Strengthening Community Well-Being

A community thrives when everyone has the opportunity for good health and well-being.

While the essential elements for a healthy life are readily available for some, opportunities are significantly limited for many. Through community-informed system changes that reduce barriers in the social determinants of health, we can achieve health equity. 

What Drives Health Outcomes

Various populations experience significant disparities across health outcomes. This means that factors outside of individual choice influence one’s well-being. 

Social, economic, and environmental conditions determine how long and how well people live.

Examples of the social determinants of health include: 

Housing quality and stability
Food quality and security
Family & community connections 
Quality education
Neighborhood safety
Physical and mental health care
Quality and stable employment
Economic health and well-being is the foundation driving all other health outcomes.

Our systems consist of policies, practices, and norms that shape people’s access to good health and well-being. Throughout history, these systems have been created to advantage some and disadvantage others.

As a result, there are communities that have historically, and continue to, lack resources and opportunities to achieve strong economic health and well-being. The inability to live healthy lives has multi-generational impacts, causing regional challenges that are costly to address.

How We Respond

Mid-Iowa Health Foundation leads and invests in efforts – and the people who drive them – to ensure central Iowans can access what they need to live healthy lives. We make grants to projects that have these components:

Informed by communities most impacted

Targeting system change

Addressing at least one social determinant of health, with an emphasis on economic health and well-being

Driving toward health equity

Improving community well-being can take different paths. That’s why we support a variety of strategies that connect opportunities in these ways: 


The expertise of those directly affected


Decisions that impact their well-being and dignity


Initiatives driven by the community and those most impacted by challenges


Existing assets and resources


Data and research


Meaningful action


System-focused policies and practices


Collaborative and equitable approaches implemented with cultural humility




Knowledge that children live in families and families live in communities




Greater understanding of root causes and solutions

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Our Role

In addition to strategic grantmaking, we learn and work alongside grantees, other funders, and stakeholders with the goal of expanding a network of champions in support of health equity.

How we show up in our community is defined by guiding principles and an unwavering commitment to our mission.

About Us