CoMo Gives: Building a Stronger and Better Columbia

From addressing the needs of low-income persons to providing for the elderly to taking care of the environment, non-profit organizations in Columbia do many great things to create a better city.

However, without the generous support of others, these organizations wouldn’t be able to continue their service missions. To provide extra support and community involvement, the Community Foundation of Central Missouri implemented the CoMoGives campaign one year ago.

“It’s not to replace a fund campaign but to provide help,” says John Baker, community foundation executive director. “We want people to select charities that are important to them and give as happily and easily as they can.”

The CoMoGives campaign is a publication and accompanying website catalog of local non-profit organizations that accept and are in need of donations. The campaign has a primary goal of facilitating end-of-year giving to these non-profits in one place:www.comogives.com. Donors can choose one or as many organizations as they want and donate to each with a simple and secure credit card transaction from Dec. 1-31.

There are 53 non-profit community organizations participating in CoMoGives this year. The list and organization descriptions can be found atwww.comogives.com/donate-now.

“The non-profit community truly deserves community support,” Baker says. “All the organizations involved this year provide a distinct service to the Columbia area and I would encourage anyone to go online to comogives.com and make a donation to one or more.”

Centro Latino de Salud, Alternative Community Trainingand Encircle Technologies are three examples of Service-Learning community partners who are participating in CoMoGives this year. To raise awareness about the campaign and what they do for the community, each organization has hosted fundraisers and established various ways to get the word out.

Centro Latino is dedicated to serving the immigrant population of Missouri. It provides health literacy, obesity/diabetes prevention, prevention of violence against women, youth after-school programs, English and Spanish classes, immigration services and referrals, interpreting and translation.

The organization hosted the Centro Latino Comedor Popular dinner on Friday, Dec. 5. To receive a plate, attendants donated at comogives.com prior to arrival or paid at the door. If those interested in donating could not attend the dinner, they were still encouraged to donate at the CoMoGives website. Following the dinner, Centro Latino jumped from 15th to 11th place on the CoMoGives organization leaderboard.

According to Centro Latino’s Facebook page, the organization would like to model its motto of “Junto Se Puede” or “Together We Can” by collecting small donations from as many supporters as possible between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31.

Centro Latino’s next fundraiser dinner will be held Friday, Dec. 19 at Lucky’s Market.

Alternative Community Training provides direct, personalized service and support aimed at overcoming marginalization, unemployment, poverty, isolation or mistreatment of people in the Columbia community who are affected by physical, intellectual and/or other disabilities.

ACT hosted its CoMoGives kick-off event on Monday, Dec. 1. Guests were asked to bring as many people along with them as they liked, and light appetizers and refreshments from Bur Oak Brewing Company were served. Tickets for refreshments were made available along with computers where guests could go to comogives.com and donate.

For Kalynn Ramsey, ACT media relations coordinator, the event showed how beneficial community partnering is.

“The event was a huge success; we raised over $3,000 in just two days and had several people interested in volunteering at ACT,” Ramsey says. “We have never done any type of fundraising to this scale before and thought that CoMoGives was a good start. A lot of people have no clue about ACT and we want that to change.”

Encircle Technologies helps train adults on the autism spectrum for jobs in technology fields so they can use their unique abilities to find gainful employment. This allows young adults who may have otherwise not achieved independence obtain it and also allows them to learn, grow and make friends.

The organization held a holiday event to fundraise on Wednesday, Dec. 10. This event was open to students, staff, board members and parents, and included performances by students, portfolio viewings, free food and a Ping-Pong tournament.

Besides this event, Encircle Technologies is working hard to spread awareness through other outlets, such as social media.

According to Executive Director Teri Walden, any exposure to help garner donations is appreciated.

“It’s great for our local community partners to participate in CoMoGives for community awareness and to have their needs met, either by an increase in volunteers, monetary donations or much-needed supplies,” says Cara Gallup, program coordinator for the MU Office of Service-Learning. “Our community only knows a fraction of the total of the community organizations involved and it’s a great way for the community to learn more and support area needs.”

To learn more about CoMoGives and to donate to your favorite organization, visit http://www.comogives.comtoday! You can also check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/comogives and follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/CoMoGives