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Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

What is Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington's mission?
Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

How was Make-A-Wish founded?
Make-A-Wish traces its beginning to one boy's wish. In 1980, seven-year-old Chris Greicius was being treated for leukemia. Every day, he dreamed of becoming a police officer. On April 29, 1980, a caring group of Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) personnel started Chris's day with a tour of the city in a department helicopter, which also flew him to headquarters. Three cruisers and a motorcycle officer greeted him before his meeting with the DPS command staff. There, Chris was sworn in as the first honorary DPS patrolman in state history. On May 1, Chris donned a custom-tailored DPS uniform and took a motorcycle proficiency test so he could earn wings to pin on his uniform. On May 2, Chris was back in the hospital. He asked to arrange the room so he could always see his uniform and motorcycle helmet. A DPS officer presented him with his motorcycle wings. He accepted them with a smile that lit up the room. The following day, Chris passed away, but not before seeing his dream come true and experiencing the hope, strength and joy that came from receiving his wish.

Read more about how Make-A-Wish came to Alaska and Washington

What area is covered by this Make-A-Wish chapter?
Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington serves children throughout these states. Our chapter has offices in Seattle, Spokane and Anchorage.

How many wishes has Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington granted?
Our local Chapter has granted wishes to more than 5,400 children since our inception in 1986. Annually, our Chapter grants wishes to about 300 children yet we know that there are many more who qualify. Right now, for every child who receives the life-affirming gift of a wish experience, there is another child we are still trying to reach. 

Find out how you can help us achieve our vision to grant a wish to every eligible child.

A wish reaches far beyond the individual child who experiences it. It impacts an entire community. Dozens to hundreds of individuals  come together to make each wish come true. Ticket agents, sales clerks, chefs, volunteers – and even people who never actually meet the "wish child" – are involved in making each wish possible... A wish is not only often the turning point in a child’s health; it strengthens community and leaves a lasting impression on those who are involved. A recent national study confirms the impact of a wish.

How can I obtain more information about Make-A-Wish of Alaska and Washington?
Please call our office at 800.304.9474, visit us on Facebook or connect with us on YouTube and Twitter.

About Making Wishes Come True

Who is eligible to receive a wish?
Any child between the ages of 2½ and 18 (at the time of referral) with a physician-certified life-threatening illness or medical condition is eligible for a wish. The child must not have received a wish from Make-A-Wish or another wish-granting organization.

Children do not need “to be terminal” in order to qualify for a wish rather, the child must have a physician-certified life-threatening medical condition.

What do children wish for?
Wishes reflect a child's heartfelt desire and can range from something grand and complex to something simple and basic. Most wish requests fall into four categories:

  • I wish to go: Some Make-A-Wish kids wish to travel to a favorite theme park, while others wish to visit an exotic beach, go on a cruise or attend a major sporting event.
  • I wish to be: Children search the depths of their imagination when they wish to be someone for a day such as a fireman, a police officer or a ballerina.
  • I wish to meet: Many children wish to meet their favorite athlete, recording artist, movie star, cartoon character or public figure.
  • I wish to have: Children often wish for a special gift, like a computer, a play house, a shopping spree or something that they have coveted for a long time.

Read more about some of the  wishes we've recently granted

How are wishes fulfilled?
Make-A-Wish volunteer teams work in pairs to coordinate the details of each child's wish. Once a child's medical eligibility is confirmed, wish volunteers visit the family to determine the child's wish. Volunteers ask the child the magic question: "If you could have anything, go anywhere, meet anyone or be anyone, what would you wish for?" Inviting a child to imagine joy in the midst of a difficult time is an important part of the life-affirming and enriching process the wish experience offers.

How are wishes funded?
Wishes are made possible by contributions from individuals, companies and foundations. We receive no government funding. Raising enough funds to grant wishes to children in Alaska and Washington is completely dependent upon contributions from individuals in our local communities. To defray cash expenses, we also accept donated goods and services. On behalf of the wish children, any goods used for a wish, such as computers or toys, must be new. Learn how you can help support Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. 

What is the average cost of a wish?
Since no two wishes are alike, the cost associated with coordinating a wish varies depending upon the type and location of a wish. Make-A-Wish pays for all of the expenses associated with the wish experience, including the wish child's family who also experiences the trauma of diagnosis. When possible, donations of goods and services are sought to reduce cash expenses.

On average, a wish costs about $5,000. You can personally make a wish come true through our Adopt-A-Wish program.

Does the family contribute toward the wish?
Wish expenses are fully covered by the Make-A-Wish Chapter granting the wish. This often includes travel expenses, lodging, meals and even spending money. Our objective is to provide the family with a joyful, worry-free experience.

About Volunteering

What volunteer opportunities are available?
Make-A-Wish depends on the help of volunteers in every aspect of our work. Volunteers are involved in wish granting, fundraising, special events and providing administrative support in our offices. Visit the Volunteer section and get details about volunteering roles. 

What type of training do volunteers receive?
Wish granting volunteers undergo extensive training on wish granting procedures, working with sick children and how to handle emergencies that could arise during a wish. All volunteers who come into contact with wish families must undergo a criminal background check.

What is the expected time commitment?
Volunteer commitments vary depending upon the role you accept. We make every effort to match your availability and level of commitment with the needs of your volunteer assignment.

Are volunteers directly involved with wish children and families?
Wish granting volunteers have the highest level of involvement with children and their families. They make the initial contact with the family, work with the child to determine their heartfelt wish, and coordinate the wish granting details with Make-A-Wish staff. New wish granting volunteers undergo training and are partnered with an experienced volunteer to ensure that they are comfortable during the first meetings with the families.

How do I become a volunteer?
We're so glad you asked! To begin the volunteer process, review our volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in pursuing a volunteer opportunity, please contact our volunteer manager, Juli McClave, at 800.304.9474.

About Donating

How can I make a contribution to Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington?
Every contribution supports our Chapter’s ability to grant wishes to local children with life-threatening medical conditions. We rely on gifts from people like you to make this powerful, joyful and transformative work possible!

Making a cash donation to Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington is simple. Please call the office at 800.304.9474 or mail a check to 811 First Avenue, Suite 520, Seattle, WA 98104. Donations are also accepted online.

How can I help raise funds to support wishes?
There are many ways to help fund wishes. Whether you are considering sponsorship of a major event or a student coordinating a class project, our staff will provide you with the information and support you need. Learn more about giving options.

What are Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington’s sources of funding?
Each Make-A-Wish Chapter is responsible for raising and managing the funds needed to operate and grant the wishes of children within their territory. Funding for wishes comes from individual contributions, special events, schools, corporate donations and sponsorships, foundation grants, workplace giving programs, bequests and other deferred gifts. Learn more about how our Chapter manages our funds

There are many ways you can support wishes. Learn more by visiting our Ways to Help section. 

Does the Make-A-Wish use telemarketing?
Make-A-Wish does not use – or permit others to use on our behalf – telemarketing, door-to-door solicitations, or similar fundraising approaches.

Is my contribution tax-deductible?
Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity. As such, all cash contributions are deductible as allowed by law, as are certain in-kind contributions. Other donations, such as frequent flier miles, are not.

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Latest Status Update

  • Dr. Ponce de Leon had referred kids for wishes…but she never guessed she’d become a wish mom herself.
Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington
811 1st Ave #520
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-5300
Toll Free (800) 304-9474
Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington, Eastern Washington Office
104 S Freya St
Green Flag Bldg #210
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 458-2618
Toll Free (888) 790-7005
Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington, Alaska Office
430 W 7th Ave #110
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 258-9474
Toll Free (844) 510-9474