YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY

Springfield, MO

2017 Most Influential Women: Jill Bright

Diaper Bank of the Ozarks

Posted online

Jill Bright’s resume is nothing but a lengthy list of accomplishments.

In 1974, Bright graduated as a registered nurse through the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. Later, she earned the same designation in the United States, and took on various roles in nursing administration and education. Then in 1999, Bright took on a nurse and office manager position for Dr. James D. Bright’s solo psychiatry practice.

The list goes on: Bright was once awarded the city of Springfield’s Gift of Time Award in 2014 and the Council of Churches of the Ozarks’ Dorsey Levell Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

But one of Bright’s fondest achievements is founding and directing the Diaper Bank of the Ozarks after hearing about the issue during the Newborns in Need Annual Conference.

“I became aware of an unmet need and set out to conquer the problem,” Bright says. “My eyes were opened.”

According to the organization’s website, the Diaper Bank has helped more than 25,000 babies over the last five years, distributing more than 1 million disposable diapers and 200 cloth diaper starter kits.

“Living in Springfield, Missouri, where poverty levels have grown steadily over the past decade, so many families are struggling to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their head,” Bright says. “To add the $60-$80 monthly cost of diapers to that situation was a setup for failure.”

Bright says many government programs do not assist with the purchase of diapers. Instead, these programs provide items of clothing or food.

“My passion is to ensure all babies in our community have these needs met,” Bright says. “They do not have a voice to speak out, but I do and I will.”

Bright was considering retirement when her love for sewing and children led her to Newborns in Need in 2002.

“As a board member, I went out into the community sharing the mission, recruiting volunteers and creating relationships with donors,” Bright says. “As a seamstress, I was a dedicated volunteer at the facility, leading groups, teaching teens to sew and providing an example to be followed.”

By 2012, she learned of a growing need for diapers among those living with low incomes.

“I knew immediately that my mission was changing,” she says.

Soon after, Bright’s diaper bank was born – and she said the dream continues to grow. The organization is currently following the collaborative collective impact model, Bright says, with plans to open a baby hub in the next two years.

Bright recently witnessed the importance of having as many resources as possible, for pregnant moms and parents of babies, under one roof. Transportation can be limited, Bright says, and many agencies and resources can be scattered across town.

“Our center will not only house the diaper bank, but will also provide office space, classrooms and conference rooms for collaboration between agencies, as well as educational opportunities and resources for parents in one location,” she says.

Comments

No comments on this story |
Please log in or register to add your comment
Editors' Pick

Business Spotlight: ’Tis the Season

Christmas Trees are in, but Wheeler Gardens observes a year-round shift toward millennials.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
MOST-WATCHED VIDEOS
Networking? Always Follow Up.

“I think networking has been key too the core success I’ve had,” says Bruce Nasby, President of Global Advisory Associates. Nasby recommends sending an email specifically detailing who you are, …

Booked - Passion and Perseverance “Being in higher education, we kind of devour books,” says Carol Taylor, President of Evangel University. She recommends Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” …
Learn Something about Everything “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something,” says Larissa Warren, an associate with Husch Blackwell and one of Springfield Business Journal’s Trusted Advisers for …
"It wasn't too serious to me..." “It wasn’t a job to me at first. I was just enjoying my time,” says Carolyn Billingsley, Producer and Founder of Carolyn Billingsley Productions. Billingsley started her production company at …
Artful Return on Investment “The arts aren’t just for some people and not for others, they belong to everybody.” says Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Chu says the arts contribute three-quarters …