Missouri Business Alert and Children's Grove are thrilled to announce the honorees of the inaugural Kindness in Business Awards. This year was marked by outstanding nominations and heartwarming stories of kindness in all categories. Among the honorees are several local restaurants; nonprofits focused on children, refugees and behavioral health services; a dance studio; a homelessness resource center; a local content marketing agency and a job site solution service for contractors.

 

Below you can read all of the stories of kindness of this year's honorees.

On behalf of the Kindness in Business Awards committee, congratulations to all honorees and nominees!

Meet this year's honorees:

Meet this year's honorees:

Kindness to Youth

Kindness to Youth

Boys & Girls Clubs

By Emmy Lucas

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia have always found ways to give opportunities to youth in the community, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created even greater needs of support for families and Columbia children. The nonprofit has stepped up in various ways to help the community’s youth.

Broadway Diner

By Skyler Rossi

When the pandemic hit in March, Broadway Diner owner David Johnson was worried about how kids who depend on school breakfast and lunches would get something to eat.

He had extra products that he didn’t want to go to waste, so he offered to feed any kid who could get to his diner on 4th Street in downtown Columbia. Most days, he gives 30 free meals to kids. He calls this the KIND program, which stands for Kids In Need Diner.

Grade A Plus

By Emmy Lucas

Local Columbia students in Grade A Plus, a free after-school mentoring and tutoring program, traveled to and toured countries like France, Italy and some to their hometowns in Korea this summer-- virtually via Google Earth, of course. Dr. Janice Dawson-Threat, a former MU professor, founded Grade A Plus in 2000 to provide free academic support and enrichment programs to Columbia youth ages 8-19.

Jabberwocky Studios

By Skyler Rossi

The mission of Jabberwocky Studios is to create urban and ethnic arts and spread inclusion. When COVID-19 hit, the nonprofit adjusted to continue to bring dance, art, poetry and its other services to the Columbia community. The organization moved dance classes outside and many of its academic classes to virtual meetings. More recently, the nonprofit saw a need for tutoring and stepped up to provide the services.

Kindness to Employees

Kindness to Employees

Burrell Behavioral

Health

By Emmy Lucas

Long before the coronavirus, hope and healing were common themes at Burrell Behavioral Health. But as the pandemic ensued, the company extended its helping hand even further to not only its clients but also to its employees across Missouri and Arkansas. Burrell Behavioral Health is a Columbia-based community mental health center that provides care to children, adolescents, adults and families.

Columbia Housing

Authority

By Kelly Kullman

For Andrea Talia, success at the Columbia Housing Authority is measured by the triumphs that are achieved by both her organization’s beneficiaries and its employees. Apart from offering housing assistance to those in need, the Columbia Housing Authority, or CHA, offers services geared toward helping residents meet personal goals, from completing a college degree to raising a credit score.

Donut D-light

By Emmy Lucas

For Donut D-light owner Cindy Hicks, the success of her business is measured by the smiles put on people’s faces. Hicks and her husband first opened shop in 2007 after looking for a new business venture. Today, Donut D-light has expanded to two locations in Columbia with a mission to provide not only a tasty breakfast but support to its employees and those in need.

Influence & Co.

By Emmy Lucas

For Kelsey Raymond, CEO and founder of Influence & Co., the responsibility to be kind, especially to employees, has proven more important than ever amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in 2011, the content marketing company, which has worked with clients like Microsoft, American Airlines and Dell, has expanded from just three employees to now over 50.

Kindness to the Community

Kindness to the Community

City of Refuge

The people who walk through the doors of the City of Refuge are family, its executive director Garrett Pearson said. The nonprofit strives to give refugees and immigrants seeking support a place they feel at home. When the pandemic hit and isolation became the norm, connecting became more difficult. Instead of backing down, Pearson and his coworkers adjusted to ensure the people who turn to the City of Refuge still feel part of its close-knit community.

By Skyler Rossi

Dive Bar owner Karen Geotz strives to greet each customer with a welcoming hello and wave. Before the pandemic, it would have been a hug, she said. The bar and restaurant, located on Columbia’s Business Loop, regularly gives away food to essential workers at restaurants and other businesses, Geotz said. Dive Bar makes sure customers feel safe and happy, she said.

By Skyler Rossi

Dive Bar

EquipmentShare

By Skyler Rossi

EquipmentShare chef Craig Hindelang and coworker Matt Bade noticed that many kids didn’t have lunch when the pandemic shut down in-person classes. So they decided to do something about it. They approached EquipmentShare’s leadership about gathering funds to create meals for kids in the community. The company supported the initiative, and Hindelang and Bade got to work.

Turning Point

By Skyler Rossi

When COMO Turning Point managing director Darren Morton noticed many places the organization partners with were closing their doors at the onset of the pandemic, he knew that he and his team had to find a way to stay open. Because if they didn’t, the essential services Turning Point provides the homeless community would stop with it.

Congratulations to all of the 2020 Kindness in Business nominees:

Access Arts (School of Service) • Asplundh Tree Expert Company • Beet Box • Bethany Christian Services - Safe Families of Mid Missouri • Bleu Events • Boone Electric Community Trust • Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbia • Broadway Diner • Burrell Behavioral Health • Cafe Berlin • Central Bank of Boone County's Prosper U program • Central Missouri Community Action • City of Columbia • City of Refuge • Columbia Chamber of Commerce • Columbia Foster and Adoption Project • Columbia Housing Authority • Columbia Parks & Recreation • Columbia Public Library (Daniel Boone Regional Library) • Community United Methodist Church • CPS Parents as Teachers • Diggit Graphics • Dive Bar • Donut D-Light • Dr. Elizabeth Allemann • EquipmentShare • Ernie's Cafe & Steakhouse • FACE of Boone County • Fiddle and Stone Bread Co. • Flourish Initiative • Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri • Fretboard Coffee • G&D Steakhouse • Grade A Plus • Harpo's • Heart of Missouri CASA • Hy-Vee (Nifong Blvd.) • Influence & Co. • Jabberwocky Dance Studio • KBIA • Kiwanis Club of Columbia • Lizzi & Rocco's • Love Coffee • Love INC • MayeCreate Design • Meals on Wheels of Columbia • Missouri Pacific Lumber MoPac • Monarch Title Company • Moon Yoga • MRCC/Patchwork Farms • Mutrux Sinclair Automotive • One to One Print Shop • Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company • Pasta La Fata • Pizza Tree • Radio Friends with Paul Pepper • Scooter's Coffee • Scott's Baked Goods • Senior Marketing Specialists • Shelter Insurance • Skylark Bookshop • Socket • Spay Neuter Project • Spillman Homes • St. Raymond's Society • Studio 311 • The Dancer's Pointe • The Fairway Suites • The Missouri Symphony • The Social Room • The Wardrobe • TIG Advisors • Tiger Family Chiropractic • True North of Columbia • Turning Point • UCP Heartland Child Development Center • Veterans United Foundation

The Kindness in Business Awards are presented through a collaboration between

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