Irfan Saif, a principal with Deloitte & Touche LLP specializing in cybersecurity and risk management, has been donating to charitable organizations that benefit children almost his entire life. At a certain point, he realized he could do more.
“I thought, I could donate time, my skills, and my passions,” he says.
After connecting with Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area leadership, Saif joined the Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC), a group that helps with fundraising and advocacy activities. He participated in a strategy offsite with our Board of Directors, where he put his experience to good use.
Saif served six years on the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Board of Directors, and continues to donate his time and expertise pro bono and through Deloitte’s annual day of service, “Impact Day,” when nearly 25,000 Deloitte professionals across the country volunteer on more than 1,000 projects.
There’s just one problem with these volunteer events. “There are always people fighting to get on the Make-A-Wish project because the projects have a lot of passion around them,” Saif explains. “Frankly, we have so many repeat volunteers that want to sign up, it’s hard to find space for new ones.”
Growing up in Hong Kong, Saif had a friend who was diagnosed with leukemia. Before the friend passed away, Saif remembers having the opportunity to go with him to an amusement park. “That’s a really personally tie for me,” he says. “It was hard to process as a child. But the positive experience stays with you for a long time, which really clicked for me.”
Saif has held on to that personal connection and the lasting benefit of positive, tangible memories. It’s been more than 15 years since Saif first got involved with Make-A-Wish, and he has no plans to stop. “It’s not necessarily about the physical thing they get—but the whole experience that lasts a lifetime,” he says.
He encourages others to get involved. “It takes people, it takes everybody in whatever capacities or volumes you can contribute—time, money, resources, networks—to be able to help,” he says. “But you can’t put a price on the emotional reward; it’s beyond measure.”