Heart of Missouri United Way hosted its annual LIVE UNITED Day on Thursday, November 16 at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall. They celebrated the graduation of Give 5 – Cohort 5. Opening remarks were shared by Heart of Missouri United Way President and CEO Andrew Grabau. Mayor Barbara Buffaloe was the keynote speaker.  Community Impact Committee Chair Mitzi Clayton announced the Health & Basic Needs impact investment grants for 2024-2026. 

There are 15 health and basic needs programs at 14 partner organizations that are recipients of these funds: 

City of Refuge  

Basic Needs Program  

The program’s goals are to strengthen individual stability, encourage healthy behavior, and promote health improvements as we coordinate services and advocate on behalf of the needs of resettled refugees. We seek their long-term health and stability as members who belong in the Columbia community.  


Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture   

Opportunity Gardens  

The goal of the Opportunity Gardens is to increase consumption of healthful, culturally relevant fruits and vegetables; Increase outdoor engagement which can include the whole family; Alleviate the pressure of poverty on food choices by increasing access to healthful foods; and Increase skills, knowledge, self-esteem, and confidence. The program empowers low-income families in Boone County to grow fresh food for their family in their own backyard. Through two interdependent services, Household Gardens and Health Education, it provides a backyard garden, tools, plants, education, mentorship, and support, all at no cost to the family.  


Compass Health   

Dental Program  

Their Dental Program will focus on three vital service areas: oral health screenings, preventative dental care, and dental treatment services. The goal is to inspire hope and promote wellness as we serve the most vulnerable populations in our geographic service region, regardless of their ability to pay for services (or insurance status). Every individual deserves the right to affordable, high-quality, dental services and supports – this program gives low-income, vulnerable residents the ability to seek quality dental care.  


First Chance for Children 


The goal of the CRIBS program is to reduce sudden infant death syndrome, suffocation and entrapment deaths, child abuse and neglect and increase resilience in families by utilizing home visitation and increasing access to tangible health and safety items in times of need. Community Resources Infant Beds and Support (CRIBS) works with at-risk families in critical times. It is based on trauma-informed practices, child safety information and is a companion piece to other home visitation models.  

Baby Bags  

The goal of the Baby Bags program is to reduce child abuse and neglect and increase resilience in families by increasing access to tangible health and safety items, resources and child health information in times of need. We provide a multifaceted approach addressing the needs of entire systems associated with at risk children. Each of FC4C’s programs fit together to provide holistic, wrap around support for families. Baby Bags is one of these pieces. It is based on trauma-informed practices and is designed to strengthen families by developing protective factors and providing basic necessities in times of need.  


Heart of Missouri CASA  

Child Advocacy Program   

A CASA speaks up for children in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court system who’ve been abused or neglected by educating and empowering diverse community volunteers to advocate for them in the court system. Our goals are to improve outcomes for every child in need through best interest advocacy. We aim to ensure children remain free from re-abuse while in foster care, have all their needs met (educational, medical, therapeutic), and achieve a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.  


KVC Behavioral Healthcare Missouri, Inc.   

Impact Us  

Impact Us program goals are to provide tools to youth in our community to develop positive values, social competencies, and positive identities, while teaching positive youth and personal development. KVC’s vision is to ensure every person is safe and connected to a strong family and a healthy community, with the mission to enrich and enhance the lives of children and families by providing medical and behavioral healthcare, social services, and education.  


Love Columbia  

Path Forward  

Path Forward connects relationships and resources to love people forward by 1) Providing exceptional assessment, information, referral, and case management services; 2) Enhancing the wellbeing and self-sufficiency of individuals in crisis and transition; 3) Reducing informational, relational, and material poverty in our community  


Lutheran Family & Children’s Services  

Mental Health Services & Parenting Program  

The overall goal of the program is to decrease the number of children in the region who are experiencing child abuse and neglect (CAN), by decreasing parental risk factors associated with CAN. The overall mission of the agency is to empower children and families to overcome obstacles to build a better life. The goal of reducing child abuse and neglect builds strong and stable families, in turn building strong and stable communities.  


Mid-Missouri Legal Services  

Housing Program  

The goal of the Housing Law Project is to expand access to justice despite the encumbrances of poverty and prevent homelessness by providing free civil legal assistance to low-income families facing potential eviction, substandard living conditions, and unlawful actions by landlords. The Project will also provide legal information, advice, negotiation without litigation, extended representation in court and admin hearing cases, outreach, community education, increase awareness.  


Services for Independent Living  

Senior Connect Program  

The goal of the Senior Connect Program is to maximize the independence of low-income seniors in Boone County by providing services to improve health outcomes, increase access to resources, and grow social connections in the community. This program strives to reduce social isolation, provide access to basic needs, and keep low-income seniors safe and independent in their homes. We envision a barrier-free community for all people.  


True North  

Domestic & Sexual Violence Victim Services  

The goal is to keep victims of domestic and sexual violence safe and to reduce the negative impact violence has had on their lives, empowering victims to heal and thrive through education and support.  


United Cerebral Palsy-Heartland  

Autism Services Program  

The goal of the Autism Services Program is to help children to reach their full potential through extraordinary care and support, our program will help children build upon their strengths while decreasing behaviors that endanger their health and safety and limit opportunities for participation in activities and education.  


Voluntary Action Center  

Basic Needs Program  

VAC’s Basic Needs Program responds to the immediate basic needs of individuals and families, from birth to any given age, currently housed or experiencing homelessness, within our Columbia and Boone County community. The services within this program intend to support those who are most vulnerable to overcome economic hardships, lower stress levels, strengthen health and well-being, and achieve personal stability.  


Wilkes Blvd UMC  

Turning Point Program  

Turning Point’s mission is to restore dignity and provide hope to those experiencing homelessness. It is our goal that through Turning Point, 100% of our clients have access to basic needs such as safe shelter, laundry, showers, hygiene items, and mail. These services, and the relationships built, provide the tools needed to restore dignity and provide hope to our most vulnerable population. 


United Way funds services that strengthen the health and well-being of individuals and families who are most vulnerable. United Way addresses four programmatic areas necessary to achieve health and well-being: (1) Basic Needs, (2) Safe, Healthy, Affordable Housing,  (3) Mental Health care, and (4) Medical and Dental Care by targeting programs that help individuals and families. These programs all connect with our community targets around Health and Basic Needs.