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What is the history of the Make-A-Wish Foundation?

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Quick Answer

As of December 2015, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been providing unique experiences to terminally ill children in the United States and abroad for more than 34 years. In the spring of 1980, a group of future founders inspired by the positive impact the experience of receiving a final wish had on a young boy with leukemia opened discussions about the possibility of granting similar wishes. As of 2013, the foundation has granted more than 220,000 wishes in the United States.

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Full Answer

In January 1981, the Arizona Corporation Commission certified Chris Greicius Make-A-Wish Memorial, Inc. A few months later, Frank Salazar became the first official Make-A-Wish kid. During the first annual meeting of the corporation, members Allan Schmidt and Lynn Bergendahl were elected as president and vice president, respectively. Years of wish-granting followed, resulting in nationwide interest and support.

In May 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America was incorporated. Throughout the following decade, the foundation received support and contributions from the president of the United States, numerous retail businesses, airlines, sports teams, magazines and financial services companies. By the early 1990s, more than 60 chapters existed nationwide, contributing to several thousand wishes being granted per year. In 2011, the Wish Impact Study was established to determine the scope of impact each wish has on those involved. The following year, the foundation granted grant wishes to 14,000 children.

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