Magical experiences for children who need them most!

Carlsbad, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 46-0809190


Merlin's Magic Wand is a US-based children's foundation that offers magical experiences for children who need them most. We work with families, guardians, non-profit organizations, hospitals, hospices, and orphanages to make these experiences possible. Serving as the official foundation of Merlin Entertainments in the United States, we administer three magical programs: Magical Days Out, which provides tickets and travel grants for children to enjoy a day at a Merlin attraction; Magic on Tour, which takes the magic of Merlin to children who are unable to visit a Merlin attraction in person; and Magical Spaces, where we create highly themed and interactive spaces in partnership with local non-profit organizations.

Ruling year info


Foundation Manager

Alyson Barber

Main address


Carlsbad, CA 92008 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info


Population served info

Children and youth

NTEE code info

Public Foundations (T30)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Merlin's Magic Wand supports families with children ages 2-18 facing a serious illness, disability, or adversity.

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?

Magical Day Out

Merlin's Magic Wand provides complementary tickets to Merlin Entertainments attractions such as LEGOLAND® Parks, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers, SEA LIFE Aquariums, Madame Tussauds, The Dungeons. Travel Grants are also awarded.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Unique, highly interactive Merlin themed waiting and therapy rooms developed for hospitals and charity partners have been created for children too unwell to visit the local Merlin attractions.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Outreach visits to hospitals and other charitable organizations. May include costume characters, Madame Tussaud's wax figures, or Master Model Builders.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

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.

Merlin's Magic Wand may not be able to change the circumstances, but we can help create lifetime memories and bring smiles through three magical spells:

1. Providing a Magical Day Out and enhance wish trips to any of the over 130 Merlin Entertainments attractions across the globe, including: LEGOLAND® Parks, SEA LIFE Aquariums, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museums, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers, Peppa Pig World of Play, Peppa Pig Theme Park, and more. Magical Days Out can also include VIP and behind the scenes experiences for families. Travel grants are also available for families who need them.

2. Taking the Magic On Tour through community outreach visits to hospitals and other charitable organization sites.

3. Creating Merlin's Magic Spaces, uniquely designed interactive spaces installed within hospitals, treatment centers, and other charitable organization facilities. Our aim is to complete 2-4 per year.

Raise awareness and support for families and other children's charities to apply for a Day Out.

Develop partnerships with charitable organizations to provide a little distraction therapy through outreach visits from LEGOLAND® or SEA LIFE costume characters, Master Model Builders, Madame Tussaud's Wax figures.

Identify Merlin's Magic Space project partners across the country with a goal to install 2-4 per year.

Raise funds to support mission.

Network of Charity Champions and supporters.

Merlin's Magic Wand USA has provided over 160,00 tickets since 2013. Completed 11 Merlin's Magic Space projects and four mobile units to date, with more in the pipeline.

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.
  • 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 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

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

    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 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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2.53 over 9 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 13.8 over 9 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 10% over 9 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of MERLINS MAGIC WAND FOUNDATION’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$17,380 $50,888 -$81,822 $291,947 $221,925
As % of expenses -6.1% 17.4% -23.3% 151.5% 95.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$17,749 $50,888 -$81,822 $291,947 $221,925
As % of expenses -6.2% 17.4% -23.3% 151.5% 95.5%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $267,186 $343,945 $269,342 $484,598 $454,244
Total revenue, % change over prior year -77.2% 28.7% -21.7% 0.0% -6.3%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 100.0% 100.0% 89.0% 85.8% 100.0%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 11.0% 14.2% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $284,566 $293,057 $351,164 $192,651 $232,319
Total expenses, % change over prior year -76.3% 3.0% 19.8% 0.0% 20.6%
Personnel 43.8% 46.2% 46.3% 67.4% 73.4%
Professional fees 10.1% 5.5% 9.7% 8.6% 7.7%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 32.1% 32.9% 34.5% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 14.0% 15.4% 9.4% 24.0% 18.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $284,935 $293,057 $351,164 $192,651 $232,319
One month of savings $23,714 $24,421 $29,264 $16,054 $19,360
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $308,649 $317,478 $380,428 $208,705 $251,679

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022
Months of cash 14.7 16.6 13.3 27.5 43.4
Months of cash and investments 14.7 16.6 13.3 27.5 43.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 10.9 12.7 7.8 28.4 35.0
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022
Cash $348,163 $404,289 $390,056 $442,213 $839,278
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $28,315 $67,384 $33,674 $131,285 $62,847
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $2,257 $2,257 $2,257 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 31.9% 34.9% 50.4% 20.4% 24.9%
Unrestricted net assets $258,593 $309,481 $227,659 $456,520 $678,445
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $258,593 $309,481 $227,659 $456,520 $678,445

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Foundation Manager

Alyson Barber

Accomplished, results-oriented Fundraising Executive with 15+ years of experience, highly regarded for extensive knowledge across many aspects of development. Out-of-the-box thinker with proficient experience excelling in challenging environments, skilled at learning new concepts quickly, working well under pressure, and communicating ideas clearly and effectively. Enthusiastic team player and meticulous organizer who brings to the table an exceptional work ethic, seamless communication skills and a keen ability to evaluate, organize, and prioritize goals to achieve corporate targets.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 06/06/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Jeffrey Maupin

Merlin Entertainments Group

Term: 2020 -

Brian Shaw

Merlin Entertainments Group

Kevin Carr

Merlin Entertainments Group

Susan Eisma

Merlin Entertainments Group

Kurt Stocks

Merlin Entertainments Group

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/6/2022

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:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/06/2022

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • 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 have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.