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A little goes a long way

Despite a pandemic, MU and UM System retirees have raised almost $100,000 for the Heart of Missouri United Way — and they’re not finished yet.

united way graphic

Nov. 18, 2020
Contact: Kenny Gerling, gerlingk@missouri.edu

Ruth Tofle, president of the MU Retirees Association (MURA), said the COVID-19 pandemic has given her — and many of the retirees she represents — a renewed appreciation for community. “A lot of our members are sheltering in place,” Tofle said, “As older adults, we’ve seen a lot of suffering and ups-and-downs in our lives, and with that experience we realize that we have a civic responsibility to help.”

The Heart of Missouri United Way works with local organizations to improve lives in mid-Missouri and is a longtime community partner of the University of Missouri. In less than two months, MURA has raised nearly $100,000 as part of Mizzou’s annual campaign in support of the United Way.

“People in our community are hurting. They may have lost jobs or been evicted because of COVID-19,” Tofle said. “The great thing about the United Way is that your money stays in the community.”

Last year more than 50,000 mid-Missourians received services because of gifts made to the Heart of Missouri United Way, said Linda Lorenz, MURA’s representative to the United Way. Every $100 pays for essential services such as one night in a shelter, one hour of occupational training or an hour of educational programing for five local children.

Lorenz said that donations of any size can make a difference. “Less than $2 a week changes lives throughout mid-Missouri,” she said. “No gift is too small and every dollar helps. By working together, we can have a tremendous impact.”

“The generosity demonstrated by the University of Missouri retirees is a testament to the Mizzou spirit,” said Marshall Stewart, MU vice chancellor for extension and engagement and UM System chief engagement officer. “There are many challenges facing our community — from food insecurity to health care inequities, and too many times these challenges confront even members of our own family. Thanks to the generous contributions of our faculty, staff and retirees, we will be able to make a significant gift to our community through the Heart of Missouri United Way.”

Tofle cited the public health crisis as just one reason for the overwhelming response. “We want to help others who are less fortunate than we are, and that’s a true statement in a pandemic or not,” she said. “But it heightens the sense that ‘it’s a crazy world out there’ and this is something we can do to help.”

In the past seven weeks, MU and UM System employees have raised more than $288,000 — nearly 75% of the $400,000 campaign goal. Students, faculty, staff and retirees can make a contribution to the 2020 University of Missouri United Way Campaign through Nov. 30.

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