Chief Executive Officer
National Board of Directors
Like many other organizations, we began this year facing profound changes in the charitable giving environment, and we needed the courage to respond. We knew it was time to reorient our organization and make a new beginning in better positioning ourselves to successfully carry us forward.
When courage was called for, Children’s Wish responded. We had a transformational year, grounded in our belief in the power of a wish and the commitment never to deny an eligible child their most heartfelt wish.
Our goal was to seize the opportunity to refresh our mandate, to work more deeply with our healthcare partners to broaden the range of children to whom we grant wishes, to seek out new donors and re-energize current donors with our new vision, and to reach out to more Canadian families. We were prepared to take some risks to make a new beginning.
To enable this transition, The Children’s Wish Foundation relied on the strength of our Forever Fund. While the Board of Directors approved an operating deficit, our focus moving forward is to ensure that, as the premier wish granting charity in Canada, we secure the funds required now and into the future to sustain the joy that comes from granting a wish.
This past year, we completed a record 1,195 wishes, 219 more than the year before. We saw an increase in approved wish referrals, up 220 over the previous year for a total of 1,451. To support our refreshed mandate, we needed to better engage our donor partners and invite new donors to support our change. We had outstanding support and commitment from our donor partners to help us grant even more wishes this year.
Our responsiveness to the needs of children in communities across the country has always been a hallmark of Children’s Wish. We responded to the call from our medical community partners to broaden the range of children to whom we grant wishes. Now children with serious genetic and neurological diagnoses, like severe cystic fibrosis or cerebral palsy, are part of the Children’s Wish family. Through our expanded wish-granting , we have strengthened our long-standing relationships with referring healthcare partners and developed new relationships with medical teams in the complex care arena.
In October 2015, we launched our More Wishes, More Wonders national major giving Campaign. The campaign has garnered the support of current and new donors, including our largest-ever multi-year pledge from the Slaight Family Foundation, recognizing Children’s Wish as an agent of change in the charitable sector. The goal of the More Wishes, More Wonders campaign is to raise $10 million by 2021. To date, we are well on track to meeting our goal, and have already raised over $3 million and referred nearly 200 complex care children for their wishes.
As Canada’s leading wish-granting charity, we continue to refine our operational approach to wish granting. The quality of our wish granting is second to none, and is a testament to the exceptional talent of our teams across the country.
Organizationally, we undertook several initiatives this year to further enhance our operational excellence. This work includes a review of our organizational governance model with a view to optimizing our internal structures; working to be recognized as a leading employer in the not-for-profit sector; and, developing new ways to engage with our stakeholders through new and meaningful communications.
As we look ahead to the coming year, we do so with tremendous optimism. We are proud of the profound impact Children’s Wish has had on the lives of millions of Canadians in towns and cities across Canada over the past thirty-one years. We must continue to lean into the challenges and opportunities facing the charitable sector and act responsibly, with courage, collaboration and creativity.
The strength of our brand; our relationships with our healthcare partners; the tireless commitment of donors and volunteers; and the rigour we apply to our operational effectiveness are foundational to our ongoing success – success that can only be measured by the size of the smile a wish can bring.
On behalf of everyone at The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and the wish kids we have supported, a heartfelt thank you to all who have helped make the power of a wish possible.