Fostering life-changing opportunities for those facing economic and educational barriers
We put youth and families at the center of all our work and care. Flourish provides a safe and healthy home environment, supportive relationships and development opportunities. Our hope is to support all aspects of well-being so individuals can move from surviving to thriving.
The Flourish Initiative was born out of the dedicated efforts of Veterans United employees and funding from Veterans United Foundation. As a separate 501c3 entity, our goal is to weave resources and relationships together so that all youth flourish.
In 2019, a team of 20 employees from Veterans United Home Loans spent time listening, learning and exploring ways to impact our local community for years to come. Over 100 in-depth interviews were conducted with leaders from all over Columbia.
We learned that educational opportunities can be a driving force of creating sustainable change for youth and breaking the cycle of economic inequality. Although we know change doesn’t happen overnight, we are committed to being a part of the long game of working together to enhance lives in our community.
What is Flourish?
Flourish is an independent nonprofit organization serving youth encountering educational and economic barriers. It was initially founded by employees of Veterans United Home Loans and their values and commitment to enhance lives, and sponsored by the Veterans United Foundation.
Flourish focuses on providing resources to individuals in Boone County, MO. We’ve provided housing, scholarships, and other resources for hundreds of youth since our beginning in 2019. Our purpose is to interrupt cycles of poverty and support youth however we can as they work toward a better future.
- Mark Kirchhoff, Director of Housing & Basic Needs
- Jessica Macy, Director of Community Programs & Coordinated Entry
- Mel Constantine Miseo, Program Coordinator
- Megan Orscheln, Program Coordinator
- Linnea Kelly, Youth Specialist
- Ember Shanks, Youth Specialist
- Sterling Waldman, Youth Specialist
- Loreli Wilson, Director of People Services, Veterans United – Board President
- Jewell Simms, IT Manager, Veterans United – Board Secretary
- Rae Cooper, Social Impact Program Manager, Veterans United – Board Treasurer
- Tierre Banks, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Veterans United
- Lindsey Bitner, Culture Specialist, Veterans United
- David Leon, IT Team Lead, Veterans United
- Sandy Overacre, Director of Customer Services, Veterans United
- Carl Thomas, Loan Officer Team Lead, Veterans United
- Dr. Eryca Neville, Principal at Douglass High School, Columbia Public Schools
- Claire Slama, Student Support Specialist, Columbia Public Schools
”The Flourish Initiative is rooted in the sense of community and care that exists at Veterans United. I’m so excited to work together. That's what our children need.Dr. Eryca NevillePrincipal, Douglass High School