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Sunshine Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Health, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Patient & Family Support

Mission: Sunshine Foundation answers the dreams of chronically ill, physically challenged and abused children ages 3-18, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to the financial strain that their child's illness may cause.

Results: Since 1976, Sunshine Foundation has answered the dreams of more than 41,000 children!

Target demographics: Children with chronic, lifelong special needs

Geographic areas served: We answer dreams of children from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico

Programs: Sunshine Foundation answers the dreams of chronically ill, physically challenged and abused children ages 3-18, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to the financial strain that their child's illness may cause. Sunshine Foundation is a national wish granting organization that answers dreams of children that have a chronic, life-long illness or medical condition rather than a critical or life-threatening diagnosis. The disadvantaged children we serve are from income-limited families and suffer from chronic conditions including: spina bifida, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, profound low-functioning autism, brain and spinal injuries, Type 1 diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, injury from abuse, and many others. Parents and family members share with us that the moments of joy during their child's once-in-a-lifetime Dream trip are their happiest memories: memories of laughter and fun made at the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village and Central Florida theme parks have helped their child during current struggles, and will help them during future struggles. Most of the children we serve wish to visit the Central Florida theme parks and attractions when asked the simple question: "If you could have one dream, what would it be?" Since this has been the #1 Dream request every year, the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village was built just 15 miles south of Walt Disney World, and officially opened in January 1990. The Dream Village is a 22-acre resort nestled in a fairy tale setting and offers amenities and activities, all designed to be accessible for wheelchairs and other special needs with each cottage having a unique and magical theme designed especially for children. The Sunshine Foundation provides everything for the entire family (airfare, transportation, lodging, attractions tickets and spending money) to ensure they have a stress-free week away from on-going hospital treatments, surgeries and therapies, and where they find they can do more as a family: traveling, exploring and discovering their child is not limited to home and/or a wheelchair.

Community Stories

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the Sunshine Foundation for several years. Sunshine Foundation grant wishes to children and their families who need the support of a wonderful organization during difficult times. Wanda and the entire team are truly special people who create special memories for these families. I am proud to be associated with such a truly wonderful organization and have taken my staff out to volunteer there as well!!

Anne S.6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Looking for a charity to support then look no further. The work they do to support the families of deserving children is incredible considering they are non-profit and many of the people helping and supporting them are volunteers. To see the look of awe on the face of the families receiving their 'dream' is truly inspiring. From a personal point of view as a volunteer, this organization has a canny way of bringing the best out your children. They appreciate what they have in life and want to make a difference for families supported by the Sunshine Foundation! A win-win for all! Thank you Sunshine Foundation for bring a little Sunshine and compassion into our lives.

Willie M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an active volunteer with the foundation for the past 12 years. Amazing job they do for those children and their families

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Foundation gave my autistic daughter the trip of a lifetime to Orlando for a Disney world dream come true. They paid for our flight, lodging, and tickets to Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Lego Land. They even provided spending money! The Sunshine Foundation not only grants wishes, but it changes lives! Thank you Sunshine Foundation for everything you do for our special needs community!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village. I get to see day to day what the hard work of the staff of the Foundation means to the children and their families. When they walk through the door of the Dream Village, their stress and trouble seem to melt away and then fun can begin. The families are so grateful to have family time that is not centered around hospital visits and doctors but instead magical theme parks, characters and swimming pools. I just love seeing the smiles on the kids faces as they are enjoying their time at the village. It is truly heart warming to witness.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This non profit is AMAZING!!
I tell everyone that will listen about the mission of this non profit.
I will always give and volunteer.

Chris H.23

Client Served

Rating: 5

Had a call back from them within days having our sons wish granted- went above and beyond- it was so special I didn’t believe it was real!
My son was 4 at the time and he’s now 30 but still remembers the trip- we also had the pleasure of being personally attended to by the original man himself- bill.

Kelli B.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing organization with a heart for children that is awe inspiring. They do more than just give gifts and trips they make children's biggest wish’s come true and impact their lives.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Foundation is the only organization that I have found that would accept my child’s dream application. He’s severe nonverbal autistic. Even though my child’s dream hasn’t been granted yet every part of this process has been all positive. The staff has went above and beyond to help us with this process and keeps me updated. We’re extremely excited to be working with this amazing nonprofit organization!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer and donor for Sunshine Foundation for over a decade. I always feel so appreciated for my service when volunteering, even though I feel I am getting more out of it than they are. Sunshine Foundation is such a great cause that is doing so much for deserving children in need. Sunshine Foundation has also supported my fundraising efforts by attending, and sharing pictures and information on social media. The president, Kate Sample, cares so much about the cause and she spreads sunshine wherever she goes.

Mandy S.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We volunteered with this amazing organization. This organization helps so many children and we are amazed at the work they do. We will always support The Sunshine Foundation!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter & I absolutely love being able to volunteer and spread awareness for The Sunshine Foundation. We have seen first hand the impact it makes on the children they help! We encourage everyone to get involved because the dreams they grant and the smiles they bring are priceless for these children and their families.

Tianah S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Since I can remember this amazing charity has helped so many and made so many kids happy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I hold this organization close to my heart. I have seen the happiness first hand that has been brought on to families that have gone through immense adversities. The works that The Sunshine Foundation does on a day to day basis is truly amazing. Everyone that has a hand in this organization are superheroes in my book!

Julie Cole M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This foundation is doing amazing things for children and their families that they may have never experienced!!

Laura A.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sunshine Foundation helped our son reach his dream vacation at Disney World, among other things he was able to do. They were always responsive. We are so grateful for them.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sunshine Foundation gave our family the best time of our lives. We got to stay at the Dream Village and go to Disney World. No therapies, no doctor visits, just relaxation and fun. We are all so grateful.

Cheryl M.12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think this Non Profit Charity plays a viable part in children's lives who are disabled. The smiles on their faces is beautiful. So many of the families would not be able to afford to help their child in this way.
I've been a Volunteer now for about 3 years, and I feel it's a worthwhile cause.
CM

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing non profit that grants dreams of children from all over. We are greatful to be volunteers and assist when needed. They are very friendly, helpful and involved within the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow, what can I say. The Sunshine Foundation goes above and beyond for their community. I’ve loved working with this organization for nearly 2 years now as a volunteer and thankful my son loves volunteering with me there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing place! This organization gives back so much to the community. For the past 10 years we have seen so many families visit the Dream Village and so many dreams come true for children dealing with life altering illnesses and trauma. The Sunshine Foundation provides them an opportunity to smile and laugh and just be kids and we are better because of the time we have spent volunteering our time with them in hopes we can bring a little sunshine to these precious children. The founders Bill and Kate Sample had a wonderful vision and we are blessed to see it thrive and succeed !

Jim M.13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Sunshine Foundation as a volunteer and a member of their Annual Gala Committee for a number of years. The thing that particularly stands out to me is the high percentage of the dollars raised that goes directly to helping the children and families to fulfill their dream trips.

Jim Marshall - Davenport FL

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Foundation is truly an amazing organization. Their commitment to make children's dreams come true, changes the lives they touch. I have worked with this organization for 3 years and it have been one of the most fulfilling adventures I have been on in my life. I love watching the face of a child that has their wish granted but more so I love the faces of the parents. They are able to see their child smiling from ear to ear and for just a short time, their child is like every other child in the world void of their life challenges. I can not say enough of how special the Sunshine Foundation is and the people who run the organization are.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The sunshine foundation is an organization that operates in my local community and I love the way it helps not just the child with difficulties but the whole family.
I also appreciate that a huge percentage of people's hard earned monies that are donated go to the dreamers not to some big corporate office .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A true non-profit organization giving much needed respite and fulfilling dreams of worthy children and families whose lives are less fortunate than others. The love, compassion and enthusiasm of people involved in this organization is contagious. Seeing the awe and excitement on the dreamers when their dreams are fulfilled is rewarding and drives volunteers to work harder to fulfill as many dreams as possible.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a totally amazing organization! My family has volunteered and our experiences have always been outstanding. The dedication of its staff members are amazing, showing determination in succeeding with their prime objective. This is by far my favorite nonprofit organization. Keep up the good work Sunshine Foundation!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Foundation in Florida is so caring and giving to the families that come to have a vacation. I have attended events and made donations to help keep this going. It’s a blessing for so many families with sick children. Just to see the smiles on their faces is a blessing.
So, donate, volunteer, support this non profit.
Sincerely,
Jo Bailey

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love the Sunshine Foundation. I have had the pleasure to be a volunteer for over 15 years and have seen the love this foundation shares with each child and their families. It is about letting each family have their time in the SUN, away from doctors, counselor and the turbulence of everyday. It is about creating fun memories together at an event, a vacation or with a new toy. I am beyond proud of my family's involvement with the Sunshine Foundation and each family I have seen get their time in the SUN.

1 Karri M.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing with the core objective of spreading sunshine and happiness to children in need. To see the look on the faces of children experiencing a wish come true - is truly a gift. And I know that my donations - both monetary and items used for auctions - goes right to the foundation.

2 Christy H.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Foundation is the epitome of a children’s charity. I have been a volunteer with the foundation for about 8 years. During that time I have seen the faces of so many children coming through the doors of the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village receiving their dream come true. I’ve seen the stress fall off the parent’s shoulders knowing that for a week, they can enjoy their families and have some much needed and deserved fun. To see a child flourish and come alive in person is an amazing and heartwarming experience. The Sunshine Foundation is our family’s charity of choice and will always be near and dear to our hearts. We love the work they do for children and their families.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer with the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village and am very proud to do so. All the staff work tirelessly to help the families be able to stay at the Dream Village and provide a dream excursion or provide items that will positively impact the families lives. It is humbling to see the families stories and so worthwhile to be able to help. Thank you.
Claire R.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Dream Village is an amazing place. I have had the opportunity to visit and volunteer for this organization and I can't say enough about it. They are my set charity through Amazon whenever I make a purchase.

2 Yamile R.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working with the Sunshine Foundation for many years. The work they do is indispensable to these kids and their families! We are honored to support them by hosting their annual Miss Sunshine Foundation Pageant raising much needed funds for the families they provide to. In a hectic world, it’s easy to forget that there are many who need the important work that the Sunshine Foundation provides. These kids and families may never otherwise experience this kind of love and joy that a Sunshine Foundation Dream trip can give them. Providing lasting memories and a sense of normalcy!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've had the honor of working with the most wonderful volunteers who's amazing generosity and unwavering support help the Sunshine Foundation answer the dreams of children. The past 44 years Sunshine has answered over 40,000 dreams of chronically ill, physically challenged and abused children ages 3 to 18 and has made an incredible impact in the life these very special children.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Sunshine Foundation as a volunteer for over 5 years. They make dreams come true for children who are chronically ill, physically challenged, or abused. The experience that the child has when they receive their dream come true is life-changing. It has a positive effect on the whole family. They forget about the medical issues and doctors and just bond as a family without all of that hanging over their heads. It helps the child to know that their dreams matter and that there are people that care about them.

Mary Ellen K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A true nonprofit that brings Sunshine to so many families.

Wanda C.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to not only to meet some amazing people but see firsthand the impact of a dream in the children lives and their families. Bill Sample was truly a very special man who dedicated his life to making a difference in others.

Judith W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has a great group of dedicated staff and volunteers that truly enjoy making dreams come true. They go beyond expectations to put a smile and inspire hope in the children and families they serve. It has been a pleasure to volunteer with them.
Thank you for the opportunity.

Florence B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent many years volunteering for the Sunshine Foundation, a wonderful and caring place. There is a village of cute cottages, each with a different theme, for the families to stay while enjoying themselves at Disney World and other parks; also has a swimming pool and games to play. Wanda is a very caring person who goes out of her way to ensure the dreams of the chronically ill, physically challenged & abused children are fulfilled, sometimes it is a trip to Sea World, Disney World or maybe a new computer or iPod. At Christmas Santa arrives with presents. They are also very successful with their fundraisers to help the children. I am very proud to have been part of this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the Sunshine Foundation at the Dream Village for 15 years and have witnessed the impact on the children, their families, volunteers and the community.
The Village is a 'safe place' that provides a respite for them. Countless families have said it was the first family vacation they had been able to take or the first care free time their child had. That joy can be seen on all the happy faces at the Dream Village.
As a volunteer, the time spent helping feels great and keeps life in perspective. There are so many sorrows yet also so much to be thankful for. The Dream Village is definitely a blessing!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked at the sunshine foundation as a volunteer and I saw first hand how the kids reacted when they arrived and saw where they were going to stay for the next few days. It was wonderful to watch.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for this great organization, greeting families at Orlando Airport that are arriving for their child's "Dream Visit". The work and dedication of the staff and many volunteers is nothing short of extraordinary. The happiness and gratitude of the families arriving is priceless - this work is so rewarding to be helping out with such a worthwhile group.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sunshine Foundation is a non-profit genuinely dedicated to their mission of granting the wishes of children, both terminally and chronically ill. These are children that would likely never have the opportunity to see their dreams come true if it weren’t for Sunshine!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with the Sunshine Foundation for almost 10 years on their event committees... such an awesome group of individuals and employees that come together to make dreams come true!

2 Veronica H.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Sunshine Foundation. My son has multiple problems and had a eye surgery and two other procedures that required being put to sleep all before age four.. Andrew also had a lot of blood draws and a lot of other medical treatments and therapy. Andrew has strabismus, brain encephalitis that caused his severe autism, apraxia, non verbal and dystonia . Till Andrew was age four he had failure to thrive as he could not gain weight and we went to multiple doctors for help. The other two children missed family vacations and Andrew needed to go on one to see his favorite characters Cars, Woody of Toy Story and SpongeBob. A added bonus was the tickets to Legoland that was awesome and even has sensory rooms for children that need a sensory break. We loved the pirate show and the rides, a great park to visit. I could not find any groups that accepted Andrew because he was not terminal and his surgeries and illness were not enough till I read a story about all that Sunshine Foundation does. Andrew loved watching u tube videos of roller coasters and Disney. Andrew got to go on his first coaster ride thanks to Sunshine Foundation. Andrew loved Dream Village. It is perfect for children that are elopers and cant talk. The parents can rest and know that if the door of the cottage is opened the alarm sounds. The Dream Village was a dream in itself. So peaceful. A large pool to enjoy. The lovely theme cottages. We had never seen Andrew smile so much. Andrew was so happy and at peace while he was there. I will forever be grateful to Sunshine Foundation and the restaurant that sponsored out trip. I believe ours was Glory Days Grill and another person in MD was Greene Turtle. I was also impressed with how much they do in the community and for other children. I love the idea of how many children they fly to Disney for a day.

2 Michele F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The sunshine foundation is amazing the work they do helps thousands if not millions of kids live out their dreams. They provide a beautiful village for the children and their families to stay at, the cottages have little kitchenettes and they provide all the toiletries and a washer and dryer free of charge on the property. The staff is very courteous, knowledgeable, friendly and they go above and beyond to make sure their families have the best experience.

2 My Assistance Dog Inc.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Foundation’s sole purpose is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children ages three to eighteen, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to financial strain that the child’s illness may cause. Philadelphia police officer Bill Sample founded Sunshine Foundation in 1976 and they have answered over 36,000 dreams since it's inception. I have proudly been a member and supported this fine Organization for the past thirty years and have experienced the wonderful difference these dreams can make in both the child's and families lives. They need your help and support today ! Please check out the website to get mor information: sunshinefoundation.org/