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Frequently Asked Questions

Wishes

What's the most unusual wish you've ever done?
There have been several - we've sent a child to visit "where eagles live," had a child experience a landing and take-off from the deck of an aircraft carrier, granted a request for a dinosaur statue, made it possible for a child to be a Pittsburgh Power arena football player for a day and finally, made a little boy into a superhero.

Doesn't Make-A-Wish just send kids to Walt Disney World®?
No, Disney wishes are just 56% of all the wishes we do. Other popular requests include computers, shopping sprees, trips to Hawaii, celebrity meetings and swimming pools.

What if the child becomes sick again? Can they have another wish?
No, every eligible child may have one wish from Make-A-Wish. In addition, if a child has received a wish from another wish granting organization, they are ineligible to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish.

 

Zack and Meaty the T-rex

Zack and Meaty

Zack and Meaty

Referring A Child

How do you find the children?
The wish children are referred to us by their parents, physician, social worker, teacher or neighbor. Some kids even refer themselves. Anyone can contact us about how to refer a child to Make-A-Wish. But the family needs to be aware of and agree to the referral.

Are all of the children terminal?
No, Make-A-Wish fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. A great majority of the children we have helped are still alive today.

What illnesses qualify a child for a wish?
Conditions that generally qualify children for our services include, but are not limited to, various forms of cancer, heart disease, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and organ transplants. Children with more chronic conditions like cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease or spina bifida may qualify if their conditions are coupled with other complications and the combination is considered life-threatening.

Wish kid Tori

Wish kid Tori

Wish kid Tori

Volunteering

How much of a time commitment is needed for volunteers?
Make-A-Wish does not mandate specific time commitments for any volunteers. Some wishes, like gift wishes, are quickly and easily fulfilled. Some wishes, like travel wishes, could take longer because the family travels on their timetable.

I'm not 21 years old. Can I still volunteer for Make-A-Wish?
Although all wish volunteers must be 21 years old to work on wishes, there are a number of other volunteer opportunities including helping at events, working in the Make-A-Wish office or organizing a fundraiser at school.

Do I have to contribute to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer?
No, you do not have to make a contribution to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer. However, you will have to pay for a criminal background check which is required by Make-A-Wish® America.

Do wish volunteers travel with the family/child?
No, there are 60 other Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. When we send a wish family to another state, that chapter will help facilitate the wish.

Why are wishes handled by wish teams rather than individuals?
A two or three-person team provides a good support network when working on wishes. If one volunteer is busy, the other one can pick up the slack. And in emotional situations, it is good to have a wish partner to lean on. Finally, working in teams helps to protect volunteers from potential accusations of impropriety.

Nikita with her volunteers

Nikita with her volunteers

Donating

How do you pay for the wishes?
We rely entirely on private donations from individuals, companies, foundations, schools and corporations. We receive no government funds or grants.

How much of my donation actually goes towards the cost of wishes?
100% if you so designate. Our Wishmaker program makes it possible for you to direct your entire contribution to the cost of wishes. 

How much of Make-A-Wish's funds are spent on wishes?
More than 86% of all funds received go towards fulfilling wishes.

How are the rest of Make-A-Wish's funds spent?
9% is used on fund raising, 4.2% is used on administration and as stated above, more than 86% are used to make wishes come true.

Does Make-A-Wish conduct telemarketing campaigns?
No, the Foundation has a policy against telemarketing because it is considered intrusive and not cost-effective. However, be careful of sound-alike organizations that conduct aggressive telemarketing campaigns. Many donors are confused and think they are donating to Make-A-Wish. They are not.

Will my donation help local children or will it be sent to your national organization?
Donations raised in our chapter territory stay local to help fund wish granting of children in Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Donors can request that their donation be restricted to a specific geographic area, if desired.

Do you receive funding from the United Way?
While Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia is not a United Way agency, we do participate in its Contributor’s Choice program in many of the counties it serves. For the United Way of Allegheny County, Make-A-Wish’s Contributor's Choice code is #913. For more information on contributing through United Way in your county, please call our office at 1-800-676-WISH.

 

Exco Resources Donation

Coldwell Banker presents $100,000 to Make-A-Wish

Coldwell Banker presents $100,000 to Make-A-Wish

Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Rd
Oakwood Center, Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474
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