In the beginning... September 2010. Still going strong. Thank you!

About Us


Our Mission

Mission: To reawaken the life-giving power of joy, through laughter and play.  


Our Vision

Vision:  "To uplift each other, our volunteers, donors, communities and our world through the experience of choosing joy.”   


Our Story, from Susan Dempsey, Founder

     The Giggle Box Project was conceived in 2009  by our founder and consulting director, Susan Dempsey and we are continually expanding it's reach in service to more. We have come a long way since it's inception. We purchased and painted "Giggles" the Giggle Bus in  September of 2010 and we've been rolling ever since. Hah! Watch the Movie! We've been taking part  in many community-wide events, sharing our mission and spreading joy and smiles. 

     Our first few years were primarily  devoted to research and development.There has been an incredible amount of time spent behind the scenes, developing policies and engaging a Board of Directors inspired by our mission, as well as researching toys, boxes, hospital policies, making connections and fulfilling state and  federal requirements for non-profits and of course, fundraising. 

    Are roots began with assistance from the Laughter Arts and Science Foundation  and the World Laughter Tour , with Susan's inspiration for the project coming from her required reading to become a Certified Laughter Leader through the World Laughter Tour. She found it incredible with all of the science determining the healing value of laughter and a positive outlook that these tools were not already "Standard Operating Procedure" for every patient!

      We became an agency partner of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in 2011, filed for our own tax-exempt status in April of 2013  and received their approval in 2014 with retroactive tax-exempt status to 2011. Yeah!!!

     In 2013 we delivered our first  Gigglebox and since have be able to continue to do so for the children at Mercy Children’s Hospital, Cox South and most recently OHC and Child Advocacy Center in Springfield, MO, our home. Our plans  include expanding the Giggleboxes we are able to donate throughout  Missouri and then on to our neighboring states regionally and eventually  nationally. We are also developing other programs  concurrently for seniors, other at risk populations and our community, hoping to empower All to choose connection, joy and fun over anger, resentment, worry and  sorrow. They are both contagious perspectives! 

     We are continually creating a cohesive team, eager to  develop new relationships all the time with like-minded individuals who understand the value of our mission and are inspired to jump on the Giggle Bus! We’d love to have your smiling face as part of our team. Bringing to joy others increases joy in your own life. It's a win/win! Please visit our 'Contact Us' page to get in touch. 

     Thanks for being you and keep Laughing! In Appreciation, Susan Dempsey

The Giggle Box Board

Debby Steinhoff - President


Hi, My name is Debby Steinhoff. I am a long time resident of the Springfield MO area and I absolutely love life in the Ozarks! My work background is everything from Inventory Control/Accounting to Direct Sales and Sales Management. My most current endeavor is Brand Partner with Nerium International, where I can pursue my passion of personal development and "Making People Better"! My true claim to fame however, are my 4 wonderful adult children and the blessings of my beautiful grandchildren. I have loved and supported the Gigglebox Project since it's start and I am now thrilled to be serving as board member. The mission of the project is a true inspiration for me. I am pleased to be allowed to bring my time and talents to this project and I Love the Fun and Laughter. To see the transformation of lives we touch through Joy is truly the contact we are all meant to experience as we journey through this life. Smiles and Laughter are the universal language of the world. It is my privilege to be a part of this project and help the expansion and growth throughout the community and the world, Lets Play!!  

Elissa K. Stewart- Newest Member


Elissa K. Stewart was born into funny. Her parents were funny, her grandparents, most of her great aunts and uncles, hilarious. Anecdotal accounts have reported her birth happening at speeds of under twenty-five minutes and during the Bicentennial (a particularly comical time in history when Gerald Ford was president); also The Year of the Dragon, making her a classic Gemini with Leo Rising. Her mercurial birth and moon in Virgo makes her a boon at meetings, adding to them unsurpassed wit, expansive vision, and economy of time and resources. Her professional experiences have included public relations, journalism, events planning, grant research, ghost-writing for healing evangelists, improvisational comedy with animals, operating a forklift and hosting her own radio show. She believes that Gigglebox has a “tickle-down” effect that could very possibly heal the world. “We give people giggles in a box and invite them to open it,” she says, “It is our endeavor to awaken the giggle that brings creative joy into every part of that person’s experience."

Steve Nunn- Secretary

I grew up in Springfield and received a BS in Engineering Physics from MSU. I decided I wanted to se


I grew up in Springfield and received a BS in  Engineering Physics from MSU. I decided I wanted to see other parts of  the country and went to graduate school in Las Cruces, NM where I  received an MS in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State  University. I then was hired by the largest Navy research and  development lab in the country in San Diego where I worked for over 30  years. After retiring, I missed the trees and people in Springfield and  decided to move back. 

After  returning, I co-founded the Ozarks Law of Attraction Discussion Group  with the goal of awakening the power of positive thinking and abundance  in the Ozarks region. At the same time I began building the Swan Creek  Labyrinth retreat and inspirational gathering place (website: ).

I am  excited to be a part of the Giggle Box project and participate in its  expansion that will bring laughter and joy to more people than ever  before.

The Giggle Box Board

This could be you!


Share your love and join our team.

We are expanding and planning on some national-sized belly laughs soon! 

Come join us on the way! You'll be glad you did!  

Giggle Bug Opportunity


Looking for our next Giggle Bug. Is it you????

 Please contact us, if spreading Joy sounds like fun and you'd like to add your talents to the mix! Looking forward to you joining us!   

Appreciation goes out to our Previous Board Members! LOVED!

Dottie Mullikin



Jan Massey



Jo Moon



Pamela Brenneman



Rose Utley


Nursing Student Engagement

Lynn Henninger



Susan Dempsey

Susan Dempsey


Katy Spangler

Katy Spangler  Secretary


Mike Bruns


Community Engagement

Diane Strunk



De DeArmon



Jessica Hart


Volunteers Coordinator


Kathleen Dowell




Progression of the Project



  • June 2009 - The conception of The Giggle Box Project to heal lives through laughter through an individual gigglebox donated to patients.
  • August 2009 - The creation of the gigglebox prototype
  • September 2009 - Creation of
  • October 2009 - Refined the mission statement and created initial brochure for gigglebox.



  • July 2010 - Purchased "Giggle Bus" 
  • September 2010 - Community painting of the "Giggle Bus."
  • September 2010 - Received our first monetary donation.
  • October 2010 - Attended five local events/parades to raise awareness.
  • October 2010 - Submission of grant application to Pepsi Refresh.




  • January 2011 - Continuing our search of other funding and exposure opportunities.
  • February 2011 - Redesign of 
  • March 2011 Regroup after Pepsi campaign
  • May 2011 Trips to Joplin Tornado Relief for the kids
  • August 2nd trip to Joplin
  • November 2011 - Refined the mission statement and developed the current box design



  • Receipt of $2500 Mercy Grant for New Giggle Box Design
  • First annual community wide event "Take Your Nose to Work Week"
  • Began Work on IRS 501c3 Status
  • Granted 2 educational Seminars by Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Go Lead and 



  • Receipt of Mercy Grant for the purchase of toys for inside Giggleboxes
  • Filed for IRS 501c3 non-profit status
  • Take Your Nose to Work Week continues
  • Receipt of CFO Grant for the purchase of a computer and software.
  • Delivery of our first Giggle Box to our dear friend Owen dealing with cancer on his 10th birthday!



  • Began Delivering Giggleboxes to kids at Mercy Hospital
  • Pay it Forward Birthday Party
  • March Retreat and SWOT Annylisis
  • Take Your Nose to Work Week Continues
  • Purchase of Toys
  • Day of Hope Event
  • Creation of Happy Healthy Me CD
  • UC Berkley Science of Happiness Class
  • Giggle Bus Stars in Video

Progression of the Project



  • Continuing participation in community-wide events, Easter Seals, Day of Hope, Give Ozarks
  • Take Your Nose to Work Week's final year
  • Received grant from Youth Empowerment Project
  • Began collaboration with Child Advocacy Center
  • Collaboration with Springfield Community Gardens for CFO grant
  • Began Secret Santa Event



  • Implemented the Giggle Tubs Project in both local hospitals NICU waiting rooms for the families of patients
  • Received Metropolitan Impact Grant with Springfield Community Gardens  from CFO
  • Creation of Conflict Resolution program using the "Four Agreements"
  • International Happiness Day Celebration with Hands for Happiness
  • First Giggle Bug Club  for 3rd-5th graders with Webster Elementary
  • Convoy of Hope's Day of Hope
  • Successful Audit Completed by Drury Accounting Majors.



  • Continued Giggle Tubs Program in NICU hospital waiting rooms
  • St Patrick's Day Parade as always
  • Participated in Community events, Literacy Council's Pizza Bowl,June Bug Jamboree, Wagons at the Wheel (Branson), Wickman's Fall Festival, Spooktruncular, Natural Healing Art's Fair, and Dragonfest.
  • Attended Drury University's Non-Profit Conference
  • Sent Susan to Expert level Certified Laughter Leader training
  • Filled 200 Giggleboxes
  • Have distributed 269 Giggleboxes since 2014
  • Created Secret Santa event for needy family with 19 grandchildren under age 4.



  • The Pizza Bowl was our first stop for the Ozark Literacy Council
  • Then the St. Paddy's Day Parade
  • The first Annual Earth Day Celebration at Unity of Springfield came in April.
  • June Bug Jamboree with  G.R.O.O.V.E. the VW enthusiasts of the Ozarks
  • A trip to Branson with VW gang again to Wagens at the Wheel at The  Track!
  • Wickman's Gardens Annual Fall Festival
  • And finally Spooktruncular at Unity of Springfield. A great year for community-wide events and participation!



  • The St. Patrick's Day Parade kicked off this year   and the Giggle Bus taking first place as "The Best Contraption on Wheels"  
  • Up next was Planet Unity's Earth Day Celebration
  • In May The Spa Gallery adopted us as their Charity of Choice for the summer and raised a whopping $700 for us! THANK YOU!
  • The "How To" festival on the last day of school for Pleasant Hope Middle School came next and  the kids participated in Laughter Playshops
  • Then on to the Dream Center Block Party 
  • June Bug Jamboree again in June and Wagen's at the Wheel in Branson in August 
  • Once again the Natural Healing Arts Fair in Springfield invited us back in August and as every year a great time was had by all!
  • September-The Giggle Bus needs new tires and some mechanical help so she is currently waiting repairs