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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Health, Patient & Family Support, Public & Societal Benefit

Mission: Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since our inception in 1986, our local chapter has granted wishes to more than 5,100 children. This year, we will grant approximately 300 wishes to local children throughout Alaska and Washington. A child’s most heartfelt wish may vary from a family trip to Hawaii, to the gift of a backyard playset, to the chance to be a superhero for a day. Regardless of the dream, each wish strengthens family bonds, enriches community spirit, and makes a life-changing impact on the emotional and physical health of a critically-ill child.

Programs: Wish program - the make-a-wish foundation of alaska & washington grants the wishes of children between the ages of 2-1/2 and 18 years old with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. The power of a wish is truly transformative and long-lasting. It offers the child something to yearn for that's not steeped in the language of hospitals, trauma, or pain. In a world that has become chaotic and uncontrollable for them, make-a-wish alaska and washington provides wish children and their families with a unique opportunity to exercise some control when they alone determine their heartfelt wish. It provides the family the opportunity to celebrate something joyful together, without any worry or hassle. This gift is unparalleled and unique to make-a-wish. It is something that no medicine, no doctors and no nurses can provide. Wish kid brody's mom, melissa, says it best: "make-a-wish gave our family a feeling of hope for the first time in a long time. We had a sense of togetherness. No business, no school, no doctors, just us. We made so many memories that we will never forget and will forever be treasured. "eighty-nine percent of medical professionals say that receiving a wish positively influences a childs health. Seattle childrens hospital pediatric nephrologist, sangeeta hingorani, has seen the power of a wish first hand. "we can offer the kids lifesaving therapies, but make-a-wish gives them a little bit of their life back," said dr. Hingorani. Jeff beck, a pediatric palliative care physician at seattle childrens also understands the importance of wishes as part of a childs overall treatment plan. "patient care at its best includes care for the mind and the spirit in addition to the body," said dr. Beck. "a wish experience goes to the essence of caring holistically for a young person facing a serious and life-threatening illness. Providing the opportunity for a child and the family to shift their focus from the clinical condition to the experience of a wish provides rest to the mind and vitality to the spirit. Since 1986, our local chapter has granted tranformational wish experiences to more than 5,500 children. During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, 336 wishes were granted for children living within the chapter's territory. Below are just a few examples of wishes granted: -a five-year-old girl from lakewood, washington wished to have a service dog-a six-year-old girl from kennewick, washington wished to go to her favorite theme park -a sixteen-year-old boy from anchorage, alaska wished to go to antarctica to see the penguins. More than 600 carefully-trained wish-granting volunteers donated their time, compassion and creativity to make each wish come true this year. Furthermore, generous donors provided us with the financial aid and in-kind resources necessary to create wish experiences that consistently exceed the expectations of wish children and their families.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is the first nonprofit board I've had the pleasure to serve on and I could not have been more fortunate. I'm so impressed with how professionally everything is. Given that this is a huge learning experience for me (I come from a technology background), I've been blown away by the board's organization, professionalism, commitment, and dedication. There are a wide variety of members from many different types of professions, all of whom bring an intense amount of passion to their volunteer service every time we meet.

And then of course there's the mission of Make-A-Wish overall. The joy brought to the children who receive wishes is so heartwarming. We have a wish inspiration story at the start of every board meeting and it just puts a smile on your face, brings tears to your eyes or both.

As to the employees of this chapter, they are professional and long tenured. They love their work and the people they work with. And the annual fundraising gala/auction is a very well done event. Every year I've invited people, they're always so impressed with how fun the event is, the scale, the items to bid on and the stories told throughout the night.

I'm one lucky human to have been able to serve on the board.

Betty P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a student in the Certification Program for Fundraising Management at the University of Washington Tacoma. We were assigned to bring to class an example of a website that effectively clearly displays what they do, who they serve, their results, history, mission, supporting statistics and budget. I was quite taken by the creative annual report that not only told the story of a child, but creatively provided valuable statistics that donors want to see in a simple effective manner.
Congratulations you are my choice for the top website award!
Thanks for what you do and how you convey that message.
Betty Perry
Gig Harbor, WA
PS My neighbors and friends lost 2 sons to cancer within a 5 year span. Both were recipients of their wish. There is nothing so devastating then seeing a child suffer, and there is nothing so touching then seeing that sick child live their wish.

Ken_18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Wish volunteer for more than 15 years. Apart from being a dad and a grandpa, serving as a Wish volunteer is the most enriching experience of my life. Everyone involved in the Wish process has a single agenda: bringing joy to a seriously ill child and her/his family. Extraordinarily wonderful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love being a volunteer for Make-A-Wish. I started volunteering a year ago, and cannot wait to continue for many many more years. It is my ultimate goal to work for a non-profit company, and while I am not there yet, it meets my passion of helping people on so many levels to be able to volunteer with such a wonderful organization!

Marli B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This has been the most life changing year for me as a volunteer with Make A Wish. Knowing that I've been able to make a child's dream come true. Knowing that for one week this beautiful child is able to enjoy a week free of doctors, needles, treatment and the knowledge of their sickness brings joy to my life! I must also add that the Washington/Alaska office is one of the most caring well orginiazed group I have ever worked with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for this foundation for almost 3 years. I have worked on 5 wishes and participated in several fund-raising events. I truly believe in the power of a wish and have personally witnessed the joy it can bring to a child who is enduring challenging times. I believe getting a child excited about a wish can distract from unpleasant treatments, bring a child and his or her family joy during a difficult time and even help a child to recover with new hope and inspiration for the future. The staff is very warm and helpful and I hope to continue volunteering for Make-A-Wish for years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with the Make A Wish foundation for nearly 10 years. Wish Granting is my true passion in life, I just love it! There is nothing that compares to granting a child's heartfelt wish. The wish affects everyone involved in so many ways. The foundation is full of amazingly supportive staff that are so friendly and energetic.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Wish Granting volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for almost a year and it has been the most fulfilling "job" I have ever had. Working with the families, staff and fellow volunteers has been an amazing experience. Everyone is so helpful and kind, we all just want to help wish children and their families in any way we can. Each wish child is so special and unique, you feel so fortunate to have met them and to hear their story. Working as a Wish Granting volunteer is so easy, fun and fulfilling - I can't imagine a better volunteer experience.

Sammye B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Make-A-Wish has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, it is such an amazing opportunity to put a smile on a child's face and bring what joy I can to their lives. MAW does everything they can for the kids and their families and being a part of such a wonderful organization is simply an honor!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Make-A-Wish for over 5 years and can honestly not think of a better way to devote my free time!! The people I have worked with and the families I have been blessed to meet along the way have really had a strong impact on me, and have taught me things I will carry for the rest of my life. I absolutely love being a part of this amazing foundation :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This has been one of the best experiences. Working with everyone at the Make-A-Wish foundation has been amazing and am looking forward to many more wishes.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the privileged to volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for over a year now and I can't get enough! The experiences they create, the stories they share and the children and families they help are absolutely incredible. From the online training programs to the actual carrying out of wishes, working with Make-A-Wish has been a complete gem. The staff are organized, helpful and most of all, fun! What are you waiting for? Become a volunteer today and help create everlasting memories for children. I promise you, you won't be sorry!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This experience has been one of the best. I see the joy that lights up a child's eyes and you can see the pain disappear for just a little while. I have worked with the organization for a little while now and I can say that it has definitely made me a better person. Seeing the strength that these kids have is motivating to me that my problems are not that big. It has absolutely been a joy to work with the great people at Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington and I would certainly recommend it to just about anyone.

Crystal22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Make-A-Wish, I have realized the power and energy that granting a wish can have in the life of a child and their family. The everlasting memories provide families with photos and experiences that the families cherish for many years to come. The organization is first class with great communication, training and experiences that are meaningful to all involved!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a complete joy. It is so gratifying to be able to bring smiles and great memories to our special wish children and their families, especially considering all that they go through when dealing with their life-threatening illness. The kids and families are truly amazing- you learn so much from them. Staff at Make-A-Wish makes it easy to navigate even the most complicated scenarios; and it is obvious that they are all invested in the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and do all that they can to support our efforts. As I tell my friends, I feel like the Fairy Godmother- who would not have fun granting wishes?

Selena F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've loved working with Make a Wish over the past year. I've had the opportunity to meet many great kids and their amazing families. The program really empowers volunteers to choose their level of involvement. An email is sent out as needed from the local make a wish chapter with a short description of different volunteer opportunities. Roles range greatly from envelope stuffing to working with kids to giving speeches at charity events to many other options, and you can take on as much as you'd like. There's never any shortage of kids, and you can also choose which cities you'd like to work on. The staff is very supportive, and the kids and their families are so happy and thankful. A great experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience as a Wish Granting volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Alaska & Washington has been nothing but wonderful and life-changing. From the detailed training we receive and the Make-A-Wish staff we get to interact with, to meeting the "Wish Kids" and planning and granting their heart-felt wish, I've never done anything so fulfilling that directly helps the cause of an organization. It's so awesome to be so closely connected with the mission of Make-A-Wish, because I get to meet the kids receiving a wish, get to know them and finally play a key part in granting their wish--it's like being a real-life fairy godmother!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer wish-granter, I have the opportunity to live the Make-A-Wish mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. I get the opportunity to meet with a wish child, find out what their wish is, and then work with the staff to make the wish come true! I have seen first-hand how the wish experience enhances the quality of life for these sick children, and I am truly honored to be a part of this organization.