Heart of Missouri United Way aims to better the community with the help of MU

Heart of Missouri United Way aims to better the community with the help of MU

By Sam Mosher, 23 News Reporter

MU faculty and local leaders gathered in the MU Student Center on Sept. 13 to commemorate the beginning of the 2016 Mizzou United Way Campaign. This campaign, now in its 49th year at the campus, is a collaboration between MU staff and the Heart of Missouri United Way.

“The university partnership with United Way is essential and it also is central to the mission of the university and our community. As we work together, we make both places better and stronger,” Executive Director of the Heart of Missouri United Way Andrew Grabau said.

The Heart of Missouri United Way’s goal is to help relieve poverty within the local community by building a lasting foundation to help citizens who may fall into harder times. Heart of Missouri United Way is active in Boone county, Cooper county and Howard county. Within these counties, the organization helps fund 33 local agencies who join Heart of Missouri United Way in its fight against poverty. These agencies, including Family Health Center, Rainbow House and University YMCA, all fall under Heart of Missouri United Way’s four main service themes: education, health, income and safety net services.

“I’m so proud of our campus, our faculty and staff who have been such mouthpieces for the campaign. They’re the reason that the campaign continues to thrive,” Tri-chair for the 2016 Mizzou United Way campaign Leigh Neier said. “For the Mizzou community, we need to take on the responsibility that comes with supporting our neighbors that are in need.”

MU is the highest giving SEC school to their local branch of United Way. Annually, about one-fifth of the Heart of Missouri United Way’s community campaign is made up by donations from MU staff. One in four faculty members gives to the campaign. This year’s campaign staff hope for the participation to grow due to the need from the community.

In Boone County, one in five residents live in poverty, and there are over 1700 cases of domestic abuse or sexual violence in Boone County, said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity Noor Azizan-Gardner and Coach Robin Pingeton.

“We’re hoping to really blow our goal out of the water this year. $575,000 would ultimately be how much we are trying to raise and contribute to the community campaign,” Neier said. “Perhaps they can’t donate to any type of financial resources, but we would welcome their time as volunteers to any of the partner agencies.”

Edited by Aviva Okeson-Haberman | arodn9@mail.missouri.edu 

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