The Murdock Trust has funded grants and projects in the healthcare sector of the Pacific Northwest for nearly fifty years. Some of these grants support staff on the front lines of the sector. Others go to equipment or facilities that offer direct health services. But during this holiday season, we are especially mindful of another essential type of organization in the industry: nonprofits like Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington that help make life not just livable for those suffering from critical illness, but full of promise and dreams.
Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington has been granting wishes and delivering hope to children fighting critical illnesses since 1985. Across three offices in Seattle, Spokane, and Anchorage, they have delivered more than 7,500 wishes. From “I wish to meet a unicorn” to “I wish to have a quinceañera” to “I wish to paint the fountains at the Bellagio” (pictured right), children with illnesses are given a chance to ask for the thing they most want – and have it met by someone in their community.
By design, wishes are not delivered by staff but by volunteers in the child’s community. These 650 volunteers working on any given day are a beautiful expression of Make-A-Wish’s support network and community-minded mission. Though there are often plenty of qualified volunteers in urban areas like Seattle and Anchorage, it can be harder to fill this need in rural areas. In particular, volunteers from a variety of cultural backgrounds are needed to help meet the wishes of all children in the most meaningful way.
That is why we were honored to support the growth of an outreach program for this branch of Make-A-Wish. This program will help recruit and train volunteers in rural areas, as well as use technology to reach the most remote regions of Alaska and Washington. New training videos will also help ensure that helpers are equipped to work effectively in cross-cultural environments. Together, these things will help build the capacity of the organization in a sustainable and culturally sensitive way, working toward the goal of every single child’s wish being meaningfully met.
In this holiday season of wish lists and gifts, the Murdock Trust is cheered to support an organization that meets wishes year-round. We could not be more grateful for the volunteers, staff, and leaders that make these dreams possible. To all these workers, happy holidays and may you continue to make wishes come true!