Our community is fortunate to have both excellent nonprofit organizations and businesses committed to giving back. Together, our businesses and nonprofits have formed incredible partnerships that have yielded great benefits for Columbia and mid-Missouri.
Many of our businesses give generously to the initiatives of local nonprofit organizations; some have even created foundations specifically for the purpose of advancing causes that are close to their hearts and the mission of their business. Other organizations allow their employees paid time off to volunteer in the community throughout the year, providing incentive to their teams to lend a helping hand to nonprofit organizations and create deeper connections to Columbia. Additionally, the leaders of our businesses give freely of their time and expertise by serving on the boards of nonprofits. These generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure provided by our businesses and their employees allow Columbia’s amazing nonprofits to multiply their impact on the people and causes they serve.
In our role as a convener of inclusive collaboration, the Chamber has also been proud to partner with our nonprofit organizations on initiatives that advance the growth and flourishing of Columbia. Most recently, our Chamber took more than 70 business and community leaders on a Leadership Visit trip to Madison, Wisconsin. Each year we take a group to visit a different community and learn from their successful programs and initiatives in areas of interest to Columbia.
For our 2023 visit, we focused a significant amount of our time on Madison’s successes in finding effective and compassionate solutions to the city’s challenges with the unsheltered population. During our trip, we met with Madison’s municipal officials as well as nonprofit leaders working in this space.
In addition to the many business leaders on our trip, we were pleased to have quite a few executive directors of our nonprofits in attendance, particularly those who are working on solutions to homelessness in our own community. The Chamber and its partners were able to provide scholarship funds for five people to attend the trip free of charge, opening up opportunities for our nonprofit leaders who might not otherwise have been able to afford this experience. This type of trip represents an important opportunity for our business leaders to work together with nonprofits to meet the challenges of our day.
It’s our hope that the conversations started on the Leadership Visit will continue in the coming months and years among civic and community leaders, business owners, and nonprofit champions. We are proud to provide a space where people from across our community can come together and discuss partnerships and projects that will create lasting change in Columbia.
Our business community needs the crucial work of our nonprofits, and vice versa, in order for everyone to achieve maximum impact. Together, we can continue to make Columbia and Boone County a safe, equitable, and thriving place for all of our residents.
Matt McCormick is the president and CEO of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.