Be a Champion for Literacy in Columbia

Photo Above: Read Across Columbia book bags being distributed to children.

Team up with Mizzou Men's Basketball and Heart of Missouri United Way to become a Champion for Literacy!

Let’s help provide 650 students with books for a year! Become a champion for literacy today and help every child in Columbia learn to read. Together, we are combatting the statistic that only 37% of 3rd graders in Columbia Public Schools and Boone County read at a proficient level (Boone Indicators Dashboard).

Why is this so important? Studies show students not reading at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. From pre-kindergarten through third-grade, students LEARN TO READ but after that, you have to READ TO LEARN

HOW YOU CAN HELP. 100% of donations will stay local with Heart of Missouri United Way to provide books, resources, and tutoring to help kindergarten through third-grade students in our neighborhood learn to read.

Donate Today

Thank you to Coach Dennis Gates and the Mizzou Men's Basketball team for bringing the Fight for Literacy to Columbia!

With a special thank you to the Champions for Literacy organization.

Find Purpose in Retirement, Try Give 5!

Give 5 is a social program that matches innovative volunteer opportunities with retired (or almost retired) baby boomers ages 60+ who live in Boone County.

Each Give 5 Class meets 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., on Thursday for five weeks, visiting and learning about more than 20 nonprofits throughout the program. Expect to have fun, make new friends, and learn about volunteer opportunities that match your talents, passions, and personality.

We are excited to announce the dates for our upcoming cohorts! Classes will all be held at Williams-Keepers LLC.

Photo Above: Give 5 participants on a tour at Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Cohort 6: Thursdays from February 15-March14, 2024

Cohort 7: Thursdays from April 11-May 9, 2024

Sign Up for Give 5

Questions? You can email our Give 5 Coordinator, Lorraine Gustavis at!

Agency Spotlight: United Community Builders

VISION: United Community Builders envisions a united community, working together to equip all low-income, at-risk, and minority children and families to rise above poverty and become successful and self-sufficient in life.

MISSION: United Community Builders works to build and release capable people who achieve and succeed in all areas of life.

UCB has a Transformations program funded through our Financial Stability Impact Investment.

In the Transformations program clients establish goals for success in their personal and professional lives. Clients will be encouraged to maintain employment or continue their education and will be encouraged to develop supportive relationships. The Transformations program implements the Jobs for Life curriculum that provides proven techniques that will enable enrollees to obtain and maintain employment or secure a higher paying position. The program includes career assessment, in-class reading, class and group discussions, and required home assignments.

They also have two programs funded through our Education Impact Investment: Club Kid Connect and United Community School House.

Club Kid Connect is a six-week youth academy for pre-kindergarten to sixth grade students. They provide children with a safe and nurturing environment during the summer to enable them to successfully transition to the new school year. Their staff provide instructional learning in math, reading, and the creative arts to help students maintain academic skills gained during the previous school year and provide instruction to prepare them for higher grade courses.

United Community School House provides child development programming for pre-kindergarten to fifth grade students with curriculum that provides a sequence of learning objectives that prepares each child for kindergarten readiness. Elementary school participants receive homework assistance, and instructional learning in math, reading, and sciences. Their goal is to develop a love of learning in each child and to provide the foundations for their future academic success.

Visit UCB's Website

Volunteer Opportunities

Photo Above: Boone Health staff members volunteering at City of Columbia Parks.

Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association: Respite Volunteer: Columbia Area

CMFCAA provides free resources for foster and adoptive families in Central Missouri. The Columbia Area Respite Volunteers will work with our Columbia Respite team to assist them in providing incredible experiences for foster and adoptive youth in the eight-county region. You'll attend events such as: arcades, waterparks, pumpkin patches, art centers, skating rinks, and more! Meals and admission are always provided for volunteers. 

Learn more & Sign up

Heart of Missouri CASA: CASA Volunteer

CASA volunteers are assigned to an abuse or neglect case by judges. Each volunteer is carefully screened, trained, and supervised. Volunteers conduct thorough research on the background of the case, reviewing documents, and interviewing everyone involved, including the child. They make reports to the court, recommending what they believe is best for the child, and providing the judges with information that will help them make an informed decision. CASA volunteers can be instrumental in assuring that a child and/or family receives services that the court has ordered - things like substance abuse counseling or special education testing. During the life of a case, a CASA volunteer monitors the child's situation to make sure they remain safe and have a voice in court.

Learn more & Sign up

Boys & Girls Club of Columbia: On-Call Bus Driver

Boys & Girls Club of Columbia is responsible for transporting children from school to the Clubhouse each day M-F. Transportation takes place via passenger van (Class E required) and school bus (CDL required). The Club has a regular daily driver, however, we know there will be days when he is unable to drive, life happens! When it does, the Club looks to our on-call bus driving team to ensure transportation is available for Columbia youth. This unique as-needed position involves a short 3-hour shift; 2pm-5pm. 

Learn more & Sign up

United Way in the Community

Hot Hands for Project Homeless Connect

We are passionate about reaching our community's most vulnerable through our programs and wellness kits. We were recently able to not only donate kits for the unhoused, but some additional Hot Hands to Project Homeless Connect as well. We appreciate this shout-out from them on Facebook!

Upcoming Events

Fight for Literacy:

January - March 2024

Thank You Month: February 2024

Upcoming Events

Heart of Missouri United Way invests in programs at nonprofit organizations in the impact areas of health and basic needs, education, and financial stability. Our investments reach individuals and families in Boone, Cooper, and Howard Counties. Donate today to make an impact in our community.


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