Betty Bumpers, who passed away in 2018 is the Co-founder of organization. She was the wife of the late Senator Dale Bumpers, a mother of three children, and a former art teacher. Mrs. Bumpers received her education at Iowa State University, the University of Arkansas, and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
During her husband’s tenure as Governor of Arkansas, Betty Bumpers was the leader of a successful statewide immunization program for children, which was later used by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention as a national model for other states. During the presidency of Jimmy Carter, she worked with First Lady Rosalynn Carter to implement immunization programs state-by-state. She and Rosalynn Carter have been credited with the passage of laws mandating vaccination at school entry, which now exist in every state. As a result of these laws, the United States has a 95% plus immunization rate for school enrollees. Realizing the need to immunize our citizens and the need to increase the immunization rates for our nation’s uninsured, underinsured and undocumented, they have continued their efforts with us.
Betty Bumpers has served on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the National League for Nursing Board, the All Kids Count Advisory Board, and the Family Place Project Advisory Committee for Libraries for Our Future. She has also been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame.
In commemoration of the vigilant advocacy of both Betty Bumpers and her husband, former Senator Dale Bumpers, the National Institutes of Health named their vaccine research center after the Bumpers. The Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center is a joint venture of the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and incorporates a core of NIH scientists with expertise in immunology, virology and HIV research.
In addition to her vigilant efforts to eliminate preventable diseases in our children, Betty Bumpers dedicated herself to Peace Links, an international women’s peace education group that she founded in 1981. Reaching and involving mainstream, grassroots citizens in activities that reduce the threat of nuclear war, promoted alternative ways to solve conflict and encouraged dialogue and understanding between women internationally, Peace Link was a major force in ending the Nuclear Arms race. Although they officially disbanded in 2001, former Peace Links members in all fifty states continue to work towards attaining peace within our communities by taking part in discussions with women and children throughout the world who strive to create a better place for our children to live. Mrs. Bumpers was nominated by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and appointed by President Bill Clinton and served a 5-year term on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace.