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Celebrating Five Years as Wello

On October 3, 2018 at Ariens Hill in the Titletown District, we officially launched our rebrand as Wello and declared our new vision to address barriers to well-being through a community building approach. 

We introduced you to our new name, brand colors, and most importantly, our mission to co-create community conditions that are fair and just to drive high levels of health and well-being for all.

In the five years since, we have refined a vision, built a nationally recognized well-being framework, and grown relationships to drive impact with community for community.  We believe collective well-being sets forth a bold alternative future where people thrive for generations to come and is centered around the ideals of justice and love.

Key Wins in Past Five Years 

Wello established Brown County's first measures of resident health and well-being through our survey and panel study (following the same residents overtime to see changes in well-being). Wello, in partnership with the City of Green Bay, was named a 2021 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Prize Finalist. This recognition is one of the highest honors in our line of work. Wello was also recognized as one of six innovators in the United States on how we holistically measure resident well-being by the National League of Cities. 

Examples of Wello’s Well-Being Framework in Action

Food has the power to nourish, connect, and build well-being in a way that equitably supports full and prosperous lives. Wello has been engaged in modeling a well-being based food system, work we call Cultivating Community, for over a decade because we believe food is an anchor of community well-being. 

Strategic priorities include addressing food insecurity (hunger) in ways that not only provide food to people in need but also addresses the barriers to food access. We are also committed to helping transform school meals, making them healthier and building connections between schools and local farms. Wello spearheads programs like the Brown County Farm to School Task Force, the Farmers Market SNAP/Double Your Bucks program, Farm to Force, and a relationship-based healthy food distribution project that distributes healthy, local produce through trusted, culturally-specific community channels to people in need. 

Some highlights include working with local culturally specific resource centers to provide produce boxes, serving over 15,000 low-income individuals from 2020-2023, and investing nearly $100,000 in purchases from local farms. This work is building our local, regional, and state supply chains while increasing our local farming capacity to provide for local food needs. 

Another example of our work is building an active, connected community that works for all people. This focuses on engineering, education, enforcement, evaluation, and encouragement (5E's) to build a safer, more accessible community. The work includes convening the Greater Green Bay Active Communities Alliance, Safe Walk & Bike Plan, Yield to Your Neighbor, and Wintermission.

The Crosswalk Education and Enforcement or “Frogger” events are part of the Yield to Your Neighbor campaign. In 2022, the three events resulted in 351 warnings issued to drivers for failing to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk which is Wisconsin state law while 1,298 vehicles did correctly yield. This year, through the first two Frogger events, there have been 174 warnings issued with 1,332 vehicles correctly yielding. 

Well-being based mental health work has also helped strengthen our community. This includes mindfulness capacity building in supporting mental health of teachers, caregivers, and students within Green Bay Area Public Schools.

This work has reached 19,000 students district-wide and nearly $15,000 in mini-grant funds provided by Wello supporting 36 schools. This also resulted in the district establishing mindfulness as part of their employee on-boarding training.  

Finally, in the past five years, Wello has established and evolved our ways of tracking progress and assessing our largest well-being challenges through a nationally recognized health and well-being data-set. Wello uses a three-pronged approach to address the systemic and structural barriers to well-being: a bi-annual resident health and well-being survey (2023 results coming soon!), panel study, and community-led feedback loops to surface local gaps that contribute to struggling and suffering in our region.

This is just a glimpse of what our five year journey has looked like. We cannot wait to see what the next five holds for our organization, partners, and the collective well-being of our community’s residents now and well into the future. 

This story ran as our October Green Bay Press Gazette column

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