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Chapter History and Awards

Our chapter's history

Make-A-Wish Philadelphia and Make-A-Wish Lancaster were each founded as separate organizations in 1986 by volunteers dedicated to bringing the mission of Make-A-Wish to the Philadelphia area. In 2017, we re-aligned our chapter territories to include the state of Delaware and become Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley.

Make-A-Wish Philadelphia and Make-A-Wish Lancaster were each founded as separate organizations in 1986 by volunteers dedicated to bringing the mission of Make-A-Wish to the Philadelphia area. In 1993, The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia became Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia and Southeastern PA to reflect the growing geographic area of our wish children. Additionally, The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Lancaster became Make-A-Wish Foundation of Susquehanna Valley to reflect its growing geographic region.

The board of each chapter realized we would be better able to serve wish children by combining our territories, so in 2007 Make-A-Wish Philadelphia & Susquehanna Valley was born. In September 2014, our chapter realigned its territory to include Northern Delaware--serving children living in New Castle County and in 2017 the rest of the state of Delaware joined our chapter. Today, we are Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley and overall we have granted over  6,500 wishes since 1986!

While we are one chapter, we do maintain three offices in Blue Bell, Wilmington and Lancaster.

Our chapter today

our logo

our logo

1988 Make-A-Wish Newsletter

Since 1986 our dedicated volunteers have been granting wishes to children in the Philadelphia, Delaware and Lancaster areas. These same volunteers realized that our donors and supporters would love to know what was happening in the office, so they published the first Make-A-Wish Philadelphia Newsletter.

Chapter Timeline

1986   The Chapter was founded by insurance businessman, Sidney Friedman and operated out of a donated office space in center city Philadelphia.  Named Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Philadelphia, it was the 51st chapter of Make-A-Wish® and was entirely managed by volunteers.

1989   Still an all-volunteer organization; Chapter President Sidney Friedman proudly reports fulfilling 35 wishes for eligible children for the fiscal year.

1990   Board appoints Krista Friedrich as the first full-time salaried Executive Director.

1993   Chapter expanded its territory to include the 4 suburban counties that comprise Southeastern, PA. 

1997   Dennis Heron was appointed Executive Director, now President and CEO.

2000   Chapter fulfills its 1,000th wish

2005   Chapter fulfills its 2,000th wish

2006   Chapter receives its first 4-star rating from Charity Navigator that ran consecutively for 7 years; in addition was the highest rated chapter within MAW by Charity Navigator. Chapter received National award for Chapter of Excellence.

2007   Received National award for Outstanding Performance. Chapter received its highest single donation ($337,000) from a golf outing hosted by De Lage Landen Financial Services.

2008   Chapter completes merger between Philadelphia & Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna Valley chapters to form Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia & Susquehanna Valley serving 10 counties in Pennsylvania. The Mother’s Day Truck Convoy started by the Susquehanna Valley chapter continues under the newly merged Chapter, generating $300,000+ in revenue annually with over $1.4 million raised since its inception.

2009   The prestigious “Power of One Award” was bestowed to the Chapter at the ABLE conference.

2011   Chapter received National awards for Outstanding Chapter Achievement and Outstanding Chapter Fundraising. 

2012   Chapter fulfilled over 4600 wishes to date.  Received National awards for Outstanding Chapter Achievement, Outstanding Fundraising Performance, and Wish Fulfillment. Chapter personnel have participated in National program initiatives: Chapter Advisory Panel, Mission Delivery Task Force, Chapter Fundraising Task Force, Mission, Vision and Values Task Force and also supported the translation from English to Spanish on numerous eligibility forms.

2013   Received National awards for Benchmark of Excellence, Fundraising Performance and Wish Fulfillment, and surpassed $1 million mark for chapter contributions to the Wish Fulfillment Fund.

2014   Chapter fulfills its 5,000th wish with two celebratory experiences in both regions (Philadelphia & Hershey). Mother’s Day Truck Convoy marks its 25th Anniversary. Chapter territory realignment now includes servicing children living in New Castle County, Delaware.  Received National Fundraising Performance Award.

2015   Chapter fulfills 319 wishes. Received Wish Fulfillment Fund Award and the Wish Innovation Award (for granting Yangzi's wish) at the Make-A-Wish 35th Anniversary Global Conference.

2016   Chapter fulfills 321 wishes (the most wishes granted in a single year in its history). Received Wish Fulfillment Fund Award. New position of Vice President of Development & Marketing added.

2017   Chapter grants another 330 wishes (breaking a new record for the most wishes granted in a single year in its history). After proving such success with wish children in the New Castle county Delaware area, the entire state of Delaware (Kent and Sussex counties) join the chapter and the name is reflective of all wish children served within the territory: Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley.

2018   Chapter grants a record-breaking 357 wishes and continues to expand upon its newest initiative - Wish It Forward - which allows wish families to share the mission of Make-A-Wish within their own communities. 

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Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley
5 Valley Sq, Suite 210
Blue Bell, PA 19422
(215) 654-9355

Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, Susquehanna Valley Office
1054 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17601
(717) 283-4880

Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, Delaware Office
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 106
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 482-4467