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COLUMBIA - In September, Heart of Missouri United Way announced its fundraising goal for the year is just north of $3 million. Thursday is the non-profit's annual "Live United Day," a call to action in hopes to raise awareness and funds to help combat poverty. 

Last year, Heart of Missouri United Way's funding of 40 programs in 33 different agencies in mid-Missouri had more than 50,000 individual effects on people in need. 

Thursday is an important day for the organization's fundraising campaign, where volunteers make calls all day in efforts to raise money to support the many programs it's involved with. 

"We're celebrating the community-wide commitment to our fight against poverty," said Andrew Grabau, Heart of Missouri United Way's executive director. "We provide funding support to 40 programs that are found in 33 different agencies throughout the community and we all band together to address needs of education, health and safety and also just basic needs support for those that are in poverty."

This year, Heart of Missouri United Way was able to secure a $10,000 donation in matching funds from the owner of the new downtown Columbia arcade bar, Silverball. Silvervball is matching all donations made Thursday, up to $10,000, so every donation made will be doubled. 

"I just think philanthropy should be built into every business plan," Silverball owner Nic Parks said. "It shows that we support our community and it’s just the right thing to do. Silverball has already committed to donating over $20,000 to at least 12 charities in our first year of business."

The full list of programs supported by Heart of Missouri United Way can be found here on its website

Those interested in donating on "Live United Day" can text "UWHOPE" to 41444 from a mobile device. Donations can also be made at Heart of Missouri United Way's website, it's Facebook and over the phone. 

"Those agencies that receive funding support from United Way all work together," Grabau said. "We all do this as a united front and so they do great work across the board. Last year alone, over 50,000 individual needs were met exclusively by the funding that United Way was able to provide to these partners."

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