Fighting to Improve Lives

In the aftermath of World War II, Columbia fell victim to shortages of food, housing, and jobs. The Community Chest of Columbia, the forerunner to Heart of Missouri United Way, was founded in 1946 to allocate funds to help those in need. Now, 75 years later, the work the Mid-Missouri chapter does is eerily similar. “Our mission is to fight to improve lives in the community,” Community Impact Director Rachel Delcau says. “When we see a need in the community not being met, we facilitate conversations, make connections, collaborate to find solutions, and provide resources to help fill that gap.”

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Singing for Social Justice

In addition to being a full-time jazz vocalist, songwriter, pianist, and music teacher, Audra Sergel — the founder and artistic director of the Quorus — spends countless hours in the name of its mission: to be a positive, caring, and dynamic organization comprised of diverse advocates providing a safe space, growth, and social justice for the LGBTQQA+ community.

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Bringing the Party with Airmagination

Crafting and styling balloon arches, garlands, backgrounds, neon signs, and event set-ups is an artform at Airmagination — a balloon styling and decoration company. The main allure of the business remains the “organic” balloon installations. Various shapes, sizes, and colors of balloons turn a bar, doorway, or wall into something unearthly. “Naturally, balloons elevate the mood of any occasion,” co-founder Destiny McKnight says. “But this is more than just balloons. Our displays bring attention and can make any event pop.”

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