Missouri Sunshine Coalition News

Bridges leads Sunshine Coalition

    COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Sunshine Coalition has welcomed three new board members and chosen officers for 2020-2021, including new board president Amos Bridges, editor of the Springfield News-Leader.

    The actions were taken during an annual meeting conducted via Zoom due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

     Bridges, who joined the coalition board last year, is a 16-year veteran of the News-Leader. He was appointed editor in December after serving previously as a city hall reporter, columnist focused on watchdog issues, and the newspaper’s investigative editor and watchdog reporting coach. Bridges also is a board member of the Missouri Press Association.

     Other coalition officers elected include vice president Kia Breaux, regional director for The Associated Press based in Kansas City; secretary Mahree Skala, with the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County; and treasurer Roger Seay, news director for KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau.

    The new board members are Kathy Kiely, the Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies at the Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia; Echo Menges, editor of The Edina Sentinel; and Seay.

    Members continuing on the board include Tom Sullivan of Sullivan Advertising, St. Louis; Sarah Fenske of St. Louis Public Radio; Jean Maneke of The Maneke Law Group, Kansas City; and Breaux, Bridges and Skala.

     The reorganized board is exploring ideas for furthering the mission of the nonprofit coalition, which was founded in 2008 with a primary focus on educating citizens and raising awareness about the importance of the Missouri Sunshine Law. 

    For more information, contact Executive Director Dennis Ellsworth at (816) 261-5373 or dennis11ellsworth@gmail.com.


Coalition honors three advocates

     COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Sunshine Coalition recently saluted three longtime coalition leaders for their contributions to government transparency.

     Jonathan Groves, chair of the Communication Department at Drury University in Springfield and the immediate past president of the coalition, is one of three veteran board members who completed their board service over the past year. The others are Jean Buchanan, former assistant managing editor and investigations team leader with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Jim Robertson, former managing editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune and also a former coalition president.

   Each was recognized with an award at the coalition’s annual meeting for being “a dedicated advocate for the Sunshine Law and the countless citizens who benefit from open government.”


Sunshine Law supporters asked to ‘Rally to the Cause’

     COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Sunshine Coalition is encouraging supporters to “Rally to the Cause” as it kicks off its 2020-2021 membership and fundraising campaign.

     The effort is part of a strategic plan the coalition board embarked on last year to strengthen its work in educating citizens about their rights and advocating for the Missouri Sunshine Law. Key elements of the plan include broadening the coalition’s membership, resuming collection of annual dues and raising additional funds to build capacity for future growth.    

     Complete details can be found online at http://www.mopress.com/sunshine-resource/. Or visit the Missouri Press Association website, select the tab for “Services & Programs” and then select “Sunshine Coalition & Resources.”

     MPA is a longtime partner of the coalition and is assisting its campaign by providing a secure online payment method for dues and donations.

     Highlights of membership and fundraising effort:

  • Standard dues to the Missouri Sunshine Coalition are $25 each for individual, organization or business memberships. Organizations and businesses are encouraged to enroll as many full members as they wish, as well as additional nonvoting members for $5 each. College and high school students also may join as nonvoting members for $5 each.
  • Donations of all amounts are welcomed. The coalition intends to provide appropriate tiered recognition in printed materials and at programs for gifts at these levels: $100, 250, $500 and $1,000 or more.
  • In addition to online payments, the coalition is accepting dues and donations by mail. When responding by mail, please print out the appropriate forms from the website, complete the forms and enclose them with checks payable to: Missouri Sunshine Coalition Inc., 802 Locust St., Columbia, MO 65201.

For more information, contact Executive Director Dennis Ellsworth at 816-261-5373 or at dennis11ellsworth@gmail.com.