Jennifer Truesdale

I have been the Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications, Heart of Missouri United Way for 6 months. I am 34 and have lived in Boone County for 10 years.

I think Columbia is a fun, safe place to live and boasts a generous, warm community of people. People here are so friendly, and the cost of living is relatively low compared to other parts of the country. Art and culture, entertainment, recreation, entrepreneurship, access to education and healthcare and a healthy sense of philanthropy make this a great place to raise kids, start a career or retire.

One thing I tell people about our community is I love how you can get just about anywhere you need to go in town on a bike. The trail system in Columbia is incredible, and Mid-Missouri in general has so many awesome parks. What a luxury!                                                                   

Lots of events in Columbia center around barbecue, which is one of its best-kept secrets. However, it’s actually very easy to be a vegetarian in this town. I’ve been a vegetarian for nine years, and it’s rare that I can’t find something tasty and healthy to eat no matter where I dine.

I think Columbia is a giving community for two reasons. One, I think people in Columbia want to live someplace where the opportunity to thrive is available to all, and they pitch in to make that happen. Two, Columbia has an impressive number of really innovative and effective nonprofit organizations. Real change is happening here because of the generosity of people and the smart collaboration of resources.

I choose to call Columbia home. It’s a small city with a big city feel, except without the traffic, crime or uncaring attitude. There is always something to do, always a way to volunteer, always a way to feel involved.