JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Three charitable organizations have come together to organize a “historic” event set for this winter that aims to raise awareness for the shared goals of preserving the state’s history and brightening its future.
The Missouri State Capitol Commission (MSCC), Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) and Missouri Association for Community Action (MACA) have partnered to benefit from the winter masquerade ball, set for December 12.
Attendees of the Caring for Missouri – Capitol Masquerade Ball will get to experience a different side of the building when they are greeted by music from pianist Mike Michelson on their entry into the rotunda. The Norm Ruebling Band will follow up with live music during a time of dancing, while a silent auction will be running throughout the evening. A live auction of special items will highlight the night at 9 p.m. and the traditional unmasking will close the event at 10:30 p.m. All proceeds to the charity will be divided equally among the three non-profit organizations.
“The commission had considered to have a masquerade ball for a charity event going back about ten years,” said the chair of MSCC, Dana Miller. “The plans were tabled because we didn’t have the resources; the commission isn’t staffed and is basically a bunch of volunteers who serve on the commission and [receive] help from various agencies.”
Having chaired the commission since 2013, Miller decided to follow up on the successful wine-tasting event from last year with a partnership with two other non-profits. Miller also serves as the assistant chief clerk and director of procedures for the state house.
“The other two charities have state-wide outreach, so they can help staff and coordinate [the event]. We can draw in folks that I, in my role in the commission, would not normally have access to.”
Together, the three organizations provide education and assistance to more than 140 organizations across Missouri. Miller hopes the ball will top the approximate net profit of $40,000 gained from last year’s wine-tasting event.
“[The wine-tasting event] was good seed money and we’ve been able to have a conservator come in to make assessments of about two-thirds of the art. So this will hopefully be the event, in the absence of appropriation, to raise funds to bring the conservators back and start the restoration process on those pieces [of art] that they have already been assessed.”
There are activities outside of main area of the rotunda that will be exciting to catch.
“I have been working with the senate administrator on logistics for the senate side, so that we can [display] spaces like the newly remodeled mezzanine space in the senate chamber. We want to have tours to give people a taste of the art and the architecture that folks would normally not see if they were here on a day-to-day [business]. Speaker Todd Richardson has agreed to serve as an honorary co-host for the event and we’re reaching out to all of our leaders on the legislative and state-wide offices for support on this event. He has agreed to let us open the chamber up and do some special things with some of the space in the house. We may use the house lounge to take some photos,” continued Miller.
Emily Truscott is the Communications Director of MCADSV and she is optimistic towards the fight against domestic and sexual violence.
“Looking at the issue of domestic violence, we are at the point where we do have laws that [categorizes domestic violence] as a crime,” said Truscott. “There is a growing recognition that [such abuse] is unacceptable [in the perspective of] a community. I think we are heading in a positive direction as a [community] and we have a greater understanding and ability to talk about and acknowledge that violence behind doors is happening. The event is focused on Jefferson City as the location, but this event highlights the fact that we have members from all around the state. The people who donate and support this event can know that they are making a state-wide impact. So, that’s pretty exciting.”
As the executive director for MACA, Heather Lockard is anticipating the event as an opportunity to increase awareness as well as raise critical funds to help build the capacity and training of the group’s 19 Community Action agencies that aim to give the biggest impact possible at the local levels.
“MACA works with our board of directors and our association of staff [to progress in] our mission to build the capacity of the Community Action network as well as advocate for policies and program developments that help low-income families,” said Lockard. “One of [the main] obstacles we face is the awareness of the challenges and barriers that low-income families face every day. We work to educate individuals on those barriers as well as to engage them in becoming the solution to poverty.”
When asked about a part of poverty that has seen some promise of improvement, Lockard specified education.
“Specifically around high school graduation rates, we have, as a state, an above average high school graduation rate. However, we know it is important to continue to invest in high-quality education programs to ensure that we are getting people the skills and education needed to move out of poverty. [Any person] can connect with their local Community Action agency and volunteer. They can donate their time, talent and resources.”
To reserve a ticket with the early bird discounted rate, visit caring4missouri.org before the November 12 deadline. A Facebook event has been created for additional information.