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Chapter History and Awards

1980-1989

April 1980:
First wish was granted in Phoenix, AZ, that inspired the creation of Make-A-Wish®. Chris wanted to be a policeman for the day.

May 1983:
Make-A-Wish Western Pennsylvania grants its first wish. Bryan, a six-year-old from McKeesport, PA, wanted to visit his uncle in Texas for one of his famous piggyback rides.

April 1984:
The York Regional Office opened in April 1984. It oversees wish fulfillment and fund raising activities in Adams, Bedford, Franklin, Fulton and York counties.

October 1985:
Make-A-Wish grants its 100th wish. Richard, a four-year-old from Derry, PA, wanted to visit Walt Disney World®.

May 1988:
Kids for Wish Kids®, a fundraising program for school age children, began with events at Crafton Elementary School. Students and parents raised $2,000. Today, more than 300 schools participate in Kids for Wish Kids and Wishmakers on Campus® programs each year.

June 1989:
The 500th wish is granted. Megan is a 10-year-old from Valencia, PA, who met President George H. W. Bush.

Megan meets President George W. Bush 

Bryan, the First PA Wish Kid

firstwish

firstwish

1990-1999

March 1990:
Make-A-Wish Western Pennsylvania opens its first regional office, the Northwest Regional Office in Erie, to oversee wish fulfillment and fundraising activities in Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties.

December 1991:
Make-A-Wish Southern West Virginia, headquartered in Charleston, opens. It oversees wish fulfillment and fundraising activities in Boone, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Putnam, Raleigh, Roane, Summers, Wayne, Wirt, and Wyoming counties.

January 1992:
The 1,000th wish is fulfilled. Teddy, a barrel racing enthusiast from Pittsburgh, PA, asks for board and equipment for his horse.

September 1992:
The Southeast Regional Office, headquartered in Altoona, opens to oversee wish fulfillment and fundraising activities in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, and Somerset counties.

July 1994:
The Northeast Regional Office, headquartered in Punxsutawney, opens to oversee wish fulfillment and fundraising activities in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, and Potter counties.

March 1996:
The 2,000th wish is fulfilled. John is an 11-year-old from Pittsburgh, PA, who went on a day-long shopping spree.

January 1999:
The 3,000th wish is fulfilled. Seventeen-year-old Jason of Latrobe, PA, is a Civil War buff and asked for an authentic Union Army uniform.

2000-2009

January 2000:
Make-A-Wish Western Pennsylvania and Make-A-Wish Southern West Virginia became one chapter, with headquarters remaining in Pittsburgh, PA.

December 2000:
The 4,000th wish is fulfilled. Six-year-old Haleigh of Hugheston, WV, wished to visit Walt Disney World®.

December 2001:
Make-A-Wish Western Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia becomes the first chapter in the world to grant 500 wishes in one year. The 501st wish of 2001 was for a computer for Blaire, an 11-year-old from Smethport, PA.

May 2003:
The chapter celebrated 20 years of wish granting.

September 2005:
In September 2005, the Western Pennsylvania & Southern West Virginia chapter merged with the Northeastern Pennsylvania chapter creating Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania & Southern West Virginia. Headquarters remain in Pittsburgh.

Zack the palentologist with Meaty, his T-rex dinosaurOctober 2005:
In October 2005, the chapter granted its 7,000th wish. Zack wished for a giant T-rex in his backyard.

August 2006:
The chapter becomes the first Make-A-Wish chapter to grant more than 700 wishes in a year. We have continued to grant nearly 700 wishes or more each year since.

September 2006:
Our chapter receives Power of One Award, which is awarded to the top performing chapter, from Make-A-Wish America.

October 2006:
Anthony L. Bucci Excellence in Communications Ethics Award given by Duquesne University to Vice President of Communications Ann Hohn (now Chief Operating Officer)

May 2007:
Recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times for being the best Pittsburgh-area charity at keeping costs low on special events

September 2007:
Outstanding Performance Award, awarded to the top chapter in its category (large markets), from Make-A-Wish America.

November 2007:
Volunteer Virginia "Ginny" Kortz receives the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Reitred and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Pittsburgh.

December 2007:
Dr. Thomas Starzl, noted transplant pioneer and longtime Make-A-Wish supporter, receives the Bryan P. McClinton Award for his work with Make-A-Wish. The award was bestowed at the annual UPMC-sponsored Make-A-Wish Carnival.

May 2008:Stella! our mascot
The chapter celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its very first wish.

Make-A-Wish Greater PA and Southern WV 25th Anniversary Logo 

April 2008:
Stella! is introduced as the chapter mascot.

January 2009:
Wish kid Jacob of Connellsville, PA, becomes the 10,000th wish granted by the chapter when he met and skated with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  • Jacob signs his contract as a new player with Pens GM Ray Shero

  • Jacob, the newest Penguins player, holds a press conference

  • Captian Sidney Crosby helps his new teammate put on his jersey

  • Jacob puts on his Pens gear

  • Jacob skates with Matt Cooke and Sidney Crosby

  • Jacob tries to get one past Marc-Andre Fleury

Our Southern West Virginia Territory

Southern West Virginia Territory Map

Southern West Virginia Territory Map

2010-Present Day

June 2010:
Make-A-Wish Greater PA and Southern WV received the Good Neighbor Award from State Farm and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

October 2010:
Our chapter was named one of the Best Places to Work in Western Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Make-A-Wish ranked 8th out of all 61 finalists after employees completed an online survey.

October 2011:
Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia was presented with the Outstanding Chapter Achievement Award at the 2011 National Make-A-Wish Conference in Phoenix, AZ. The chapter also received a Katie Award in recognition of its efforts in growing a local donor into a national partnership.

 

May 2012:

Our 13,000th wish is granted to Bobby, who wanted to write and record a rap to inspire other young adults with cancer.  He collaborated on a track with Pittsburgh native rapper Mac Miller at Rostrum Records’ studio.

 

October 2012:

Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia was presented with the Outstanding Chapter Achievement Award for overall excellence in the large chapter category at the 2012 National Make-A-Wish Conference in Phoenix, AZ. The chapter also received an Outstanding Achievement in Fundraising Award (most ever raised by our chapter in one fiscal year) and a Katie Award in recognition of its efforts in growing a local donor into a national partnership.

September 2013:

Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia merges with Northern West Virginia chapter to become Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  With the new territory comes a new regional office in Morgantown, WV, two new staff members and a new board member.

Chapter territory map


Currently:
We have been recognized for our accomplishments, past and present: Our chapter received the Power of One Award from Make-A-Wish America, awarded to the top performing chapter (2006); Recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times for being the best Pittsburgh-area charity at keeping costs low on special events (2007); Outstanding Performance Award from Make-A-Wish America. Awarded to the top chapter in the large market category (2008); Our chapter was named one of the Best Places to Work in Western Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The Foundation ranked 8th out of all 61 finalists (2010); our chapter was presented with the Outstanding Chapter Achievement Award at the 2011 National Make-A-Wish Conference in Phoenix, AZ. The chapter also received a Katie Award in recognition of its efforts in growing a local donor into a national partnership; Once again, the chapter was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award for 2012. Also, we received The Outstanding Mission Delivery and Fundraising Awards in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

  • Madilyn's face-to-face meeting with a dolphin.

  • Wish kid Colton enjoying his time as a Lumberjack.

  • Fiona looked on with wonder at all the dinosaurs at Dorney Park.

  • Aubrey and Avria meet Mickey Mouse.

  • Tyler and the main locomotive conductors.

  • Pictured here is wish kid Makenna, at the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo courtesy of Garvis Toler)

Make-A-Wish® Greater PA and Southern WV named one of the Best Places to Work in Western PA by the Pittsburgh Business Times

Pittsburgh Business Times Best Places to Work Logo

Pittsburgh Business Times Best Places to Work Logo

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 Centre
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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