About Bright Holidays

Volunteers help pack gifts for students

Bright Holidays, a recognized public charity, helps underprivileged students and families in the greater Jacksonville, FL area during the holiday season, which, for many, is often a difficult time of year. Bright Holidays raises funds locally and works with school principals in the community to identify those in need of clothing, food, school supplies and other necessities. Unlike other charities and foundations, Bright Holidays operates on a seasonal basis, relies solely on volunteer efforts and operates with no fixed expenses.

Bright Holidays, founded in 2003, became a public charity in 2006 upon recognition as a 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Sylvia Johnson, principal of Eugene J. Butler Middle School and former principal of West Jacksonville Elementary School inspired the concept and John Forrester, a local business executive, founded the organization. Inaugural efforts, before the establishment of any organization or certification by the IRS, raised approximately $15,000 which benefited nearly 200 elementary school students and their families. Since becoming a 501(c)(3) organization, Bright Holidays has grown by 500%, reaching well over 800 students and their families in 2012.

Today, Bright Holidays has a functioning Board of Directors comprised of local business leaders and educators. In addition, Bright Holidays has recruited volunteer workers and enjoys relationships with local professional firms to provide pro bono accounting, communications, legal and technology services. As a result of its volunteer Board and these relationships, Bright Holidays requires no operating capital and can use 100% of monies raised to help those in need of assistance.

Bright Holidays provides donors with a summary report of donations and expenditures at the conclusion of the holiday season.

Bright Holidays for Local Families

First Coast News anchor Deanna Fene talks about how Bright Holidays is helping families in Jacksonville. View video or read Bright Holidays article on FirstCoastNews.com.

Other Press on Bright Holidays

Bright Holidays Helps Children in Need on First Coast News.
Group works to make holidays bright for kids in need on Jacksonville.com.
Ponte Vedra Man Helps Kids in Need

Participating Schools

Elementary Schools

  • A. Phillip Randolph Elementary
  • Arlington Elementary
  • Arlington Heights Elementary
  • Bayview Elementary
  • Biltmore Elementary
  • Biscayne Elementary
  • Brentwood Elementary
  • Carter G. Woodson Elementary
  • Cedar Hills Elementary
  • Chet's Creek Elementary
  • Englewood Elementary
  • George Washington Carver Elementary
  • Greenwood School
  • Highlands Elementary
  • Hyde Grove Elementary
  • Jacksonville Heights Elementary
  • John Love Elementary
  • Kings Trail Elementary
  • Lake Forest Elementary
  • Love Grove Elementary
  • Mandarin Oaks Elementary
  • Mattie V . Rutherford Alternative
  • Neptune Beach Elementary
  • North Shore Elementary
  • Oak Hill Elementary
  • Ortega Elementary
  • Pickett Elementary
  • Pine Estates Elementary
  • Pinedale Elementary
  • Ramona Elementary
  • R.L. Brown Elementary
  • Rufus E. Payne Elementary
  • Rutledge Pearson Elementary
  • S. P. Livingston Elementary
  • St. Clair Evans Elementary
  • Sallye B. Mathis Elementary
  • San Jose Elementary
  • Southside Estates Elementary
  • Spring Park Elementary
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary
  • Timucuan Elementary
  • Upson Elementary
  • Venetia Elementary
  • West Jacksonville Elementary
  • West Riverside Elementary
  • Windy Hill Elementary

Middle Schools

  • Alred Dupont Middle
  • Eugene Butler Middle
  • Mandarin Middle
  • Matthew Gilbert Middle
  • Mattie V. Rutherford Middle
  • Northwestern Middle
  • Southside Middle
  • J. E. B. Stuart Middle

High Schools

  • Clay County High
  • Douglas Anderson
  • Edward White High
  • Jean Ribault High
  • Raines High

Special Education

  • Early Steps for infants and toddlers with special growth and developmental needs
  • North Florida School for mildly to moderately disabled children
  • Normandy Head Start

The Board of Directors anticipates that this list of schools will change over time based on the success of fund-raising efforts and the identification of those in need.