Make-A-Wish

Transform lives, one wish at a time.

aka Make-A-Wish   |   Phoenix, AZ   |  wish.org

Mission

Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Ruling year info

1986

President & CEO

Mr. Richard K. Davis

Main address

1702 E. Highland Avenue Suite 400

Phoenix, AZ 85016 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0481941

NTEE code info

Patient Services - Entertainment, Recreation (E86)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

When children are battling a critical illness, so much of normal childhood is taken away from them — it is exhausting, both emotionally and physically. A Wish is something that gives kids the opportunity to look outside their illness — it restores a sense of childhood back to the child and normalcy back to the family. Research shows, and physicians agree, wishes can help improve a child's quality of life and produce better health outcomes.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wish Granting

The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The children we serve are fighting for their lives, and their families are doing everything that they can to help them in their battles. We believe that these children and their families deserve the chance to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences that relieve them of the immense stress that accompanies the treatment of a life-threatening medical condition, and produce positive, hopeful mindsets that outlast the illness. The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s wish-granting activities accomplish this by augmenting traditional medicine, impacting each child’s emotional state and the family unit – the child’s primary support structure. By granting the child’s one heartfelt wish, and involving the entire immediate family in the process, we re-empower the child to fight his/her illness and energize the family – and the community – to support the child.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2003

Philanthropy 400 2008

Charity Navigator 2010

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of eligible clients who report having access to an adequate array of services and supports

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People with diseases and illnesses

Related Program

Wish Granting

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Make-A-Wish mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The children we serve are fighting for their lives, and their families are doing everything that they can to help them in their battles. We believe that these children and their families deserve the chance to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences that relieve them of the immense stress accompanying the treatment of a life-threatening medical condition, and produce positive, hopeful mindsets that outlast the illness. The organization's wish-granting activities accomplish this by augmenting traditional medicine, impacting each child's emotional state and the family unit - the child's primary support structure. By granting the child's one heartfelt wish, and involving the entire immediate family in the process, we re-empower the child to fight his/her illness and energize the family - and the community - to support the child. Our long-term goal, or vision, is to be able to make every eligible child's wish come true. By granting increasingly more wishes each year to qualifying children, we anticipate that, one day, we will be able to fulfill every eligible child's wish and propagate the joyful outcomes to an ever-wider community of participants and witnesses.

Make-A-Wish America has completed a new strategic plan for the organization's next three fiscal years. In this plan, we are focusing on four pillars: 1) brand management, 2) fundraising effectiveness, 3) talent development and 4) operational effectiveness. We have outlined a series of initiatives for each of these efforts and a specific individual has been identified to oversee each activity. Importantly, we will be reporting our progress on each initiative on a quarterly basis to the organization's National Board of Directors. We believe that executing on these initiatives will lead us on a path to achieving our vision of making every eligible child's wish come true. Brand management entails spreading awareness of the need for wishes. To do this, we will concentrate on defining and articulating the "power of a wish" and the impact of that wish on our communities. We will upgrade our online presence and further develop our methods of communicating our mission into 21st Century models of interactive multimedia and storytelling. Additionally, we will continue to leverage our strong relationships with the entertainment and sports industries to assist us in granting wishes and telling our story. To fund more wishes, Make-A-Wish America will continue its focus on developing fundraising programs that honor the philanthropic desires of our individual and corporate donors. We will take a donor-centric approach and implement new technologies and infrastructure to enhance the giving experience through a Board-driven culture of philanthropy. In the area of talent development, we will continue our efforts to enhance the capabilities and skills of our leaders through specific leadership development programs. We will enhance Make-A-Wish University, our online curriculum that provides training for our staff and volunteers in wish granting, fundraising, communications, finance, human resources, governance and leadership. We are also instituting a series of orientations and conferences for each of these disciplines to align the organization's skill sets with the outcomes articulated in the Strategic Plan. We will also improve our operational activities by finding and developing efficiencies through best practices and new technologies, ultimately redirecting these cost savings toward wish granting. For example, we will complete the implementation of the Make-A-Wish Suite, a common information technology platform, at the national office and at each of our chapters. We will also continue to upgrade and reconfigure systems that support our fundraising and communications initiatives. Additionally, we are in the middle of an ongoing study that is providing quantitative measures of the outcomes and overall impact of wishes. This information is providing us with findings to share with our constituents, and serving as a baseline measure to inform us of our progress toward the realization of our organizational vision and strategic goals.

Make-A-Wish employs nearly 1,000 paid staff between the national office and our 62 chapters. Collectively, we work to enhance the organization's wish-granting activities and fundraising acumen. Our chapters are at the forefront in cultivating the necessary human capital to execute on our mission. Approximately 16,000 trained volunteers assist in providing the wish-granting experience. Another 9,000 volunteers support the chapters in other capacities, including Board leadership, fundraising and event management, and other work that is vital to our organization. Our national office is guided by a Board of Directors that is comprised of some of the most accomplished and influential leaders in the United States. Similarly, each of our 61 chapters has a board of directors made up of local community leaders. Make-A-Wish has forged strong relationships with more than 75 corporations at the national level, and scores more among individual chapters. For example, our 30-year relationship with Disney, Inc. is an invaluable partnership, as a significant percentage of all wishes we grant involve a Disney theme park. Additionally, Macy's, Inc. has served as a long-term partner in helping us to raise funds and awareness of our life-affirming mission. We also partner with hundreds of celebrities, including musicians, actors, professional athletes and other public figures who graciously provide their time and talents to grant wishes and otherwise help us to fulfill our mission. In our last fiscal year, we raised more than $200 million nationwide through generous donations from individuals and corporations. As a result of the efforts of our staff, volunteers and partners, Make-A-Wish is able to commit approximately three-quarters of these funds to our program activities. This speaks to our integrity and dedication to our mission, which the public recognizes; a recent nationwide poll found that Make-A-Wish is the 7th most trusted nonprofit brand in the United States.

Each year since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more wishes than in the previous year, advancing toward our vision of being able to make every eligible child's wish come true. Last year, we only reached approximately half of all eligible children with life-threatening medical conditions, so continued progress on our strategic plan is critical. In just 33 years, we have achieved remarkable successes in brand value. According to multiple independent evaluations, Make-A-Wish is one of America's top 10 nonprofit brands. In terms of fundraising effectiveness, we have completed our first direct response TV pilot, which is designed to complement our donor acquisition efforts of our direct mail program. As a new area of emphasis, talent development is currently focused on improving existing staff e-learnings, filling in performance gaps and defining strategic goals. In supporting the operations of 62 chapters with different territories and populations, we have learned that "one size does not fit all." While we have worked to standardize some of our processes and operations to redirect funds to wish granting, we also recognize the unique aspects of different communities and the methods by which we engage donors and volunteers. The ongoing process of tailoring our benchmark metrics and adopting best practices will ensure continual progress toward our vision. Additionally, we have realized the importance of staying abreast of changes in healthcare, technology and philanthropy, including the demand for reporting social impact. The results of our impact surveys demonstrate the degree to which wishes generate hope and optimism in our constituents. Wishes are a source of emotional strength for children; ninety percent of sampled wish parents indicate that their child's wish increased the child's ability to cope with illness. Parents also say that it brought normalcy back to their homes, reinforcing family ties for their fight against the child's illness. Health professionals use wishes as strategic tools to help their patients improve their quality of life and/or survive their illnesses. Additionally, they strongly believe that wishes have the power to influence the physical health of ailing children. Nearly all wish parents, volunteers and health professionals report increased gratitude, while about 9 out of 10 of those sampled report an increased sense of compassion and desire to give back or help someone else's family. Looking ahead, we have not yet designed the process through which we will systematically capture data to compare against our baseline measurements. This will require significant investments of time and funds, the latter of which is our largest obstacle because we need to maximize the resources allocated to wishes. Nevertheless, we are pursuing funding sources that will help us better measure our progress toward our goal of granting an extraordinary wish for every eligible child, while contributing social value to our broad community.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Children with critical illness.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We recently rebuilt and redesigned our website and constituent and volunteer intake forms based on feedback from the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    This feedback has led to significant enhancement to the Make-A-Wish "wish journey" and "wish community."

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Make-A-Wish
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Make-A-Wish

Board of directors
as of 8/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

George Barrios

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 04/08/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data