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Fast Facts

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Make-A-Wish Foundation® International Fast Facts

  • Make-A-Wish Foundation International’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation International is the largest wish-granting organization in the world.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation International serves children outside the United States while the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America serves children within the United States. Both headquarters are located in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has collectively granted the wishes of more than 240,000 children with life-threatening medical conditions around the world.
  • In 2008 alone, over 20,000 wishes were granted. 13,425 were granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and 7,165 were granted outside of the United States, led by affiliates of Make-A-Wish Foundation International.
  • There are 36 affiliates of Make-A-Wish Foundation International. Since 2008, 8 new affiliates have officially joined the organization, which highlights the rapid growth of the mission around the world. These new affiliates include Peru, Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Spain, Turkey and finally Thailand, the newest affiliate in 2010.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation International has received inquires from over 25 countries seeking to open a Make-A-Wish office in their part of the world.
  • Each year, over 30,000 volunteers generously give their time, talents and energy to fulfill the Make-A-Wish mission around the globe.
  • To qualify for a wish, the child must be at least 3 years of age, but have not yet reached their 18th birthday and must not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization. A child can be referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation by a parent or guardian, a medical professional, or by the child.
  • Following referral, a physician must certify that the child has a life-threatening medical condition. There are no other qualifications based on sex, race, religion, socioeconomic status or any other demographic category.
  • Typically children’s wishes fall into four categories: To Be (e.g., a zookeeper, a firefighter, a baker), To Meet (e.g., a favorite celebrity or athlete), To Have (e.g., a computer, a playhouse, a puppy), or To Go (e.g., to a theme park, the beach, a major sporting event).
  • For the fifth straight year, Make-A-Wish Foundation International has received the highest four star rating from Charity Navigator, for allocating and growing its finances in the most fiscally responsible way.
  • For every dollar donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation International, more than 85 percent goes towards wish granting, which exceeds program service allocation standards set forth by the international charity watchdog groups.
  • The United Nation’s Department of Public Information has honored Make-A-Wish Foundation International by selecting it to be associated with the UN as a Non-Governmental Organization.

The Make-A-Wish mission and message are about the life-affirming, hope-giving aspects of the wish experience. We never use the words “terminal” or “dying” to refer to a wish child, nor do we unduly emphasize a child’s illness, medical treatment or death.