COLUMBIA — Heart of Missouri United Way launched its campaign to raise $3.3 million Friday morning at the Tiger Hotel.
Reaching this goal would mark the 50th year in a row that the organization raised more money than the previous year, and it would be a 1 percent increase from the amount raised in 2009, which totaled $3,267,266.
The organization is already on its way to meeting its goal. As announced at the rally, $58,868.72 has been raised, and the total amount pledged by the campaign’s various divisions has reached $3.31 million.
The biggest pledge came from the campaign's major firms division with $1.65 million. Cooper, Howard and Boone county companies of 100 or more employees will fundraise within their work communities to raise this pledged amount.
MU followed with a pledge of $650,000 – a 4 percent increase from the university's 2009 pledge. In 2009, MU raised and donated $647,709, exceeding its pledged amount.
The campaign launch, sponsored by CenturyLink, involved more than 150 volunteers and community members. These, along with many others, are involved in helping United Way reach its financial goal and serve more mid-Missourians in the seven-county area that Heart of Missouri United Way reaches.
The 31 partner agencies that United Way funds and works with are the “front lines” in helping to reach these citizens, Executive Director Tim Rich said. The wide range of partner agencies, including the Boy Scouts of America and the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, make services available to all demographics of community members in need, including children, elderly people and people with disabilities.
United Way is about to undergo a big change as well with its new "community impact" business model involving more conversations with local leaders and citizens. This will push United Way to work more in conjunction with businesses leaders, government members, public schools, housing authorities and neighborhood associations in order to better identify — and then change — the underlying conditions that perpetrate need in the community.
Don McCubbin, executive vice president of Shelter Insurance Companies and community campaign chairman, said this will help agencies work more collaboratively to reduce inefficiencies and help United Way’s funds stretch even further, getting a bigger “bang-for-the-buck.”