The Make-A-Wish Story

Our Mission, Vision and Values

The mission of Make-A-Wish International is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

We are dedicated to making every eligible child’s wish come true.

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.

Integrity: We approach every aspect of our work with unwavering standards of honesty, transparency and respect for wish recipients, their families and Make-A-Wish supporters.

Child Focus: Our business practices always put the interests of wish children first. Always.

Excellence: We aspire to best-in-class business practices, and we embrace the challenge to exceed expectations at every opportunity.

Community: We foster a collaborative, global community composed of staff, volunteers and donors with the collective ability to make the broadest possible range of wishes come true.

Inspiration: We are inspired by the examples of our wish kids and the actions of the entire Make-A-Wish community to approach our mission with life-affirming enthusiasm, imagination and creativity. As a result, we fill each wish experience and every interaction with hope, strength and joy.

Our Global Reach

Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980, when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities.

After the start of Make-A-Wish in the United States, interest in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions quickly spread to other nations. In 1993, Make-A-Wish International was officially formed to serve the five countries outside the U.S. - and now helps to serve children outside the United States in nearly 50 countries on five continents through its 38 affiliates. Make-A-Wish America grants the wishes of children in the United States through its 61 chapters. With the help of generous donors and over 32,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted approximately more than 350,000 wishes worldwide since 1980.

The First Wishes

Chris Greicius - The Wish That Inspired Make-A-Wish

The creation of Make-A-Wish was inspired in the U.S. in 1980 by the fulfillment of a wish of a 7-year-old boy with leukemia named Chris Greicius, who wished to be a policeman. His mother, several friends and a group of police officers, with the cooperation of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, granted his wish with a custom-made uniform, helmet, badge, and helicopter ride! After the wish, those involved were inspired and eager to bring that same hope, strength and joy they saw as a result of Chris’ wish, to more children. Their simple idea has led to the continued growth of the world’s largest wish-granting organization, now operating in nearly 50 countries.



Bopsy Salazar - The First "Make-A-Wish" Child

The magical relationship Make-A-Wish has formed with Disney® on a global scale began with Frank "Bopsy" Salazar, the first official wish child of Make-A-Wish. Like Chris, he was a 7-year-old boy in the U.S. who was diagnosed with leukemia and revered people in uniform. Make-A-Wish set out to grant his wish to be a firefighter, and thanks to wonderful support from our Disney friends, more fun was in store for his magical wish when he became the first of a long history of wish children to visit a Disney Theme Park.