Make-A-Wish Foundation International

aka Make-A-Wish International   |   Phoenix, AZ   |


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

Notes from the nonprofit

• The true impact of a wish cannot be measured in dollars, euros, pesos, pounds, or yen. Yet, Make-A-Wish relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations, and corporations to provide the funding and in-kind resources necessary to create an unforgettable wish experience for each and every eligible child. With your help, Make-A-Wish International will continue to reach more of the courageous children we serve and grant their most cherished wish. Donate to Make-A-Wish International and Join the WorldSM in granting impactful wishes around the globe. Each donation plays a key role in allowing us to grant wishes that empower children with life-threatening medical conditions to fight harder against their illnesses. “Spending time in and out of hospitals is a stark reminder of the fragility of Elias’ condition and the need to make the most of every moment with him. The wish experience did just that. It gave us so many memories to remember – moments of joy. Elias’ wish day is still remembered by our family as the most joyous experience of our lives.” – Elias’ mom, Margie Visit to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of children, families and communities around the globe.

Ruling year info


President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Luciano Manzo

Main address

1702 E. Highland Ave Suite 305

Phoenix, AZ 85016 USA

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NTEE code info

Patient Services - Entertainment, Recreation (E86)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

For every life-changing wish Make-A-Wish grants, there are 32 children we have not reached.
1 in 32 children. We need to reach more. Now.
Every minute, somewhere in the world a family hears the devastating words that their child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition or a critical illness.
Globally, about 300,000 children each year are diagnosed with cancer. This number adds up if we include other diseases such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, muscular dystrophy and
many more. A diagnosis impacts the whole family, and in addition to the physical pain, the child often finds himself isolated and frustrated as going through medical treatments stops him from attending
school, playing and socializing with friends.
Wish experiences help children build resilience to better face the hardships that come with fighting a critical illness.
We need to reach more children. And we need to do it now.

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

Make-A-Wish Foundation® International grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Families, friends, medical professionals, and communities can be touched by the simple, innocent wish of a child. A wish sends a positive message of hope, strength, and joy to a child when they need it most. The wish experience has the power to re-ignite the flames of life, creating a journey of optimism for a child and their family.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


4-star 2008

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4-star 2009

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4-Star 2010

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4-Star 2011

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4-Star 2012

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4-Star 2013

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4-Star 2014

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4-Star 2016

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3-Star 2017

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3-Star 2018

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4-Star 2019

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BBB WGA accredited charity 2020

BBB Wise Giving Alliance

4-Star 2021

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4-Star 2022

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Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Wishes granted

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Wish Granting

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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: Together, we 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.

A wish brings so much more than a moment of joy: it's an incredible journey from anticipating the wish, to the wish itself, and well beyond. Wishes are an essential complement to the medical process, and recent studies confirm what many wish families have told us for years: that wishes do have a powerful, positive impact on really sick kids. They are less anxious, eat better, sleep better, and feel more hopeful than their peers who don't have a wish. A wish helps seriously ill children cope and motivates them through the challenges of their illness.

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 International has completed a new strategic plan for the organization's growth. In this plan, we are focusing on four pillars which represent our long-term vision: 1) Sustainable Resource Growth, 2) Increase Impactful, Quality Wishes, 3) Collaborative, High-Performing Talent, 4) Technology, Scalable and Easily Implemented. 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 International Board of Directors as well as the affiliates around the world. 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.

We will work together on accelerated, sustainable growth of resources and revenue for the enterprise. Recognize that we are a superior brand and must maintain a tight focus on our biggest collective fundraising opportunities. International will adopt a resource development philosophy and help train and build sustainable growth for all affiliates. Resources will come from increasing our brand presence, and our brand needs to show impact, relevance and need while being consistent and bold. Our goal is the be the Global Benchmark Children's Charity.

In the area of increasing the number of quality wishes, with consistent quality and execution across the enterprise, we will focus on a strategy moving us towards an organization concerned with outcomes (changing lives) rather than just interventions (wishes). Move us from 'nice to have' to 'must have' and supports our new brand positioning more effectively. Recognize we are the leader in granting life-changing, true wishes and our largest growth will need to come from underperforming and emerging markets, while maintaining the quality of our current operations.

With strategic pillar #3 focused on talent development –including board, staff and volunteers – we will continue our efforts to enhance and focus on innovative, collaborative, high-performing talent, who can achieve goals while being accountable. If we are to become a Global Benchmark Children's Charity, we need to assemble a 'Global Benchmark Pool of Talent' that exists across Make-A-Wish International and affiliates. Retention of top talent is a must. Training is essential. Recognize that we are unified, yet diverse, and leverage all human resources to achieve our plan.

We will also improve and focus on operational capacity that is scalable, consistent and easily implemented by both our mature and startup affiliates. Innovation and technology to support the strategic pillars and to increase the impact and potency of the organizational vision are essential. All members of Make-A-Wish are connected with the right business intelligence and technology tools anywhere, anytime, to any device.

Make-A-Wish employs nearly 450 paid staff between the international office and our 39 affiliates. Collectively, we work to enhance the organization's wish-granting activities and fundraising acumen. Our 39 affiliates are at the forefront in cultivating the necessary human capital to execute on our mission. Approximately 8,800 trained volunteers assist in providing the wish-granting experience worldwide. Volunteers also help in other capacities, including Board leadership, fundraising and event management, and other work that is vital to our organization. Our international office is guided by a Board of Directors that is comprised of some of the most accomplished and influential leaders in the world and representatives from our affiliate community. Similarly, each of our 39 affiliates has a board of directors made up of local community leaders. Make-A-Wish has forged strong relationships with many corporations at the global level, and scores more among individual affiliates. 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. 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, our revenues at Make-A-Wish International were more than $9.3 million through generous donations from individuals and corporations and affiliate fees. As a result of the efforts of our staff, volunteers and partners, Make-A-Wish is able to commit approximately 86% of these funds to our program activities. This speaks to our integrity and dedication to our mission, which the public recognizes.

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, the 39 affiliates of Make-A-Wish International reached approximately 15,000 eligible children with life-threatening medical conditions, so continued progress on our strategic plan is critical.

For the past several years, Make-A-Wish has been engaged in an essential conversation about our brand strategy. We have heard from hundreds of affiliate and chapter staff, donors, volunteers, medical professionals, in addition to our wish families. At the same time, our collective teams have exhausted hundreds of hours conducting and analyzing primary and secondary market research. The results of this work is the International version of the Make-A-Wish Brand Book, which we released in 2017. The Make-A-Wish brand is incredibly powerful and holds a significant presence in this world. We are all fortunate to play a part in its bright future. This brand book helps define the qualities that are so important to our brand and arms each of our affiliates with guidance to ensure we continue articulating our brand consistently in all that we do.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Make-A-Wish Foundation International

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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 Foundation International

Board of directors
as of 02/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Victor Nichols

Director of Bank of Hawaii, Revlon, and Zovio

Term: 2022 -

Howard Prince-Wright

Director Basil Capital Limited and Non-Executive Director Hellenic Petroleum Finance Plc

Arik Hybloom

Chief Financial Officer, BELKIN Vision

Javier Irarrázaval A.

Presidente, Director, Socio Trabajo con Sentido

Jayne Millard

Turtle & Hughes

Ishtiaq Baig

Baig Group

Dr. Kevin CH Lau

Founder and Medical Director of Trinity Medical Centre

Tasia Fillippatos

The Walt Disney Company

Mike Densmore

CEO, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria and Chairman, United Capital PLC

Jonathan Polin

Sanlam UK

Gilli Sinclair

CEO, Go Baby Go

Matthias Chika Mordi

CEO, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria and Chairman, United Capital PLC

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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • 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? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/25/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/25/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.