In April 2007, a group of faith and community leaders met to hear Vinny DeMarco of the Maryland Health Care for All Coalition. Vinny described how a small group of concerned citizens grew a powerful statewide coalition by agreeing to certain principles. Following this successful model, Missouri drafted principles and began organizing a broad array of groups and individuals to call for a long term plan that will provide health care for all in Missouri.
The movement has grown to include individuals and organizations all across the state: in Southeast Missouri, Mid-Missouri, Northeast Missouri, South Central Missouri, Southwest Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City.
We believe deeply in a grassroots model of engaging community members, leaders and people of faith in health policy work. We work to elevate the voices of the thousands of Missourians who want to see access to health care for all of their neighbors. Our vision from the beginning has been to build a base that is big enough, strong enough, and diverse enough to ensure that these voices will be taken into account when public leaders make health policy decisions.
Our movement has grown in exciting ways over the past few years. In 2011, we hired our first part-time staff person and began our first Strategic Planning Process, which culminated with the adoption of our 2012-2015 Strategic Plan. In 2013, our staff grew to 1.5 staff, and in 2014 we expanded to 4 full-time staff. In 2016, we are embarking on our new, more expansive 2016-2018 Strategic Plan and have grown to a team of 6 full-time staff plus our St. Louis Organizing Fellow.
As we have grown, our programming and leadership has grown in scope and sophistication, and we are now recognized statewide as a leader in grassroots health care work. Missouri Health Care for All is currently the only grassroots statewide organization whose sole mission is access to health care. We partner with multi-issue statewide organizations and health-focused local organizations to harness the power of the grassroots working together.