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Frequently Asked Questions


What percentage of my donation goes directly to granting wishes?
Approximately 76% of every dollar you contribute to Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley is used directly to help grant wishes. This percentage far exceeds the standard upheld by organizations monitoring the work of charities.

Does “life-threatening” mean “terminal?”

No. A life-threatening illness is not necessarily a terminal illness. Many of our wish children go on to lead healthy lives, remembering fondly the wish that in many cases was an integral part of their healing process.

How much does it cost a family to have a wish granted?

Nothing. There is no cost to the family, we take care of everything.

What can a child wish for?

We like to say that a wish is only limited by a child’s imagination; however, some restrictions do apply to protect the safety of the child.

How old does a child have to be to have a wish granted?

The child must be older than 2 1/2 and younger than 18 at the time they are referred to the Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley to have a wish granted.

Can the child’s family participate in the wish?

Yes, the wish experience extends to the entire, immediate family living in the home, knowing that parents and siblings want to share in the magic too.

What are the medical criteria for having a wish granted?

To qualify for a wish, the child must have a diagnosed illness that is considered to be life-threatening by their physician. We do consider wishes on a case-by-case basis, so it is always best to contact us if there is a question as to whether a child qualifies.

Can a child qualify for a wish if they have received one from another wish-granting organization?

No, a child that has received a wish from another wish granting organization is not eligible for a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation®.

Does the family have to know I am referring their child?

Yes, the family must be aware that the referral is being made.

Does the family’s financial status matter?

No, the economic background of the child and their family has no bearing on whether or not a wish is granted. The only qualifying factors are age and medical condition.

Are all wishes publicized?

No, families can choose whether they will allow publicity of the wish. We always respect their need for privacy.

What if a child has special medical needs during a wish?

If a child has special medical needs during a wish, they are discussed with the physician and family beforehand and provided for by the Foundation as needed.

Referring A Child

How do you make a wish referral?
Simply call our office and speak to Denise D’Amico, our VP of Program Services, at (914) 478-9516, or you may refer a child online by clicking here.

Are all the children terminal?

No. The Make-A-Wish Foundation® fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Our hope is that a wish will give a child hope, strength, and joy at a very difficult time. They may reflect on their wish as something that helped them get through the tough times. Many of our Wish Children survive their illnesses and go on to survive and thrive!

What children are eligible?

Children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 who have been diagnosed by their physician as having an illness that is life-threatening are eligible for a wish. More detailed guidelines on eligibility are provided to medical professionals upon request. Make-A-Wish grants wishes regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic status. No eligible child has ever been denied a wish or placed on a waiting list.

Is a child who has already received a wish from another wish-granting organization eligible to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish?

No. A child who has received a wish from another organization is not eligible for a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Does the family’s financial status matter?

No. Economic background does not influence a child’s eligibility for a wish.


How much of a time commitment is needed for volunteers?
Make-A-Wish does not mandate specific time commitments for any volunteers. Some wishes, like gift wishes, are quickly and easily fulfilled. Some wishes, like travel wishes, could take longer because the family travels on their timetable.

I'm not 21 years old. Can I still volunteer for Make-A-Wish?
Although all wish volunteers must be 21 years old to work on wishes, there are a number of other volunteer opportunities including helping at events, working in the Make-A-Wish office or organizing a fundraiser at school.

Do I have to contribute to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer?
No, you do not have to make a contribution to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer. However, you will have to pay for a criminal background check which is required by Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley. 

Do wish volunteers travel with the family/child?
No, there are 60+ other Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. When we send a wish family to another state, that chapter will help facilitate the wish.

Why are wishes handled by wish teams rather than individuals?
A two or three-person team provides a good support network when working on wishes. If one volunteer is busy, the other one can pick up the slack. And in emotional situations, it is good to have a wish partner to lean on. Finally, working in teams helps to protect volunteers from potential accusations of impropriety.


How do you pay for the wishes?
We rely entirely on private donations from individuals, companies, foundations, schools and corporations. We receive no government funds or grants.

How much of my donation actually goes towards the cost of wishes?
100% if you so designate. Our Adopt-A-Wish® program makes it possible for you to direct your entire contribution to the cost of wishes. 

How much of Make-A-Wish's funds are spent on wishes?
More than 76% of all funds received go towards fulfilling wishes.

How are the rest of Make-A-Wish's funds spent?
14% is used on fund raising, 10% is used on administration and as stated above, 76% are used to make wishes come true.

Can my financial contribution be tax deductible?
Yes. Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley 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.

Does Make-A-Wish conduct telemarketing campaigns?
No, the Foundation has a policy against telemarketing because it is considered intrusive and not cost-effective. However, be careful of sound-alike organizations that conduct aggressive telemarketing campaigns. Many donors are confused and think they are donating to Make-A-Wish. They are not.

Will my donation help local children or will it be sent to your national organization?
Donations raised in our chapter territory stay local to help fund wish granting of children in our area. Donors can request that their donation be restricted to a specific geographic area, if desired.

Do you receive funding from the United Way?
While Make-A-Wish is not a United Way agency, we do participate in its Contributor’s Choice program in many of the counties it serves. 


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Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley
The Wish House
832 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
(914) 478-9474