is to make practicing healthy habits in the workplace easier, which in turn supports a culture of health on campus.

Guidelines for Wellness Grant Funds

  • Funds are for work units seeking funding for health and wellness efforts in their specific work area, and all participants benefit equitably from the grant project.
  • Requested funds may not exceed $10 per person.
  • Maximum of $500 will be awarded one time annually for a request.
  • First qualified are first served as funding is limited, and funding is based upon fiscal year. Only one wellness grant per applicant (work unit) will be awarded each fiscal year.
  • Applications should be environmentally conscious and must promote physical and/or emotional well-being.
  • Wellness Grant funds should directly impact participant’s health in a measurable way. Staff appreciation or morale-boosting efforts may be more applicable for the Staff Appreciation Grant Program.
  • All employees in your unit have access to participation in the activity/program/event.
  • All University regulations have been followed.
  • Commitment by the unit to complete outcome evaluation of Wellness Grant.

Within 30 days of completion of  the Wellness Grant project, applicant must provide:

  1. Participant list of those in attendance and/or those benefiting from the Wellness Grant project.
  2. Photo documentation of activity.
  3. Any health-related, participation, or satisfaction outcomes.
  4. Identify how the program will be maintained over time, if applicable.

Ideas for Wellness Grants

Generally, Wellness Grants will be awarded to applications that focus on top behavioral health risk areas for University of Iowa faculty and staff:

  • Maintaining and achieving a healthy weight
  • Physical Activity: Walking groups, stretching breaks
  • Nutrition: Packing a healthy lunch, smart snacking, reducing unhealthy options in the workplace

Listed below are activities to consider for Wellness Grant funding, however, we welcome creative and original applications, as well:

  • Sit / Stand Workstation (Physical and Occupational Wellness)
    Your department may use Wellness Grant funding to fully fund (up to $550) a sit/stand workstation. The benefits of being able to move from sitting to standing throughout the day are numerous. After being given the option to sit and stand when working, users report:
    • 84% - Less fatigue
    • 83% - Feel better overall
    • 62% - Improved comfort
    • 60% - More energy

      ​​​​​​​Suggestion: Place the sit/stand workstation in an accessible area so that multiple users can access it. We suggest placing this space as a resource or room in Outlook for individuals to reserve it on a one-two hour basis. A plan for maintenance and upkeep of this shared resource needs to be provided in the application.

Please note: The Wellness Grant funding guideline of no more than $10 per eligible individuals still applies. Thus, if your department has 25 people, the maximum amount of funding awarded will be $250.

  • Take the Stairs (Environmental and Physical Wellness)
    • Do you work in a building where the stairs are overlooked or forgotten? Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s best practices guidelines along with your building’s policies for signage to highlight and promote stair use over elevator use. It is up to the applying individuals to work within building requirements, fire code, and any office administrative approvals needed (i.e. Building Coordinator, Department Director, etc.).
  • Walking Group/Pedometer Program (Physical Activity and Weight Management)
    • Work with a staff member from liveWELL to purchase pedometers for participants and arrange for an educational session on using the pedometers, as well as setting up a group walking program for accountability and support.
  • Healthy Lunch Packing/Lunch Bags
    • Work with a staff member from liveWELL to purchase reusable lunch bags for participants and arrange for an educational session on packing a healthy and budget-friendly lunch.

UI Wellness can assist with ordering of pedometers, exercise bands, and lunch bags and may have quantity in-stock for ‘purchase’ as a part of the Wellness Grants initiative. These items are $5.00 each.

Note: Any weight-loss type program proposal is required to have a UI Wellness staff member consult with them on program parameters and ‘rules.’ While weight loss challenges are very popular, it’s important that evidence-based and safe weight loss guidelines are used.

Process to Apply

  1. Complete PDF iconWellness Grant Application (pdf)
  2. You will be contacted within 5-10 business days to discuss your application.
  3. You will be notified within 30 calendar days if your application will be funded.
    • Applications are reviewed by a team of UI Wellness and Human Resources staff.
    • Suggestions or changes to application may be recommended.
  4. Funds will be transferred to the appropriate MFK.
  5. Within 30 days of program implementation, documentation of event needs to be submitted via email.


After utilizing Wellness Grant funding, complete and submit this brief PDF iconWellness Grant Evaluation Form (pdf) along with itemized receipts and photos to the Wellness Grants Review committee via email.