History

It all started with a single wish…

Make-A-Wish traces its inspiration to Christopher James Greicius, an energetic 7-year-old boy battling leukemia who wishes to be a police officer. In 1980, his Phoenix community came together to make his wish come true. Little did Chris know that his wish would create a movement that would transform millions of lives.

Today, the Make-A-Wish has been granting life-changing wishes for children and families for 40 years. After the start of Make-A-Wish in 1980 in the United States, Make-A-Wish International was officially formed in 1993 to serve five countries outside the U.S. – and now helps to serve children outside the United States in nearly 50 countries on 5 continents through its 39 Affiliates.

With the help of our donors and more than 43,000 volunteers around the world, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted more than 500,000 wishes worldwide. This means a life-changing wish is granted every 16 minutes on average.

As a global community, we are focused on the impact of a wish in every phase of the Wish Journey. Wishes have proven physical and emotional benefits that can give children with critical illnesses a higher chance of survival. And wishes not only help these children – they also have far-reaching, positive impacts on their families and communities. In other words, wishes are the driving force behind all we do because, put simply, wish experiences transform lives.

Thank you to his mother, Linda Pauling, the Greicius family and the founders for their tireless dedication to our mission!

Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

To grant the wish of every eligible child.

Our values serve as the map to attain our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child. They are a clear guide to our priorities, and lead the way in everything we do.

  • Child Focus: We always put wish children first.
  • Integrity: We are honest, transparent and respectful.
  • Impact: We deliver life-changing work.
  • Innovation: We are bold, imaginative and creative.
  • Community: We are a diverse group of people working together towards a common goal.

At Make-A-Wish® International, diversity and inclusion are part of our DNA. Together, we will continue to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our wish children, families, volunteers, supporters, and employees.

When we say we want to grant the wish of every eligible child, we mean it. And to do that, we want to foster an environment that is diverse and inclusive. They are the key drivers of creativity and innovation that will enable our wish children and families to reap the maximum benefit of a wish.

Our Mission

Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Our Vision

To grant the wish of every eligible child.

Our Values

Our values serve as the map to attain our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child. They are a clear guide to our priorities, and lead the way in everything we do.

  • Child Focus: We always put wish children first.
  • Integrity: We are honest, transparent and respectful.
  • Impact: We deliver life-changing work.
  • Innovation: We are bold, imaginative and creative.
  • Community: We are a diverse group of people working together towards a common goal.
Diversity & Inclusion

At Make-A-Wish® International, diversity and inclusion are part of our DNA. Together, we will continue to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our wish children, families, volunteers, supporters, and employees.

When we say we want to grant the wish of every eligible child, we mean it. And to do that, we want to foster an environment that is diverse and inclusive. They are the key drivers of creativity and innovation that will enable our wish children and families to reap the maximum benefit of a wish.

1980

Chris Greicius’ wish to be a police officer is granted. His wish inspires the creation of Make-A-Wish.

1983

Make-A-Wish Foundation of America is incorporated. President Ronald Reagan grants the first presidential wish to Amy.

1985

The “Stephanie in the Snow” video inspires the establishment of more chapters.

1988

Reader’s Digest article, “They Bring Joy to Sick Kids,” generates international awareness of Make-A-Wish.

1990

Make-A-Wish celebrates its 10th birthday and 10,000 wishes granted. Make-A-Wish receives the Citation for Volunteer Action Award from President George H.W. Bush

1993

Make-A-Wish International is formed to serve countries outside of the U.S.
1996: The Make-A-Wish website, wish.org, goes live.

2000

Make-A-Wish now serves every community in the U.S. Wishbone logo is replaced with a swirl and star logo. Over 75,000 wishes granted.

2004

Make-A-Wish selected as one of “America’s Greatest Brands.”

2010

First World Wish Day is celebrated around the world. Over 198,000 wishes granted.

2018

Make-A-Wish unveils brand refresh and establishes a permanent headquarters

2020

Make-A-Wish has granted more than 500,000 wishes, with the support of more than 43,000 volunteers globally.