Don't worry, Be happy - The MO Better Foundation improves lives across the stateJul 25, 2023 11:18AM ● By Janani Varatharajan
To accomplish this mission, MO Better Foundation provides funding to help purchase items that assist in daily living, particularly items related to technology, transportation, and mobility. MO Better fills the void in situations when no other funding sources are available, or when other sources can’t adequately cover the costs of needed assistive technology (AT) or access modification.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND MO BETTER
The MO Better Foundation was born out of Founder Dave Welborn’s lifetime of experience working with and caring for individuals with physical impairments. Dave has spent more than 40 years personally and professionally dedicated to this work. In addition to volunteering with several nonprofits serving those with disabilities, Dave was an executive for a national nonprofit organization that worked with individuals with muscle wasting diseases, including muscular dystrophy and ALS.
“All people want to feel valued, no matter what their abilities may be,” he said. “And, let’s face it, we all want to live as independently as we can for as long as we can,” Dave added. “We are very fortunate to be living at a time when technology is being created to assist those with disabilities. It is a great equalizer, as it opens doors—figuratively and literally—that might not otherwise be accessible.”
LIVING MORE INDEPENDENTLY
According to the Assistive Technology Industry Association, AT are “products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.” AT, often called an adaptive aid, is any piece of equipment—whether no-tech, low-tech, or high-tech—that can help some people with a disability do something they could not do otherwise and makes tasks easier for some people. AT helps in all aspects of life: education, communication (written and spoken), leisure, work, day-to-day activities, and more. It also increases self-esteem, self-confidence, and independence.
Examples of AT include:
• Physical modifications including ramps, grab bars, and wider doorways
• Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) like software, electronic devices, and picture boards that help a person express their thoughts and needs
• Lightweight, high-performance mobility devices that enable persons with disabilities to play sports and be physically active
• Adaptive switches and utensils to allow those with limited motor skills to eat, play games, and accomplish other activities
A MO BETTER IMPACT
THROUGHOUT THE STATE
“We are one of just a handful of nonprofit organizations—if not the only one—that do what we do statewide,” Dave said. “We are proud of that and are happy with the difference we are making in their lives. It is quite gratifying.” Highlights of MO Better’s impact last year include:
- Provided portable ramp systems to several individuals in the St. Louis area so they can move safely in and out of their houses, including a ramp for an elderly individual who hadn’t left their house for several years because they could not safely get out.
- Donated assistive technology equipment for evaluations to help individuals communicate on their computers, phones, and smart devices using their eyes.
- Helped purchase Augmentative Speech Communication device for an individual in central Missouri living with cerebral palsy. The device allows them to communicate with their spouse, children, and grandchildren.
- Donated several pieces of Adaptive Gaming equipment and a 3-D printer to a rehabilitation center in Kansas City used in their stroke recovery and other occupational therapy programs.
WHERE THE FUNDING COMES FROM
According to Dave, MO Better Foundation does not seek or receive state or federal funding—a choice they made early on.“The majority of our funding comes from individuals and businesses through peer-to-peer giving, special events, and cause marketing efforts,” he said. “We could not do this vital work without the support of individuals and businesses, large and small, throughout Missouri. We also couldn’t do it without our board, who embody the spirit of community and philanthropy and bring their unique talents, expertise, and energy to the table to help lead our organization and facilitate our mission, vision, and values.”
One of those programs that came from the board is the MO Better Beer Project, Dave said. This very successful statewide fundraising program came as a direct result of three board members who owned, or had ties to, restaurants, retail operations, and breweries.
The MO Better Beer Project (TM) is a cause marketing program that brings Missouri breweries, restaurants, pubs, and retailers together to support MO Better Foundation’s mission. Participating brewers agree to make their great beer “more better” by donating a percentage of the sales to MO Better Foundation.
Dave notes that there are no upfront costs to participate in the MO Better Beer Project. Breweries can choose any time of the year and either create or designate a signature beer. Each participant agrees to donate funds (generally $1 to $3 per beer sold) to MO Better Foundation for every pint or can throughout the period. Those interested can get more information at www.mobetter.org/blank