Make a Wish Foundation of America

Happy child

The Make a Wish Foundation of America is an organization that works to improve the lives of terminally ill children. The organization grants wishes, providing youngsters with a once in a lifetime experience. The foundation granted its first wish in 1980, allowing Chris Greicius, a seven year old who dreamed of becoming a cop, to spend a day with several police officers. Chris passed away three days after the experience due to leukemia, but not before seeing his wish come true.

What Children Wish For

Make a Wish Foundation gifts depend on what the child requests. Most wishes fall into one of the following four categories:

  • Wish to go, which means a request to travel somewhere or to a particular event. Popular choices include visits to amusement parks, beaches, the Super Bowl, or an exotic destination.
  • Wish to be, which allows the child to experience the day in the life of a person who works in his or her career of choice. For example, the child may want to try being a firefighter or a fashion model.
  • Wish to meet, which gives the child a chance to spend the day with a favorite celebrity.
  • Wish to have, which offers the child a gift. It could be something small, like an iPod, or something much bigger, like a skating rink in the backyard.

Once a person refers a child to the program and it is determined that he or she is medically eligible and qualified to participate, a volunteer will speak to the child to see what the youngster's desire really is. The only individuals authorized to refer children to the Make a Wish Foundation of America are their parents or legal guardians, medical providers or the children themselves. The easiest way to do it is to send in the online inquiry form.

Qualifying for Wishes

To ensure that only really needy children are recipients of wishes, the foundation has a set of requirements that must be met before a person can request a wish for him or her.

  • The child must be between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 when a person refers him or her to the foundation.
  • The child must have a life threatening condition, as certified by a doctor actually treating the child.
  • The child must not have had another organization grant a wish for him or her in the past.

How to Help the Make a Wish Foundation of America

If you'd like to assist the charity with its work, there are several ways you can do so. You can donate money as a single donation, pledge to give a certain amount each month or set up a matching gift. If you have questions about donating, call 1-866-880-1382. Instead of giving money, you can give an in-kind donation, such as office supplies and building materials. You can also donate items that help with the wishes themselves, such as gift cards for shopping sprees or frequent flier miles.

The Make a Wish Foundation of America also needs volunteers. Some areas of specific need are people to help with fundraising, work in offices around the nation, help with actual wish granting, head committees and spread the word about the charity's work. To find out more about these opportunities, submit a form noting the ways you would like to volunteer. All volunteers must pass a background check.

Make a Wish Foundation of America