About Us

Our Mission

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

Our Vision

Vision: To Empower the creation of well-being through laughter and imagination  

Our Story, from Susan Dempsey, Founder

     The Giggle Box Project was conceived in 2009  by our founder and consulting director, Susan Dempsey and is  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

      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 finally 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

Donate and become a Part of the Joy

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!!  

Kathleen Dowell - Treasurer

     I have a BS in Business Education and a minor in mathematics and taught math to high school students. Bookkeeping for TLC Properties and tax preparation for H&R Block have been my most recent occupations. Don't let the serious side of business and numbers fool you though as I have acquired many other skills during my life time. 

     I was born and raised a country girl and can sew, cook, grow a garden and preserve food,as well as creative projects such as upholstery, embroidery, and crafts in general. These skills and talents have brought much pleasure to my life as well as to others. I have learned to be creative and think outside the box. 

    Sometimes in our lives we get stuck in our own Box-like thinking and being able to find a different perspective at those times has become an invaluable Joy to me.     

    The Giggle Box Project has allowed me to use this skill as well as my numbers. Our goal is to help others change to a more positive perspective and we strive to do that within the organization as well.  I expect to continue learning, laughing and sharing new things on this adventure called Life.        

Katy Spangler - Secretary

 Katy Spangler was born with an indefatigable curiosity and has dedicated her life to explore, express and expand! She brings her personal mission into the community by collaborating in organizations such as Giggleboxes to expand joy while serving the needs of others. Her primary focus is self-expression, helping others to get their messages out and promote their own worthwhile missions in video, writing and speeches. For over 15 years, she has soothed people into shedding their anxieties and blooming into confident, poised speakers who are prepared to express themselves and influence others online, in the workplace, and in the public forum. Prior to coaching, she worked in broadcast news, film, and television. Her educational background includes a bachelor's degree in theater from UCLA, and a master's degree in communication from Missouri State University.


The Giggle Box Board

De DeArmon - Vice Chair

De DeArmon - ViceChair

  "I love to Laugh." Pretty much sums it up. I dress up as Santa every year and sing Christmas carols to children and their families. I have taught Sunday school through song at Unity of Springfield for more than 10 years and it is my  bliss.  I have been studying Sufism for a few years and was recently initiated. I spend quite a bit of  personal time finding new tunes for traditional prayers. One of my kids at church called me "Church Man " and one of my sons calls me "God man." I have participated in Native American ceremonies and bring the traditional songs to anyone who  cares to listen. This spirit path has accompanied me for the last 25 years and I expect to retire into  the cause.

I have worked as a gardener to make a living. I love to get paid to make the natural world more  beautiful. Love working with Giggleboxes. Staying happy and helping people laugh is my idea of a  good time. Looking forward to more fun activities in the near future.    

Jessica Grace Hart - Volunteers Coordinator

   Jessica Grace Hart is a Reiki Master/Teacher, Certified Life Coach and Certified Addiction Counselor. She creates pathways to healing through communication, creativity and new ways of thinking.  Jessica brings passion and hope for all people; for animals and for the planet. She generously offers a sliding scale for her time and treasure. She has served The Giggle Box Project since it’s inception and has been a continual inspiration to each of us individually and the project.   

Diane Strunk - Fundraising


 Diane Strunk is the newest board member to the Gigglebox Project. Her administrative background will be a great asset in organizational responsibilities. Diane has a daughter and a son as well as three grandsons. She has lived in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Having moved to the Springfield area in 2015, she now calls Missouri home. The community and the friendships that have developed are very meaningful.  

Previous Board Members

Dottie Mullikin


Jan Massey


Jo Moon


Previous Board Members

Pamela Brenneman


Rose Utley

Nursing Student Engagement

Lynn Henninger


Previous Board Members

Susan Dempsey

Susan Dempsey


Mike Bruns

Community Engagement

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 Giggleboxes.org.
  • 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 Giggleboxes.org 
  • 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.