Bringing Joy to Children in Need
Bright Holidays, a recognized public charity, helps underprivileged students and families in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area during the holiday season. Bright Holidays raises funds locally and works with school principals in the community to identify children in need of clothing and food. Bright Holidays operates on a seasonal basis, relies solely on volunteer efforts, and operates with no fixed expenses.
Every child we serve receives new shoes & socks, pants & underwear, shirt & jacket, plus a sleeping bag, book, and toy. The family also receives grocery gift cards with $50 to $150 value (depending on family size).
2021 Holiday Season Results
Bright Holidays served 1,053 children with holiday gifts, through our partnership with 45 schools. Approximately 10,000 gift items (all new) were either donated, or purchased using cash from generous donors.
Founded in 2003
Bright Holidays, founded in 2003, became a public charity in 2005 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.
John established our Board of Directors, led our fundraising efforts, and continually expanded Bright Holidays' outreach until transitioning to our current leadership in 2015.
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 enormously, reaching over 1000 students and their families in recent years.
Today, Bright Holidays' Board of Directors is 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 last year used 97% of funds directly on gifts.