When I first came up with the idea of starting a non profit, all I knew for certain is that it would be focused on children and families in need, and some how connected to education. Eventually it became obvious to me that access to resources and opportunities outside of the classroom, which support academics in the classroom, would make a real impact on kids whose families couldn’t afford those kind of luxuries. I, along with a handful of friends, hashed out the what, when, where and how of it all, and somehow came up with the name The Wish List Project.
Over the last four years, I’ve become very familiar with the positives and negatives of choosing that name. For example, we’ve been mistaken for the online retailer Wish.com, as well as the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Of course, if we had the kind of budget they have, we could have our own building with programming space and a fully paid staff. And some day we will.
Today, I visited The Wishing Place. Jennifer Stolo, CEO of Make A Wish of Northeastern California and Northern Nevada invited me to take a tour of their amazing site nestled among upscale residences in Natomas. It houses their office space upstairs where all the “fairies” work, but downstairs is where the magic really shines through. The lobby invites you in to view photos on the walls and displayed in albums on the coffee table. Major donors are listed among the stars on the walls. Look up and colorful stars are suspended from the ceiling. Behind the giant wooden door is where children with life-threatening medical conditions are able to forget about their illness for a little while in preparation for their wish. Children are referred by medical staff or family members and then invited to spend a few hours with a staff member who asks them, “If you could wish for anything, what would it be?” A special box, a scroll, a video and drawing activities help each child to determine the answer. And then comes the best part, they make their wish by throwing their scroll into a big stone wishing well, just like Snow White’s.
When I walked out of that special place about an hour later, I sat in my car and jotted down all the ideas that overflowed from my brain. Honestly, when I and the other founders came up with the name The Wish List Project, we never even made the connection to what Make A Wish was doing. The only real similarity is that a grant is being received by a child. And yet, after my visit today, I can make all kinds of connections, especially the power and impact of it all.
Thank you Jennifer for your time and your willingness to share the true meaning of a WISH.Write comment (0 Comments)
2016 is almost over and many folks are saying good riddance, what with the crazy election cycle and negative news stories bombarding us daily, plus the loss of many icons and people we hold dear. But I prefer to focus on the positives of 2016, the reasons we should celebrate the year. So here goes, in no particular order:
Did I miss anything? What other good news can we celebrate as the year winds down? Feel free to comment below.
Happy New Year!!Write comment (0 Comments)
We recently took part in #GivingTuesday, a movement of charitable giving which helps others through the gift of time, donations, goods or your voice. As the day began, I thought a lot about why people contribute on Giving Tuesday, which in turn caused me to reflect on why I joined The Wish List Project.
Growing up I had the opportunity to attend a private school, a luxury that many of my neighbors were not afforded. As time progressed, I began to realize the difference that education in my youth made on my life, especially when compared with my childhood friends. I contribute much of my success now to a proper education and believe passionately that all children should get the opportunity that I had. A small difference when a child is young makes a large difference as they mature, and it has the potential to lead them down a different path in life. With the help of our generous donors, I firmly believe we can make an immense and lasting impact on our community's youth that will reshape their future as well as ours.Write comment (1 Comment)
You’ve eaten most of the Thanksgiving leftovers. You’ve saved lots of cash on Black Friday shopping deals. Perhaps you’re picking up a few more goodies minus the steep prices on Cyber Monday. That leaves one amazing opportunity - #GivingTuesday. Now’s your chance to give back a little of what you saved on those special shopping days and impact the lives of kids in your community in a very big way, like this:
Please join us on #GivingTuesday by making a donation to The Wish List Project’s Giving Tuesday and Beyond campaign.
Make the holidays happy for a boy or girl in your community.Write comment (0 Comments)
The Wish List Project is excited to announce the launch of our new and improved website which is now live at the same address: http://thewishlistproject.org The site's homepage welcomes supporters and visitors with a bold design, dramatic images and lots of new content focused on The Wish List Project's mission and impact in the community. The new site was designed by Mark Sanchez of Solar Flare Digital, and features a fresh new design, user friendly navigation, cool social sharing features and is easier to update with new content. You'll find everything you're looking for in a few easy clicks. Take a look around and enjoy! Visit TheWishListProject.org Let us know what you think.Write comment (2 Comments)
While helping my daughter with a school project on a recent Saturday morning, the local news was on t.v. in the background. While I sat at the kitchen table watching her complete the next section of her assignment, I had my ears tuned in to a few “feel good” stories about upcoming events around town.
Sacramento is one of the most philanthropic communities, both in terms of number of non-profits and number of dollars donated annually per capita. And since we’re coming up on the “giving season” when some 70% of charitable fundraising occurs, plus we’re all exhausted by the nasty political landscape this year, it wasn’t surprising that KCRA was focused on three stories about local organizations on this beautiful fall morning.
The first story highlighted volunteers preparing for the 5th Annual Bike and Toy Giveaway next month put on by the Sacramento Kings Foundation and Buzz Oates Charities. Eight local schools will be the recipients of 4,000 brand new bicycles and 4,000 wrapped toys. This story got my attention because a good friend of mine was one of the gift-wrappers.Write comment (0 Comments)