2020-2021 COMMUNITY
OUTREACH SUCCESS

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Mission

Heart of Missouri United Way fights to improve lives in the community.

Our Vision

Our community wins by Living United: By responding to changing community needs. By forging strategic partnerships and fostering effective solutions to tackle local issues. By harnessing the best resources and inspiring others to join the fight in defeating barriers to basic needs, health, education, and financial stability.

A WORD FROM OUR LEADERS

2020 was a year full of challenges. However, thanks to your generosity and support, we remained strong in pursuit of our mission to fight to improve lives in our community. For 75 years, we have had the privilege of serving mid-Missouri and this was the most unconventional year we have ever seen. Yet, in the midst of all the uncertainty of the last year, our community came together in support of Heart of Missouri United Way. In a true display of selflessness and compassion our community lived UNITED in the face of adversity. We are grateful for all the support from individual donors, volunteers, and community partners.

Last year was all about adapting, changing and growing. In March of 2020, we announced our commitment to help our neighbors impacted by the pandemic.  We honored our commitment to fight to improve lives in our community by investing $365,030.50 to local non-profits providing emergency relief and long-term recovery assistance to the most vulnerable within our community.

Despite the additional challenges associated with the pandemic, we remained dedicated to our three Impact areas, Health, Education and Financial Stability.  Grant awards and reporting were extended by six months, allowing partner agencies to focus on what they do best: serve the needs of their program participants. For some organizations, this meant completely re-thinking how they deliver services and even shifting services based on emergent needs.

Health: In November of 2020, we announced a $1,000,000 commitment to invest in the health and basic needs of those most vulnerable in our community for the next three years. 

Education: We remained committed to fund programs increasing school readiness, literacy, and academic success for the most vulnerable children in our community.

Financial Stability: We continued to support programs improving financial stability and economic mobility of individuals and families who are financially vulnerable.  

Equity: In 2020, we also launched the Equity Challenge a 7-week email series designed to raise awareness of racism and how it manifests in our day to day lives. More than 1,100 people, including members of our community, the state and across the nation have completed the Equity Challenge receiving the tools needed to be leaders in the fight for equity.

United Way staff also began hosting community Equity Dialogues.

Recognizing our Community Impact investments are not able to meet all the needs in our community, we established the Equity Fund and began laying the groundwork to form an BIPOC led Equity Advisory Council.   The Equity Fund and Equity Advisory Council will actively work to remove systemic barriers and promote inclusivity.

As we celebrate 75 years of serving Boone, Cooper, and Howard counties, we can’t thank you enough for your support of our mission to improve lives in our community. Join the fight against inequity. We live better when we LIVE UNITED.

Sincerely,

Mike and Rockie Alden
2021 Community Campaign Chairs

Andrew Grabau
President & CEO
Heart of Missouri United Way

 

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Andrew Grabau – President & CEO
Heart of Missouri United Way

2020 Financial Snapshot

Your Dollars Your Impact

July 2019-December 2021 Impact Investment total

$2,448,844: United Way Impact Investments

Total Outputs:

63,318: Number of people served by United Way funded programs

530,801: Number of service hours funded by United Way

Who We Reached

Program Participants by Age

  • Under 5 years
    10%
  • 5-19 years
    43%
  • 20-59 years
    40%
  • 60 years and over
    7%
Program Participants by Ethnicity*
  • White
    54%
  • Black or African-American
    33%
  • Multiple Races
    5%
  • Asian
    4%
  • Native American Indian or Alaskan Native
    1%
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
    0%
  • Some Other Race
    3%

*Includes 5% Hispanic/Latino in combination or alone with other ethnicities listed

Participants by Poverty Status*
  • At or below 200% Federal Poverty Level
    94%
  • Over 200% Federal Poverty Level
    6%

*Federal Poverty Limit = $26,500 for family of 4
200% of Federal Poverty Limit = $53,000 for a family of 4

YOUR DOLLARS YOUR IMPACT

July 2019-December 2021 Impact Investment total

$2,448,844: United Way Impact Investments

Total Outputs:

63,318: Number of people served by United Way funded programs

530,801: Number of service hours funded by United Way

Who We Reached

Program Participants by Age

  • Under 5 years
    10%
  • 5-19 years
    43%
  • 20-59 years
    40%
  • 60 years and over
    7%

Program Participants by Ethnicity*

  • White
    54%
  • Black or African-American
    33%
  • Multiple Races
    5%
  • Asian
    4%
  • Native American Indian or Alaskan Native
    1%
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
    0%
  • Some Other Race
    3%
*Includes 5% Hispanic/Latino in combination or alone with other ethnicities listed

Participants by Poverty Status*

  • At or below 200% Federal Poverty Level
    96%
  • Over 200% Federal Poverty Level
    4%
*Federal Poverty Limit = $26,500 for family of 4
200% of Federal Poverty Limit = $53,000 for a family of 4

Impact

Of those served and assessed:

%

of children entered school ready to succeed

%

avoided or reduced risky behaviors

%

increased healthy behaviors

%

graduated HS on-time

%

of youth developed soft skills

%

gained employment

Community Impact

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heart of Missouri United Way remained true to the organization’s three impact areas: Health, Education, and Financial Stability.

HEALTH

United Way funds services that strengthen the health and well-being of individuals and families who are most vulnerable. The organization recognizes four programmatic areas necessary to achieve health and well-being: Basic Needs; Safe, Healthy, Affordable Housing; Mental Health care; and Medical and Dental care.

In November of 2020, Heart of Missouri United Way announced a $1,000,000 investment in health annually over the next three years. The investment commitment to Health and Basic Needs started in January of 2021 and will continue through December of 2023.

The Health Impact Investment Portfolio includes funding for programs at 19 local organizations: The Boys and Girls Club of Columbia, Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoptive Association, City of Refuge, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Compass Health Network, Defense Against Diabetes, Easterseals Midwest, First Chance for Children, Great Circle, Heart of Missouri CASA, Love Columbia, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Services for Independent Living, The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, The Salvation Army, True North of Columbia, Turning Point at Wilkes Blvd, and Voluntary Action Center.

“Some of our neighbors have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Investing more in programs that we know improve lives in our community just makes sense,” said Executive Director of Heart of Missouri United Way Andrew Grabau about the Health Impact Awards.

People unloading food from the back of a car
People unloading food from the back of a car

EDUCATION

United Way funds services that support school readiness, literacy, and academic success for children in the community. Every year, Heart of Missouri United Way addresses the community’s education needs by targeting programs that demonstrate the following childhood outcomes: entering school ready to succeed, reading proficiently by third grade, and making a successful transition in and out of middle school. Heart of Missouri United Way’s investments in Education started in July of 2018 and will continue through December 2021.

The Education Impact Investment Portfolio includes programs at 11 local organizations:

Harrisburg Early Learning Center, First Chance for Children, Mary Lee Johnston Community Learning Center, Boonslick YMCA, Community Playground of Columbia AKA Fun City, United Community Builders, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Grade A Plus, Inc., Jabberwocky Studios

Financial Stability

In 2020, Heart of Missouri United Way continued funding services strengthening the financial stability and economic mobility of financially vulnerable individuals and families. United Way addresses the community’s financial stability needs by investing in programs demonstrating the following client and/or community outcomes: gains in skills and/or credentials needed for employment and/or increased wages, gain and sustain employment and/or increase income, increase disposable income by increasing financial literacy and/or reducing costs and/or accessing benefits. United Way’s current investment in Financial Stability began in July of 2019 and will continue through December of 2022.

The Financial Stability Impact Investment Portfolio includes programs at 7 organizations:

City of Refuge, Job Point, Love Columbia, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Rock the Community, Services for Independent Living, United Community Builders

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People unloading food from the back of a car

Community Engagement

To keep the community engaged despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Heart of Missouri United Way launched a Day of Caring and Virtual Campaign Kickoff. The half-day event invited community members to learn more about the work of United Way and engaged the caring nature of people to improve the community. Volunteers for the Day of Caring operated in small, safely-distanced groups to compile LIVE UNITED Care Kits for Adults, which included an assortment of self-care and hygiene items, and Read Across Columbia Literacy Kits for Children, which contained five inclusive book titles and a free book coupon from Daniel Boone Regional Library, an application for a library card, bookmarks to encourage reading, and a pencil. The Care Kits for Adults were distributed through United Way Partner Agencies to individuals in need. The Literacy Kits were delivered to more than 600 children in five elementary schools with the highest poverty rates and lowest levels of third grade reading proficiency.

Read Across Columbia

Heart of Missouri United Way believes every child can learn how to read. To maintain grade-level reading, kids need 10 grade-level books in their home. We also know that children are most interested in reading when they can relate to the characters in books.

Heart of Missouri United Way removes this barrier to literacy by getting kids their very own books. Read Across Columbia puts inclusive book titles into the hands of all first and second grade students at our five elementary schools with the lowest reading proficiency scores and highest free-and-reduced lunch rates. These same schools are also the most diverse in our district. Each Fall and Spring, United Way volunteers pack bookbags with at least 4 books plus one coupon for a free book from Daniel Boone Regional Library, for approximately 650 kids. By reaching kids that most need support, we are advancing equity in education.

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Building Equity

United Way’s Equity Definition

“Equity is the intentional inclusion of everyone in society. Equity is achieved when systemic, institutional, and historical barriers based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities are dismantled and no longer predict socioeconomic, education, and health outcomes.”

Heart of Missouri United Way’s Equity Vision

We recognize structural racism and other forms of oppression that have contributed to persistent disparities that United Way seeks to dismantle. Our United Way network strives to engage community members, especially those whose voices have traditionally been marginalized. We work with residents and public and private partners to co-create solutions that ensures everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive. We commit to leveraging all of our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building, advocacy) to create more equitable communities.

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Heart of Missouri United Way is establishing the Equity Fund and Advisory Council because there are needs in our community that require our investment but fall outside our Community Impact 3-year outcome-driven grant cycle. This new fund, with the advice of the BIPOC advisory council, will enable the co-creation of solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive.

“The only way to advance equity is to include voices that have traditionally been excluded. This is an invitation to speak and be heard at ‘the table’ so we can create lasting and equitable change,” said Dr. Eryca Neville, Heart of Missouri United Way Board Member, and co-chair of the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Board Committee and Principal of Douglass High School.

The formation of the Equity Fund and Advisory Council comes less than a year after United Way started the Equity Challenge in the wake of social injustice. The challenge, which started in July 2020, is an educational experience guided through a series of emails providing local data and resources for understanding racism each week. The Challenge includes an activity guide containing reflection questions to help participants process their learning and write down their own feelings throughout the challenge. The seven-week self-paced journey is free to join. We invite everyone in the community to complete the Equity Challenge and Live United for equity and fight against structural racism.

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COVID Fund

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, United Way pledged its unwavering commitment to the community and Nonprofit Agency Partners with three promises: 100% of donations raised through the CoMoHelps COVID-19 Fund could go to any local health and human service nonprofit; Funds would be made available quickly; Agencies would have the flexibility to meet emerging needs with CoMoHelps COVID-19 Funds.

Collaborating with Boone County, City of Columbia, Community Foundation of Central Missouri, and Veterans United, United Way led CoMoHelps’ effort to provide community aid to meet needs resulting from the pandemic. By the first week of April, United Way delivered on its promise and allocated $83,335 to six local non-profits serving emergent community needs: Turning Point, Phoenix Programs, Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, Voluntary Action Center, and Boys and Girls Club. This first round of donations prioritize access to basic needs such as food and hygiene items and set a precedence for quickly disbursing funds where they are most needed.

In the second round of COVID-19 grants, United Way awarded over $48,0000 to Mary Lee Johnston Community Learning Center and Columbia Homeless Outreach Team. By addressing the need for early childhood education while still maintaining the importance of providing access to basic needs, United Way proved that it would continue to serve the community’s diverse range of needs. As the third round of grants were awarded to the Salvation Army and Missouri Rural Crisis at the beginning of May, the total amount of awards reached $160,946. As businesses began to struggle at all levels of operation and unemployment continued to rise, United Way’s investments assisted The Salvation Army’s efforts to provide rental assistance and support in long-term housing solutions. The grants also ensured that the Crisis Center continued its partnership with producers, processors, storage facilities, and restaurants and grocery stores to market sustainably raised pork throughout mid-Missouri. This push for food security was reinforced with a $75,000 award to Columbia Public School Foundation to continue providing meals to children in need through the end of July.

By the end of 2020, the Heart of Missouri United Way invested $325,430.50

from the COVID-19 Fund. As the pandemic lingers, United Way will continue to deliver on our promise to the community to forge unlikely partnerships, find new solutions to old problems by mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against our community’s most daunting crises.

People unloading food from the back of a car