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Mayo Clinic Health System is supporting the wellness of individuals with disabilities by offering $195,000 in funding to area nonprofit organizations focused on inclusive recreation and health.

Applications for the Inclusive Health and Recreation Awards, special to 2019 and not likely to be given out again in subsequent years, are open to 501©(3) organizations in the Coulee Region, the counties of Houston in Minnesota and Allamakee in Iowa, with a special focus on those serving children with disabilities.

Funds will be allocated dependent on the number of applications received, and are specific to programs, equipment and capital expenses to be completed within 12 months of receipt.

“We hope to maximize the impact of these funds by encouraging proposals from nonprofits serving the same communities served by Mayo Clinic Health System in this region,” said Teri Wildt, director of community engagement for Mayo Clinic Health System in Southwest Wisconsin. “While we tend to refer to our region as Southwest Wisconsin, our footprint actually includes a small portion of Minnesota and Iowa as well.”

Through Aug. 31, qualified organizations may submit an electronic application for consideration by Mayo Clinic Health System employees, who will be responsible for selecting at least one organization, and a review committee, which will determine the remaining beneficiaries. Organizations have the potential to receive partial funding.

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In order to help as many as possible, specifically youth with special needs, the awards are only open to nonprofits that benefit those under 17 exclusively or with adult services as well, and serve a significant number of people.

Award recipients will be announced in October, with funds disbursed by Dec. 31.

“It can be challenging for individuals with disabilities to be as physically and socially active as they desire,” Wildt says. “In making these funds available we hope to promote greater engagement of all people in our communities. We want health and well-being to be attainable for everyone.”

Applications are available at https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/la-crosse/about-us/community-engagement/funding-2. For more information or questions, contact Mayo Clinic Health System community engagement coordinator Ashley Santolin at 608-392-2767 or santolin.ashley@mayo.edu.

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Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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General assignment reporter

Emily Pyrek covers health, human interest stories and anything involving dogs for the La Crosse Tribune. She is always interested in story ideas and can be contacted at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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