News & Events

Help us STOCK THE CLOSET November 9-20!

Every year, Bright Futures Joplin meets the needs of hundreds of Joplin children whose families need a little help to keep their kids focused on school. With the winter months upon us, we could use your help to keep our kids warm. When you are cleaning out your closets or out doing your routine shopping, please consider donating any of the following items in male/female, all sizes from 5T and up.

New or gently used:StockTheCloset-Logo

New items:

Drop off all donations at your school lobby in the blue Bright Futures Barrel November 9th through the 20th, 2015!

Bright Futures Joplin On the Move

This year has been a different one for Bright Futures Joplin. With new district leadership and a focus on continuous improvement, BF Joplin has been working hard to step back and evaluate everything that we do – the what and the why – to ensure that we are doing the BEST things with our time and resources.

As a part of that process, the Bright Futures Joplin Advisory Board has been looking at ways to ensure the long-term sustainability of this important work. Through many conversations with community stakeholders, it has been made evident that there is a lack of clarity in Joplin about the separation of Bright Futures Joplin funds from other dollars collected through tax revenues and other state and federal funding sources to the district. Nearly a year ago, the conversation began to look at the possibility of separating BF Joplin funds from Joplin Schools to create a more clear distinction.

At the Joplin Schools Board of Education meeting held in October, the Bright Futures Joplin Advisory board submitted a request to have the Bright Futures Joplin designated funds moved out of the district and into the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. You can view the request submitted by the BFJ Advisory Board Chairman here.

At that same BOE meeting, Joplin Schools CFO Paul Barr presented on the current financial position of Bright Futures Joplin and how the funds have been managed over the past five years.

See the presentation in full here:

Mr. Barr made a couple of important points in his presentation:

1.  BF Joplin funds have always been kept separate from taxpayer revenues in a designated activity account.

2.  These funds are managed by the Joplin Schools finance department and are subject to all Joplin Schools’ policies and procedures including personnel, financial, purchasing, etc. and audits.

So why the possible changes? There are two important reasons the Advisory Board made this request to move the funds:

1. Increased clarity and transparency – while the BF activity account is open to the public via the Sunshine Law, there is not regular reporting out to the community of the nature of our work with a breakdown of income/expenses (as most non-profits typically report).  Moving funds to the Foundation will allow us to report this information on an annual basis through the traditional 990 report. Having BF funds moved to the foundation will also create a distinct separation from BF dollars and taxpayer revenues, which will give donors greater levels of confidence.

2. Investment opportunities – To reach the level of financial security that would create long-term sustainability, we must be able to move funds to a location where they can be invested and earn a return.  We would like to be able to accept endowments and other investment gifts (stocks, annuities, etc.) that would create a strong base of long-term financial viability for many years to come. Moving to the foundation gives us that opportunity.

So, what’s next?

The District lawyer, Mr. Norman Rouse, is investigating state statutes and looking at possible options in partnership with the district’s auditing accountant, Mr. Chris Churchwell. There is a committee that has been formed to work through the development of a Memorandum of Understanding that would help clarify roles and responsibilities between Joplin Schools and the Bright Futures Joplin Advisory Board and staff, as well as the direction of the monies. These teams will be bringing back recommendations to the Board of Education, hopefully by the November meeting.

We are incredibly appreciative of the amazing five years of support we’ve experienced in Joplin and look forward to many more years of successful partnership for the benefit of our kids!

Serving together,

Melissa Winston, MSMFT, PLMFT

Bright Futures Joplin Coordinator

Christmas for Kids Cards on Sale Now

BF-J_ChristmasCard_DigitalAds2015-02Every year throughout our community, there are kids (little kids and big kids) who will go without at Christmas. Thankfully, we live in a generous community that is committed to taking care of its children. There are a number of amazing groups of people that help bless these children with gifts and meals for the holidays, but the reality is that there are always gaps…kids who fall through the cracks and are not served by other agencies and efforts.

Bright Futures Joplin works together with our teachers, counselors, and principals to fill those gaps. Once a child has been identified as being in need, we work to connect those kids with area agencies that can serve them. We also invite the Bright Futures partners at each school to participate in sponsoring the kids from their building. If we find that there are kids who are not covered in any of these ways, Bright Futures Joplin will jump in.

And that’s where YOU come in! Our Christmas for Kids cards are designed by our Joplin Schools’ students, and they are a great way for your family, business, or group to participate in taking care of Joplin kids this Christmas. You can order custom cards or standard cards, and 100% of the proceeds go to take care of kids this Christmas. We hope you’ll join us in taking care of kids this Christmas!

Click here to purchase your cards online now or click here to download an order form and mail/fax it in. The deadline to order is October 16th, so don’t miss out!

Bright Futures Joplin Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

Design LogoRead the Globe story here!

Watch the KOAM story here!

Bright Futures Partner Gathering 2015

Triple Crown Race – Joplin Leg 5K & 15K Results

BF-J_TripleCrownAds_FBadSpecial thanks to all those that participated in our Triple Crown Race 5K/15K!  We are excited to share the results of the Race with you here.

Click here to like our Facebook page and view pictures from the event.

Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to our sponsors and volunteers who made it possible!

Sponsors for the Joplin Race were:

BF Joplin & BFUSA Team Up – Triple Crown Race Series

BrighScreen Shot 2014-07-15 at 9.16.38 AMt Futures Joplin is excited to be teaming up with Bright Futures USA on the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown Race Series.  Saturday, July 26th we’ll be hosting a 5K & 15K event together at the MSSU Cross Country Course.  We’re excited to be partnering together for BF Joplin’s first race ever, and we’re hoping for a great turnout.  Click here to join us or call the office at (417) 625-5200, ext. 2229!

Jefferson Elementary wins the Subway Fitness Challenge!

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 1.16.15 PMTwo Jefferson Elementary students are going home this summer with $250 Subway gift cards. They were two of several students who participated in the “Fresh Start Challenge” March 3rd through April 12th. This six week program helps students adopt healthy habits by tracking their intake of good foods and fitness activity. Principal Jarrett Cook says this was a good challenge for students.
“This was something they could actually track. You know, talking about it is one thing, but actually being conscious of what you’re eating and tracking that on a daily basis really makes it come to reality,” said Jarrett Cook, Jefferson Elementary Principal.Jefferson Elementary also gets a $1,000 fitness grant. The funds can be used to purchase physical activity equipment for the school.  Way to go, Eagles!  Check it out here!

West Central students honored in reading achievement

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 1.01.10 PM


Some adorable West Central Elementary kiddos, along with their principal Mr. Ingle, smile for the camera after a special event honoring them for their achievements in the area of Reading. In order to encourage reading among the West Central kids, local Kiwanis members teamed up with our friends at the Joplin Home Depot store to build hand-made bookshelves to award to each of these awesome kids with their very own book shelf and a case of age appropriate books. How cool is that!? Joplin – thanks for loving our kids! We couldn’t do this without you!

Check it out and click here!

Stapleton Elementary students travel to Moore, OK with donations

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 10.39.42 AMAt the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, the Stapleton Elementary S.O.A.R. (Serving Others As Role Models) Team came up with the idea to help a school in Moore, OK called Plaza Towers Elementary. They took a day to think about what they wanted to do for them and with the help of leaders, Wes Brownfield and Amanda Sharp,  they came up with the idea to have a book drive. They collected books for several months, but then wanted to do something more.

They soon found out that what Plaza Towers needed was money. So two students from their group went home and made pigs out of milk cartons. This inspired them to name the fundraiser Feed The Pig. The members of the S.O.A.R. Team made videos talking about how when they themselves had their devastating tornado and Moore helped them so now they wanted to pay it forward. At their school, they collected loose change and dollar bills. They also told their Bright Futures Partners about their fundraisers and they all were eager to help.

In February, they were able to go to the news station and be on television. They were on two shows where four kids from their group were interviewed about Feed The Pig.  They were also featured in the newspaper. They raised about 1,500 dollars, but wanted to donate 2,500 dollars. Not only did they want to donate money, but they wanted something personal that they could give to the students so kids also made pictures or wrote letters to give to the children of Moore.

On April 4th they went to Moore, Oklahoma to personally give the school the money and books they collected.  They also interacted with some of the kids and even toured their new school. The students were very excited to have the amazing opportunity to actually be able to go down and talk to everyone and give them what they had been working on for so long.  They were very glad that they chose to help Moore and couldn’t wait to give back to them.  We are so very proud of you, Eagles!  Click here to watch their story on the Today Show!