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Make a Wish Alternatives: 25 Wish-Granting Charities for Kids

Make a Wish Alternatives: 25 Wish-Granting Charities for Kids

Make a Wish isn’t the only nonprofit that helps children make their dreams come true! There are actually many different organizations that help critical or terminally ill children make their hopes a reality.

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In this article, we’ll explore 25 wish-granting organizations like Make a Wish Foundation. We’ll talk about who is eligible and how you can get the help that you need.

Wish-Granting Organizations for Children

If your child has dream they want to experience, there are many organizations that can help! As you review the following lists, please consider your options carefully. Many organizations will not help you if you have already received help from another organization.

Make a Wish Foundation

Of course, the most obvious option is the Make a Wish Foundation. This internationally-recognized charity has granted over 500,000 wishes worldwide. They focus on serving children with critical or terminal illnesses.

In order to be eligible for help from Make a Wish, your child must meet the following criteria:

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  • Your child must be between 2 1/2 and 18 years old.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a critical illness. Critical illnesses are progressive, degenerative or malignant conditions that endanger the child’s life.
  • Your child cannot have received help from another wish-granting organization.

Anyone can refer an eligible child to Make a Wish. This includes the child, the parents, family members, or medical professionals. The referral can be completed online.

According to the Make a Wish Foundation, wishes tend to fall into one of five categories: having, meeting, being, giving, and going. This organization has granted many different types of dreams, from shopping sprees to celebrity interactions to Disney vacations. Although there are some limitations, they do their best to accommodate the original wish.

For example, they cannot make structural alterations to your house but they can do a bedroom makeover. They can’t install an in-ground pool, but they can offer an above-ground pool or hot tub. They can’t buy cars or vehicles, but they may grant jet skis, snowmobiles or ATVs depending on the child’s age and doctor’s approval. They can’t offer trained service dogs but they can provide companion pets.

Cherished Creations

Cherished Creations is a small wish-granting organization that serves children and young adults who are under age 22. This organization grants wishes through their Dream program and offers a separate Special Requests program that helps families provide proper home care and nurturing.

In order to be eligible, you must meet these requirements:

  • The child or young adult must be age 21 or under.
  • The child must be diagnosed with a serious illness.
  • The dream must take place within the United States.

To get help from this organization, you must be referred by someone else. You can ask your hospital staff, physician, social worker or clergy to refer your child to this program. The application forms are available on the Cherished Creations website.

Children’s Wish Foundation International

There are many different types of assistance provided by CWFI. This organization provides help with simple gifts for children in the hospital, quick getaways for families in need and more. They also have a program like Make a Wish that provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences for eligible children.

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In order to be eligible, your child must be under the age of 18 and diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. You can apply online.

If your child is not developmentally old enough to verbalize their wish, they may be eligible for the Young Minds Program instead. This program provides things like rocking chairs, toys, dolls, and other items.

Dream Factory

The Dream Factory serves children who are terminally ill, as well as those with chronic health conditions and disorders. Children under age 18 with chronic conditions like seizure disorders and Type 1 Diabetes are also eligible. The average value of a dream from this organization is around $5,000.

In order to be eligible from a Dream from the Dream Factory, your child must meet these criteria:

  • Your child must be between 3 and 18 years old.
  • Your child must be able to communicate their dream to the volunteers.
  • Your child must have a critical or chronic illness that is documented and confirmed by a physician.
  • Your child cannot have received a wish from a different wish-granting organization.
  • Your child must live in an area with a Dream Factory chapter.

There are currently Dream Factory chapters in the following states: Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

You can refer a child to the Dream Factory by using their online form.

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Eva’s Butterfly Wishes for Rare Children

Eva’s Butterfly Wishes provides a child-centered experience for children who are affected with a rare disease or disorder. Each experience can cost up to $2,500.

Some of the experiences offered by this program include trips to the zoo, a home visit by a costumed character, a special dining experience, or travel to an event or destination.

This program is administered by NORD, an organization that provides financial assistance to people battling rare conditions. To apply, you will need to call NORD at (877) 291-7813 or email [email protected].

Kids Wish Network

Kids Wish Network provides a variety of supportive services that help families afflicted by pediatric illnesses. Their programs can provide help with holidays, funeral assistance, and more.

In order to qualify for a Lifetime Wish, your child must meet these requirements:

  • Your child must be between the ages of 3 and 18 years old.
  • Your child must be able to communicate verbally or non-verbally.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
  • Your child cannot have received help from another wish-granting organization.

If you are eligible, you can nominate your child using the form on the Kids Wish Network website. Even if your child isn’t eligible for a Lifetime Wish, they may be eligible for the Hero of the Month program!

Marty Lyons Foundation

The Marty Lyons Foundation helps fill wishes. In order to be eligible, your child must be between the ages of 3 and 17. They must have been diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness.

The wishes they grant range from celebrity meet-and-greets to Key West fishing trips. They can also help with technology items, concert tickets, backyard renovations and more. One of their most notable events involved a winter trip to Vermont for a child who had never seen snow before. The average cost for these experiences is around $6,500.

This organization currently only serves the following states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

You can access the application instructions on the Marty Lyons Foundation website.

Quinn’s List

As you can tell, many of the wish-granting organizations do not serve children under the age of three. The Quinn Madeline Foundation is different. Named after Quinn Madeleine Linzer, a brave Niemann-Pick Disease warrior who died before the age of three, this foundation specifically creates memories for children under the age of three.

In order to be eligible for help from this foundation, your child must be under the age of three and diagnosed with a terminal metabolic disorder. You can get more information on the Quinn’s List website.

Western Wishes

Western Wishes specializes in fulfilling dreams that align with the western way of life. They mainly serve ranch-raised children, as well as those who are interested in rodeo and horse show competitions.

In addition to terminally ill children, this organization also serves those who have severe spinal cord injuries, head injuries, as well as survivors of cancer, cerebral palsy, heart conditions and muscular dystrophy.

To apply for this assistance, you need to reach out to the program director.

Outdoor Adventure Wishes

Some of these organizations specialize in connecting eligible children with hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventures. If your child is interested, we’ve found a few options!

Catch a Dream Foundation

The Catch a Dream Foundation brings children outdoors on a hunting or fishing adventure!

In order to be eligible, your child must meet these criteria:

  • Your child must be a US or Canadian citizen.
  • Your child must be between the ages of 6 and 18.
  • Your child must have a qualifying life-threatening illness, as documented by a physician.
  • Your child cannot have already received another hunting or fishing grant.

The type of adventures available may be dictated by your child’s age. For example, children must be at least 8 years old to go hunting. To hunt big game like moose or bear, the child must be at least 12 years old. For deep-sea or offshore fishing, the child must be at least 10 years old. Smaller game and freshwater fishing is available to children at younger ages.

In order to apply, you’ll need to fill out an application. Your child will need to specify their top three hunting or fishing dreams on that application.

Hunt of a Lifetime

Hunt of a Lifetime is an organization that provides hunting and fishing experiences. Theis organization partners with several media sponsors and outfitters to help coordinate these experiences.

In order to be eligible for a trip from Hunt of a Lifetime, your child must meet these criteria:

  • Your child must be age 21 or under.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or disability.
  • You must submit a medical release form.

The application must be printed and mailed in. You can find it on the Hunt of a Lifetime website.

United Special Sportsman Alliance Inc.

This organization offers free outdoor adventures for critically ill or disabled youth, adults and veterans! When a child is selected for an adventure, they are welcome to bring along a parent, guardian or caretaker to help.

You don’t need to bring any gear or anything unless you want to. If travel is required, USSA may be able to help finance or subsidize your travel expenses. However, they ask that you contribute if you can so that they can grant more wishes for other people too.

If you get a trophy fish or game animal on your adventure, USSA may be able to help you with free mounting from their network of taxidermists as well.

In order to be eligible for an outdoor wish from USSA, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must live in the United States.
  • You must be at least two years old.
  • You must have a life-threatening illness or a disability.

This organization gives priority to those with life-threatening illnesses. People with disabilities are still eligible and may be awarded a trip if there is enough funding available.

You can apply on the USSA website.

Wishes for Kids with Cancer

Although organizations like Make a Wish serve all children regardless of diagnosis, there are some wish-granting organizations that exclusively serve pediatric cancer patients.

Clayton Dabney for Kids with Cancer

Children who are in the final stages of terminal cancer may be eligible for assistance from Clayton Dabney for Kids with Cancer. They can grant wishes, provide gifts offer financial assistance. There is a $2,500 limit per family.

In order to be eligible, your child will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your child must be diagnosed with cancer or a cancer-related illness.
  • Your child must be terminal and in the last stages of the illness.
  • Your child mut be 18 or younger. Those who are 21 and under may be eligible if they were diagnosed before age 18 and are still being treated in a pediatric facility.
  • Your family must have been low income before the diagnosis occurred.

In order to receive help, your hospital or hospice care facility must complete a referral. You can ask them to download the forms from the Clayton Dabney website and submit them over fax to 888-374-013

Elle Foundation

The Elle Foundation helps children who have experienced a relapse of cancer receive a second wish. In order to be eligible for help from this organization, you must have already participated in a wish from another organization.

In order to be eligible, your child must match these guidelines:

  • Your child must be age 18 or under.
  • Your child must have been in remission for at least 24 months before the relapse or secondary cancer was diagnosed.
  • Your child must have participated in a first wish more than two years ago.

If your child is eligible, you can access the forms on the Elle Foundation website.

Go4theGoal

Go4theGoal helps families who are dealing with pediatric cancer. This organization provides wish-granting services for things like tablets or VIP experiences. They can also provide financial assistance with household bills, medical-related travel costs, tuition assistance and more.

In order to get help from this organization, a social worker must refer you. Ask your hospital’s social worker to contact them on your behalf!

Wigs & Wishes

Children with terminal cancer can apply to have a wish granted by Wigs & Wishes!

This organization does not have a lot of information about their program on their website but they do offer some videos about previous hopes that have been granted in the past. It appears that they have helped people go to Disney, meet superheroes, and so much more.

You can apply using the contact form on the Wigs & Wishes website.

Local Wish-Granting Organizations

Some of the wish-granting organizations only serve specific states or communities. This helps them use their funding more effectively in their communities.

A Special Wish (Ohio & Chicago IL)

Children under the age of 20 years old may be able to receive A Special Wish!

In order to be eligible:

  • Your child must be age 20 or younger.
  • Your child must live in Ohio or Chicago, Illinois.
  • Your child cannot have received help from another wish-granting organization.

If you are eligible, you can apply on the foundation’s website.

Children’s Wishes (Rhode Island)

Children’s Wishes helps Rhode Island children only.

In order to be eligible:

  • Your child must live in Rhode Island.
  • Your child must be between 2 1/2 and 18 years old.
  • Your child must have a life-threatening medical condition that is malignant, progressive or degenerative.

To refer your child or another child, use the printable Wish Referral Form on the Children’s Wishes website.

Dreams Come True (NE Florida & SE Georgia)

Dreams Come True realize dreams for children in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.

In order to be eligible, your child must meet these parameters:

  • Your child must be between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 years old.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
  • Your child must live in or receive treatment in Northeast Florida or Southeast Georgia.
  • Your child must not have already received a wish from another organization.

You can fill out the referral form on the website or ask your provider to phone in a referral on your behalf.

Indiana Wish (Indiana)

This organization helps Hoosier children create memories. The average cost of an experience from this organization is around $12,000.

In order to be eligible for help from this organization, your child must live in Indiana, be under age 18, and have a life-threatening illness.

You can fill out the family and friend referral form on the Indiana Wish website.

New Hope for Kids (Central FL)

New Hope for Kids grants wishes for children who are age 18 and under in the Central Florida area. They serve any child who has a life-threatening illness, which is defined as an illness that will likely shorten the child’s full life expectancy.

They have granted over 1,700 wishes so far! There is a limit of one wish per family. Get more details on their application page.

Rainbow Connection (Michigan)

Children in Michigan who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness may be able to have a wish fulfilled through Rainbow Connection.

In order to be eligible, your child must meet these requirements:

  • Your child must live in Michigan.
  • Your child must be between 2 and 18 years old.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
  • Your child cannot have already received a wish from another organization.

You can apply online or by calling Rainbow Connection.

Wishes & More (Minnesota)

Wishes & More create extraordinary experiences for children who are dealing with severe diagnoses. These experiences are meant to create lifetime memories.

In order to be eligible, your child must meet these guidelines:

  • Your child must be age 18 or under.
  • Your child must live in Minnesota and be treated in a Minnesota facility.
  • Your child cannot have already received a wish from another wish-granting organization.

If you meet the requirements, you can submit the referral form on the Wishes & More website.

Wishes Can Happen (NE Ohio)

Wishes Can Happen serves Northeast Ohio children with life-threatening illnesses. This organization invites anyone to refer a child, even if they do it anonymously.

Some of the dreams granted by this organization include installing outdoor play structures, Disney cruises, swimming with sharks, and organizing a Princess for a Day event.

In order to be eligible, your child must meet these requirements:

  • Your child must live in Northeast Ohio.
  • Your child must be between 3 and 21 years old.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
  • Your child cannot have already received a wish from another wish-granting organization.

You can submit your referral online or by calling (330) 966-0043.

Wishing Star Foundation (North ID & WA)

The Wishing Star Foundation serves children who live in Eastern Washington or Northern Idaho. The wishes from this organization could include tickets to a local event, travel to Disney and more!

In order to be eligible, your child must meet this criteria:

  • Your child must be between the ages of 3 and 21.
  • Your child must live in Spokane, Tri-Cities or Northern Idaho.
  • Your child must be diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening condition.

This organization may also help with medical travel and Christmas gifts as well. Apply on their website!

Summary

If you have a child with a terminal or life-threatening diagnosis, there are more than 20 programs nationwide like Make a Wish. These wish-granting organizations can help your child’s reams come true and help your family make memories that will last forever. Contact the organizations on this list to apply!