Not-for-Profit Profile: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Jack Wilk

March 17, 2016

I have been working with the Make-A-Wish foundation as a Board member since 2011 and I have seen firsthand the impact this organization has on children who are diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Although the organization has been around for 35 years and is well-known by many, there are some interesting facts that I have learned through my involvement that I would like to share. 

First, Make-A-Wish is not only for children who are dying. It is not a "last wish." Today approximately 70 percent of wish kids overcome their medical conditions. We have medical technology, research and incredible care to thank for their survival.

Secondly, wishes are more than just a nice thing. A wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with a life-threatening medical condition. We believe that granting the one true wish of a child can help them feel better–and possibly even get better. Wishes remind kids of why they need to stay strong and to comply with their treatments. And it gives them and their family respite from what is very likely a very overwhelming time.

Third, wishes are more than gifts or single moments in time. They impact everyone involved – wish kids, families, volunteers, donors, medical professionals and communities.  For wish kids, just the experience of their wish come true can give them courage. Parents can finally feel like they can be optimistic and enjoy a renewed sense of hope. And still others realize all they have to offer the world through volunteer work or philanthropy.  

The work of Make-A-Wish is ongoing and needs more coverage to reach every child who could be helped by a wish.  The New York chapter grants approximately 625 wishes annually in the Metro area. However, we know based on the number of children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions each year that more than 1000 children in our chapter area annually become eligible for a wish. The harsh reality is that many kids who need a wish aren't receiving one.  That's our challenge.

If you're thinking about becoming involved with a charitable organization, I'd like to extend an invitation to learn more about the work we do at Make-A-Wish and to join us on our journey. There are many ways to be part of our mission, and I will tell you this: while a wish changes a child's life forever, it also changes the lives of everyone who is part of making that wish come true in the most unexpected and magical ways. It certainly has profoundly changed my life and perspective.  If you'd like to learn more about Make-A-Wish, please visit



About the author:  Jack Wilk is the Managing Partner of Wilk Auslander, which he founded in 1987.  A tax lawyer by training, Jack's practice has evolved to encompass general corporate work as well as real estate financing and deal structuring.