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35th Anniversary

Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area was founded in 1984, this year they are celebrating their 35th anniversary and over 8,500 wishes granted for local wish kids.

2019 marks a major milestone for Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area – we are celebrating 35 years of granting wishes! Since our chapter’s inception in 1984, we’ve created life-changing wishes for more than 8,600 families. Because of your generosity, local kids with critical illnesses get to look beyond their treatment and focus on something inspirational: their one true wish.  

As we celebrate our chapter’s successes over the past 35 magical years, we’re also looking ahead. Research shows that a wish can improve a child’s quality of life, giving them a better chance of recovering,* so we’re committed to granting a wish for every eligible child. Over the past 12 years, we’ve increased the number of wishes granted annually by 29.55%, but we’re still only reaching about 65% of the eligible children in our territory. In order to reach 100% of eligible kids, we’re setting our sights high: we aim to grant at least 565 wishes per year by 2022. It’s an audacious goal, and one that will require us to scale accordingly – with greater investments of our time, contacts, skills and financial support. 

Will you help us reach more deserving children? Here are five easy ways: 

  1. Volunteer—join a committee, become a wish granter, help set up an event 
  2. Refer a child—if you know someone who may qualify, we want to know them 
  3. Donate cash—the most direct way to help us meet our goals 
  4. Donate a service or goods—give us your airline miles or your photography skills 
  5. Tell our story— Introduce friends to Make-A-Wish, be a guest speaker, and share our social media posts. Help dispel the myth that wishes are only for terminally ill children 

Our chapter has an exciting future ahead, and we are deeply grateful to the support of our corporate partners, donors, volunteers, and wish families, as well as our board, council and committee members. Wishes are powerful medicine, and the hope a wish brings is only possible because of people like you. On behalf of the kids and families we serve, thank you! 

With gratitude, 

Betsy Biern 

CEO, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area

*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial

Chapter Milestones: 

February 1, 1984 – Chapter founded by police officer Steve Rank. Known as East Bay Make-A-Wish Foundation, Inc. Office located in San Leandro. 27 wishes were granted in the first year, Including our first wish: Four-year-old J.D. wished to meet David Hasselhoff from Knight Rider 

1992 - 2,000th wish – Aaron wished to be a cowboy. In celebration we invited all 2,000 wish families to Marine World Africa (comped) on one day. Aaron's wish was also the nation's 50,000th wish granted. 

1998 – Patricia Wilson hired as Executive Director 

2002 - 3,000th wish – Five-year-old Matthew wished to see his uncle in New York. 

2003 – Nine-year-old Ben wished to create a cancer-fighting video game called Ben's Game. He and the game's creator, Eric Johnston, were honored by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the game received over 300,000 downloads. 

2006 - 4,000th wish – Chris wished to attend the MLB All Star game in San Francisco. In celebration, hundreds attended a party at AT&T Park, including Rich Aurilia, Barry Bonds, and Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. 

2009 - 5,000th wish – David wished to help the environment. This year also marked the chapter's 25th Anniversary. 

2010 – Chapter moves to 55 Hawthorne St. in San Francisco 

2012 - 6,000th wish – Six-year-old Avery wished to go to San Diego. In celebration of our 6,000th wish we invited all 6,000 wish families to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. 

2013 – November 15, 2013: Five-year-old Miles becomes Batkid and receives worldwide attention, including from President Obama. 

2016 – Betsy Biern is hired as CEO. Chapter grants a record 400 wishes. 

2017 – Chapter moves to 1333 Broadway, Oakland and celebrates its 8,000th wish. 

2019 – Chapter celebrates its 35th Anniversary.

Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area
1333 Broadway
Suite 200
Oakland, CA 94612
(415) 982-9474