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Linn County Selected as One of Fourteen Counties Nationally for

LINN COUNTY, Iowa – June 5, 2013 – Linn County and the City of Cedar Rapids are among 14 cities and counties throughout the United States selected to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to participate in the Community Coalition Leadership Program. The program will provide leadership training to a local community leadership team whose goal is to improve the health and well-being of youth in the Cedar Rapids area. 


The funding award is the result of a grant application submitted through the Community Development Grant Program, a unique public-private collaboration of Linn County, the City of Cedar Rapids, and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.  Launched in 2011, the Program is an effort to promote regional development by convening organizations and facilitating collaboration on multi-agency projects so that cohesive funding requests can be developed and funding can be acquired.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropic organization that is devoted exclusively to health and health care. 


The local participants are current members of the Healthy Youth Promotion Effort (HYPE) Coalition, which will serve to enhance coordination of strategies related to creating healthier environments in schools as outlined through the Blue Zones Project™ efforts now currently underway in Cedar Rapids. The Blue Zones Project is a community well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks. 


“It was an honor to be invited to apply for this opportunity,” said Linn County Supervisor and Linn County Board of Health member Linda Langston.  “A variety of sectors are represented on our team, including the business community, government, and the Blue Zones Project.  Together, we will address critical health issues of our community, especially within the schools, and we will work together to create and enhance opportunities to improve our communities’ health.”


Specifically, the leaders will learn interdependent, boundary-spanning leadership capabilities that will allow them to:

  • Assist, lead and coach area schools’ adoption and implementation of healthy initiatives;
  • Educate and increase awareness of the benefits of healthier school environments;
  • Identify neighborhood level assets that will help support schools in developing infrastructure for sustaining positive, supportive environments for healthy youth development.  


The HYPE Coalition leaders that will attend the training at the Center for Creative Leadership in San Diego, California in June 2013 include Linda Langston, Linn County Supervisor, Linn County Board of Supervisors and Linn County Board of Health;  Tracy Tritle, Director, Community Development Grants Program;  Trace Pickering, Director of Community Building, SourceMedia Group;  Stephanie Neff, Community Program Manager, Blue Zones Project – Cedar Rapids;  and Leslie Wright, Vice President, Community Development, United Way of East Central Iowa.




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