CoMoHelps is seeking additional donations from the public to meet rising needs in the wake of the pandemic.

The network was started in March with Columbia, Boone County, the Heart of Missouri United Way, the Community Foundation of Central Missouri and Veterans United Foundation as collaborators, said Veterans United Foundation Board President Erik Morse. The Veterans United Foundation is funding some of the efforts, and all of its funding comes from employees, Morse said.

“Any nonprofit organization can submit a grant request to us, asking for support around emergency initiatives that have surfaced because of the pandemic,” said Andrew Grabau, executive director of the Heart of Missouri United Way.

This network has allocated more than $1 million for COVID-19 relief in the community since March, according to a Boone County Commission news release.

Because CoMoHelps has received over $2.5 million in funding requests, it wants additional donations to the Community Foundation of Central Missouri and the Heart of Missouri United Way to meet the needs not already covered in the original $1 million, according to the news release.

Different organizations have their own sources of donations that are designated for the CoMoHelps effort.

The Community Foundation of Central Missouri and the Heart of Missouri United Way both accept funds from the public, said John Baker, executive director of the Community Foundation of Central Missouri.

They are seeking donations from the public because “the amounts of money that we have left are not going to be enough to satisfy all the needs that will be presented to us,” Baker said.

The Heart of Missouri United Way has been vocal through the media and done various media appearances, Grabau said. “We just ask the community to please just, to make a gift, recognizing the true spirit of philanthropy in our community and helping one another.”

Boone County Community Services Department doesn’t fundraise because it has dedicated dollars from the Children’s Services Fund tax and from the Community Health/Medical Fund, said Joanne Nelson, the department’s director.

“We have the Children’s Services Fund that has funded $314,298 of services, and we have the Community Health/Medical fund which has $200,772,” she said.

Since March, the CoMoHelps donations have been used for a variety of different needs, Nelson said.

“It ‘s been used for anything from individual therapy to provisions of basic needs for infants and toddlers, childcare for essential workers... It has covered the purchase of food from Boone County farmers to get to the food bank,” she said.

“We provided funds to the food bank for the purchase of additional food. We have covered some rental assistance and motel vouchers for the homelessness prevention,” she said.

Baker said the Community Foundation of Central Missouri helped the community in several ways with these funds, including providing food and activity programs or children’s organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbia.

Information about CoMoHelps and how to make donations can be found on its official website.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • General Assignment reporter, summer 2020 Studying convergence journalism-multimedia producing Reach me at lgao@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

  • Fred Anklam manages city and county government reporters. He can be reached at anklamf@missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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