ABOUT MO BETTER FOUNDATION
A MO Better Vision: To make life a more happy, more fun and overall, more better for individuals in Missouri living with physical disabilities.
A MO Better Mission: Funded by corporate and individual donations, MO Better Foundation (aka MO Better) was established to help enhance the quality of life of Missourians with physical disabilities by providing funds to aid in purchasing items to assist in daily living. We provide help when no other funding source is available, or when other funding sources are not adequate to cover the costs of the assistive technology/equipment, mobility aides, access modifications and other needs.
MO Better primarily assists the following:
Missouri children and adults with permanent physical disabilities
A MO BETTER Leadership Team:
MO Better is governed by a three-member volunteer Board of Directors (see below) and administered by a professional staff of one. David Welborn, MO Better Founder, serves as Executive Director and oversees day-to-day operations including compliance; mission fulfillment; marketing/public relations and event planning. An volunteer Advisory Council, a team of regional and state experts from many different fields, provides insight to help guide the organization fulfill its mission.
Board of Directors and Officers
President: Andrew J. Tessmer, entrepreneur and co-owner of Beer Sauce Shops, a craft beer and sauce shops in Missouri
Treasurer: Kyle Dent, a philanthropist, restaurateur and owner of Shamrocks Bar and Grill in St Peters, MO
Secretary: Cecilia Barbaglia, RT(R)(M) MRI Technologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis County, MO, a long-time community volunteer and sister/caregiver of an individual who passed away from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Dave Welborn, Founder & Executive Director. Welborn is an accomplished executive leader with more than 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management and has lead organizations including the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), KEEN St. Louis, Unlimited Play and other NPOs local and regional organizations. Through his volunteer work, he has a personal relationship with many of the individuals each of these organizations serves.
The MO Better Foundation Advisory Council is a team of regional and state experts – all volunteers – who lend their name and shared expertise to help MO Better carry out our important mission. Members include Physical Therapists; Occupational Therapists; Child Life and Recreational Therapists; Independent Living Advocates; Special Education Teachers and Aides; Social Workers; Orthoptists and Prosthetists; Financial Advisors; Individuals living with physical and disabilities (young and old) and their parents and caregivers; and community and business leaders.
Chair: Aimee Wehmeier, President and CEO. Paraquad
MO BETTER Inspiration
What started as a volunteer opportunity at a week-long summer camp for kids with muscle disease grew into a life-changing adventure of living and learning for MO Better Foundation’s founder, Dave Welborn. Like many, Welborn, then 18, had little no experience assisting individuals with physical disabilities but he was willing to learn. What he learned was that, while they had physical limitations, they were just like any other kids.
At the end of the week, it was the custom for counselors and campers to site around the campfire and sign each other’s year book. Welborn was asked by one of the kids in his cabin, Benji, 8, to sign his book and vice versa. Benji was having a hard time figuring out what to write. Welborn told him to just say something about what he was going to do the rest of the summer. Benji wrote two words, “Have Fun.” In turn, Welborn added to Benji’s yearbook, “Be Happy!”
Welborn remained in contact with Benji and many other of the kids/young adults he met along the way as a volunteer at the camp for nearly 30 more years. Sadly, Benji passed away in 2005 at the age of 33. However, the four words he wrote in Welborn’s summer camp year book – Have Fun. Be Happy! -- became Welborn’s mantra and guided him throughout his life and career including the founding of the MO Better Foundation dedicated to Benji and all of his friends living with muscle-wasting diseases and other disabilities