Monday, September 21, 2015
Official: The sole purpose of Bright Futures USA is to grow and raise money
That was the message BFUSA board member Mark Quinn brought to KZRG Morning News Watch listeners today in a hastily arranged interview to respond to my call on Friday's program for Joplin to sever ties with Bright Futures.
Other places have programs designed to meet children's needs, Quinn said, but the Bright Futures "triangle" structure of educators, business people, and the faith-based community is "unique."
During the 15-minute conversation, Quinn also said the following:
-For Bright Futures USA to grow, "you have to have the money. You have to grow. You have to be able to tell the story."
-"All of the money that is raised for Bright Futures USA is spent for that. It's not taking any money out of the community. I say, as one of the board members, 'How awesome is that?' "
-(About those who have issues with the hiring of former Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff as a consultant). I would question the people who have that issue. You have to have money to grow the organization. Is the issue that you don't understand the need to raise money? Is the issue that they don't understand you need to grow or is it a personal issue with C. J.? What I can tell you is C. J. has a huge heart for this organization. There is no one anywhere who understands it like he did. He was the creator of it to begin with."
Quinn continued to praise Huff, saying the organization would be using his "fantastic relationships with educators, with businesses, and with state-level educators. Who better to go out and tell that story?"
Even leaving out any personal issues with C. J., Quinn said, the man is a "great grant writer. He's the best guy to help us grow. He can do in six months what it would take us six years to do on our own."
Quinn said he understood people's resentment of the buyout deal Huff received from the R-8 District, but people need to put that aside. "Should we expect a guy like that to do what he is doing for free? He has committed a lot of time to working for the organization.
"He's got to look out for his family like we all do and for what he's doing for us, we're getting a great deal on his time. I promise you we're not paying him what other people could pay him."
Quinn criticized negativity about Bright Futures and aimed what appeared to be a shot at the Turner Report, asking how there could be "negativity about an organization that's really helping children get things that that they need. I would question that first of all. They're not in search of truth; they're out to destroy things."
Quinn also noted that Bright Futures USA helps provide structure to communities, shows them how to navigate the tricky minefield of social media, and "we teach them how to fund raise."
He also took a different approach in his comments about Webb City, which was the first school district to pull out of Bright Futures. Last week, Quinn commented that Webb City's Bright Futures had been "hijacked," presumably by Superintendent Tony Rossetti, who resigned from the BFUSA Board of Directors, following the hiring of C. J. Huff.
Quinn said Webb City was doing "a fantastic job. They're going to do it right. I support that."