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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What is Make-A-Wish®?
Make-A-Wish helps a child and a family to navigate the stresses of a serious illness by fulfilling one personal, heartfelt wish for the child. The Foundation gives the child a magical, once-in-a-lifetime gift or experience — an interlude of respite and delight in the midst of hospitalizations and treatment schedules, physical limitations, and the fear and disappointments of a life-threatening illness.

What is your vision?
The vision of Make-A-Wish is that people everywhere will share the power of a wish®.

How did Make-A-Wish begin?
In 1980, a seven-year-old Phoenix boy with leukemia inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish® America. A group of officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety granted his wish to be a police officer by giving him a custom-made uniform, helmet, badge — even a helicopter ride! The young boy’s delight in having his wish granted inspired the group to form an organization which would grant special wishes of other children.

How are you structured?
Make-A-Wish America was founded to charter local chapters throughout the United States and its territories. Today there are 65 U.S. chapters and we can be found in 33 countries on five continents. Each chapter raises and spends its own funds, serving the children in its own territory. Each chapter also hosts families from other states.

When did your chapter start?
The Central California chapter was incorporated in 1986. It serves eight counties in the Central Valley: Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare.

How many wishes are granted?
This year, our chapter will grant approximately 91 wishes. We also host additional wishes for children from other states visiting Central California for a special wish experience.

How old must a child be to have a wish granted?
A child must be between the ages of 2½ and under 18 at the time of the referral.

What children are eligible?
Children who have been diagnosed by their physician as having a condition that is life-threatening, and who are between two and a half and under eighteen years of age, are eligible for a wish. More detailed guidelines on eligibility are provided to medical professionals on request. Make-A-Wish grants wishes regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status.

Who makes a wish referral?
A child may be referred by a healthcare professional, a parent or guardian or the child himself/herself. If the initial call comes from someone other than the parents or guardians, we ask that the parents or guardians be encouraged to call directly on behalf of their own child.

How does someone make a wish referral?
To refer a child, please fill out our referral form in the referral section.

Does the family’s financial status matter?
No, economic background does not affect whether a child is eligible for a wish.

What if a family does not want publicity?
We respect and protect a child’s and family’s right to privacy. Publicity will never be sought without permission, and a family may decline publicity at any time.

Do you sponsor chain letters?
Make-A-Wish does not participate in chain letters, telemarketing, door-to-door solicitation or other direct solicitation of wishes.

Does Make-A-Wish telemarket?
Make-A-Wish does not, under any circumstances, engage telemarketers to raise money, despite sometimes being confused with other organizations that do. In fact, Make-A-Wish has a nationwide policy against telephone and door-to-door solicitation. There are a number of other sound-alike organizations – some also with “wish” in their names. Make-A-Wish has no affiliation with any other wish-granting organization. If you receive a call from someone asking for a donation, that person does not represent Make-A-Wish.

If you have any additional questions not addressed here, please do not hesitate to contact us at 559-221-9474.

Donation & Financial Information

Can I donate my airline mileage to Make-A-Wish®?
Yes. Your donation of airline mileage can help us grant thousands of travel wishes. To donate your miles, please click here:

Donate Airline Miles

Can my financial contribution be tax deductible?
Yes. The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central California is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As such, financial contributions may be deductible for federal income tax purposes. Please consult with your financial advisor to determine the extent of tax deductibility.

How does Make-A-Wish spend the money donated to the Foundation?
At this time, approximately 73% of our funds go directly to program services.

What are your sources of funding?
Make-A-Wish Central California finances its work through individual contributions, corporate donations, foundation grants, special events and community events held on our behalf by area businesses, associations, clubs and schools. The Foundation also relies on in-kind contributions to help defer the cost of wishes. The Foundation does not do telephone or door-to-door solicitation. The Foundation also relies on contributions of products or services to defray the costs of operations.

Have you ever denied a wish due to lack of funding?
NO! Due to the generosity of community members, businesses and charitable foundations, we are able to grant the wishes of all eligible children that are referred to us. Also, in-kind donations of goods and services allow us to make every dollar donated for wish-granting purposes go twice as far.

Can we pay for a particular wish?
Yes, through our Adopt-A-Wish® program.

How much does an average wish cost?
A wish can be as simple as a birthday party and as elaborate as a trip to Hawaii or Walt Disney World® Resort. The average cost of a wish for our chapter is approximately $6,500.

How can we help raise money?
There are many ways to help, from school and community programs, to individual and corporate gifts, to sponsoring special events. Call the office for details.

Is there a minimum donation?
There is no minimum donation — a gift of any size will help touch the lives of our wish children and their families, creating precious memories.

What kinds of donations do you accept?
We accept gifts of cash, stock, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, life insurance, real property, in-kind donations of goods and services, vehicle donations, and frequent flier miles. The Foundation accepts donations in accordance with the gift acceptance policies established by the Board of Directors.

Volunteer FAQ

Do you have volunteer opportunities?
Volunteers are the foundation of our organization. Our chapter has over 100 volunteers and only a small professional staff. In addition, a volunteer Board of Directors governs the Foundation. We offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities involving granting wishes, office help and fundraising. Call our offices at (559) 221-9474 for specific information.

How do I apply?
You may apply in one of two ways:
  1. You may attend one of our Volunteer Orientation sessions. These orientation meetings are held every two months in the Central Valley area. If you are out of this area, call the office and we will fill you in on what is available in your community.
  2. You may print, complete, and mail/fax the required information found here: Volunteer Application and Instructions
What kind of commitment is there?
Commitment levels vary, depending on your volunteer position. You may choose to become heavily involved or you may sign up for special events one at a time.

All volunteers at Make-A-Wish are charged with the fragile and beautiful business of making dreams come true. It’s an important and precious job. We do expect a high level of commitment and professionalism from our volunteers. But the rewards are tremendous!

Are volunteers very involved with the children?
Of all our volunteer positions, wish volunteers offer the highest level of involvement with wish children and their families. Wish volunteers work with the wish child and family to determine the child’s most heartfelt wish. After an initial meeting, the wish details are completed by staff and the wish team revisits the child to complete the wish. Our emphasis is on delivering a one-of-a-kind wish experience, rather than on developing ongoing relationships with families or children.

Do you have volunteer positions that aren’t emotionally demanding?
Some people would like to help because they relate to our mission, but would prefer little or no direct involvement with the families. That can be accommodated. All our volunteer positions contribute equally to our mission and bring joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families.

Contact Us

Make-A-Wish® Central California

351 W. Cromwell Ave., Suite 112-A
Fresno, CA 93711

Phone: (559) 221-9474
Fax: (559) 221-9472

Kern County Office

5330 Office Center Court, Suite 62
Bakersfield, CA 93309

Phone: (661) 634-9474
Fax: (661) 634-9374

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Latest Status Update

  • Valley Vines & Wishes will feature tasting tables with fine wines, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and wine pull. Come experience the Power of a Wish® first-hand with a local wish child. Get your tickets today by going to #ValleyVines&Wishes

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Make-A-Wish® Central California
351 W. Cromwell Ave.
Suite 112-A
Fresno, CA 93711
(559) 221-9474