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Granting Wishes and Managing Funds

Our Chapter's Story














Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia was founded in May 1983 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bryan was a seven-year-old cancer patient who wanted to visit his favorite uncle in Texas for one of his famous piggy-back rides. Bryan lived for 5½ years after his wish was fulfilled. In grateful appreciation, his family made a gift to Make-A-Wish that began our endowment program.

The Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia chapter has grown steadily with the help of caring people who volunteer their time and support. Thirteen wishes were fulfilled in the first year. Now, 34-years later, more than 17,500 wishes have been completed. At any given time, there are between 550 and 650 wishes pending.We are the first chapter in the world to fulfill more than 700 wishes in one year.

Our chapter was once four chapters that now operate jointly. It includes 57 counties in western, central and northeastern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The chapter is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has six regional offices in Charleston and Morgantown, WV, and Erie, Pottsville, Punxsutawney, Scranton and York, PA. The President and CEO is Judith Stone.


Wishes Granted

Wishes

The most popular wish is for a trip to Walt Disney World® in Orlando, Florida; 51% of the wish children ask to "meet Mickey Mouse." Other popular wishes include play sets, home entertainment centers, computers, celebrity meetings and trips to Hawaii and other sites around the country.  In Fiscal Year 2016, our chapter granted 701 wishes.

Make-A-Wish® encourages the entire family to be part of the wish experience, knowing that parents and siblings need magic just as much as the wish child. The average cost of a wish is $4,400. This is based on the cost of a trip to the Walt Disney World® resort for a family of four for seven days and six nights.

Most Requested Wishes

Disney Resorts    349
Hawaii  33
Other Travel
 70
International Travel   26
Shopping Sprees or Parties   49
Other Gifts
 76
Cruises
 25
Celebrity Meetings
 39
Play sets/Play houses
 23
Swimming Pools   8
Occupational “I want to be…”   3

Funding Sources

Most of our funding comes from individuals. Other funding sources include corporations, foundations, community organizations, schools and churches.

Allocation of Expenses

More than 85% of all money raised is used to grant wishes. The chapter has an endowment that it hopes one day can pay for all administration and fund raising costs. Make-A-Wish is proud of the way it manages the generous contributions it receives from individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations. 85.6% of all donations fund wish granting activities. This percentage well exceeds the standard upheld by organizations monitoring the work of charities.

To view our most recent audited financial statement, in PDF format, please click here.

To view Make-A-Wish’s most recently available IRS Form 990, please click here.


Conflict of Interest and Ethics Statements Policy

Chapters shall maintain a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Statement as provided by the National Office for each employee, board member, and volunteer who has direct contact with children, access to confidential information, or access to chapter funds. Such statements must be signed upon date of hire, election, or commencement of volunteer service, and at least annually thereafter.

Whistle-Blower Hotline Policy

Chapters shall inform their employees and volunteers at least annually of the existence of a toll-free, confidential whistle-blower hotline through which they can report suspected fraud or other wrongdoing within the organization. Chapters shall not retaliate against any individual who, in good faith, reports alleged improprieties through the whistle-blower hotline or otherwise. 

Permanent Documents Policy

Chapters shall permanently maintain the following chapter-related documents, files and records in the chapter’s headquarters: articles of incorporation; incorporation certificate; bylaws; IRS determination letter; tax exemption certificates; fully-executed chapter agreement; federal and state information returns; audited financial statements; and the minutes of all meetings of the board of directors and all board committees (e.g., Executive Committee, Audit & Finance Committee, Wish Committee, etc.). 

Other Document Retention/Destruction Policy

Chapters shall maintain all original wish files, personnel files, volunteer files, financial files and donor files, as well as all non-current contracts and leases in the chapter’s headquarters or other business premises controlled by the chapter, for a minimum of seven years or such longer period as may be required by applicable state law; however, if a chapter becomes aware of any pending, threatened, or reasonably foreseeable audits, litigation, government investigations, or similar proceedings, it shall ensure that no potentially relevant documents are knowingly destroyed by any officer, director, employee, volunteer, or other representative of the chapter.

Executive Compensation Policy

Chapters shall ensure: (1) that the compensation of their Chief Executive, other staff officers and “key employees” (as defined by the IRS) is not only “reasonable,” but also approved by the chapter’s board of directors, or a board appointed committee, without the involvement of any individual with a conflict of interest; (2) that the board or committee obtains and relies on appropriate comparability data before making its decision; and (3) that the basis for the decision approving the compensation arrangement is adequately documented at the time it is made. 

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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