Make A Wish Foundation By Corrine Dunn

Make A Wish Foundation By Corrine Dunn

The philosophy of Make A Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps fund and support kids with critical illnesses, is to make life better for kids with critical illnesses. The foundation hosts events, and all of the money that is raised goes towards granting a kid's wish. One wish can average around $10,000.

Being able to attend the annual event in November and experiencing all of the love and generosity that filled the room, was very special to me. It was an honor to be present at the Make A Wish this year. This was the first year I have participated, and I intend on doing so in upcoming years. I got involved with Make A Wish because a good family friend is on the board of Make a Wish, and helps set up events. My family went to the ball to support the kids and the family friend. Because of how much work and effort she puts into such an amazing cause, we love showing our support and appreciation for her.  

The highlight of the night, was surprising one of the kids, Lynn, with her wish to go to Hawaii!  The joy on her face when she realized her wish was coming true is something I'll never forget. 

I have complied interviews from some of the designers that donate profits to the foundation, along with Liz Ann Sonders, who is one of Make A Wish’s board of directors.  

Foreword and Interview Written By Corrine Dunn, Contributing Editor, Jejune Magazine
Corrine can be found here: @corrinedunn

Photo by the Make A Wish Team.

Photo by the Make A Wish Team.

1. Name?
Liz Ann Sonders

2. Where are you originally from?
I was born in Brooklyn, raised in northern New Jersey, then outside of Philadelphia and lived in NYC for eleven years before moving to Darien, CT in 1998.

3. What is your profession?
I am Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Strategist for Charles Schwab.

4. What is your position at Make A Wish Foundation?
I served a full six-year term on the National Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and have so far served five of my six-year term on the Connecticut Chapter’s Board of Directors. I am also a member of the Development Committee.

5. Why did you join the board of Make A Wish, and what were your intentions of doing so?
I have been a great admirer for decades. I met a friend in DC in 2007 who had just joined the national board; she recommended me and I was immediately brought on board as both a director and also the Treasurer.

6. Please tell me What Make A Wish is about?
Make-A-Wish grants wishes children with life-threatening (not necessarily terminal) medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It’s our mission to make every eligible child’s wish come true.

7. What is the age range of kids accepted in this foundation?
3-17 years of age.

8. Tell me a little bit about Make A Wish, and what it means to be on the board?
Being on the board of MAW has made me understand that wishes are not just a nice thing to do for a sick child; and they’re more than singular events in time. They not only impact the Wish Kids, but their families, their communities, volunteers, donors, sponsors, Wish granted and it helps them face their often-brutally challenging medical obstacles.

9. What goes into making the wishes for the kids come true?
The Wish process is a collaborative process beginning with the referral of a child, followed by an eligibility assessment (the child’s treating consultant makes the final determination). Then MAW sends paperwork to the family to complete to learn more about the child; followed by specially-trained volunteers visiting the child to talk about their most heartfelt wishes. The Wish Team sets out to make it come true, with the help of full-time MAW staff, the volunteer Wish Granters, the medical professionals, the Wish Child’s family and typically the entire community. Wishes typically are of the following “types.”

- I wish to have ...

- I wish to go to ...

- I wish to meet ...

- I wish to have ...

10. What is your favorite Wish you were able to grant?
Each and every wish is a special and unique opportunity to enrich the life of a child facing obstacles no child should ever have to face. Just as I don’t have a favorite of one of my own children, I do not have a favorite wish.

11. How does it make you feel to be able to work with the Make A Wish Kids, and helping their wishes come true?
My involvement with MAW has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and will continue to stay involved as both a volunteer and donor, long after my tenure on the board is over. These children are true superheroes and it’s been a marvel (pun intended) to be a part of their lives for the past eleven years.

12. Do you help plan the Make a Wish Ball? If so, what goes into the planning?
I am not directly involved in the planning of the ball other than offering suggestions to the event planners (including this year’s involvement by several jeweler/artist friends who collaborated with Wish Kids to custom design their own special pieces of artistry, which were subsequently part of the auction). I also donate wine from our personal collection every year for the auction.

13. Please tell us “What is Make A Wish Ball?  And how often is this event?
The Connecticut chapter of MAW has two large events each year. One in November in Greenwich and one in April or May at Mohegan Sun, in addition to numerous smaller events like Walk-for-Wishes, among many others.

14. What kind of things do you typically have to offer as auction pieces at the event?
In addition to a tremendous amount of high-quality wines which are donated for the auction, the other items for the silent auction range from jewelry, to “experiences,” to flight packages, to sports memorabilia, to artwork, and much much more. The live auction typically features major experiences with the NY Yankees, exotic trips, Wish Kid artwork, among others; and typically also includes just the opportunity for guests to raise their paddles to make monetary donations.

15. How & why did you come up with the idea of joining a jewelry and art piece together with the kids and what implications are you expecting?
The idea stemmed from an experience I had with another charity in NYC about fifteen years ago. It began with an “art carnival” at which kids paired with well-known artists to collaborate on a piece of art; which was then auctioned six weeks later at a black-tie dinner. Since I know quite a few jewelry designers and artist and since I’ve been a consistent bidder/buyer of “Wish Art.” I thought it would be a fantastic idea to pair local artists with kids to work collaboratively on personally-designed pieces and art.

16. How did you and the designers incorporate this piece together with the Make A Wish Kids?
The help in coordinating the appropriate Wish Child for each artist, as well as the scheduling, was handled by the fantastic staff of MAW Connecticut.

17. Was it successful, and do you think you will continue to do a piece such as this one in the future?
The jewelry/art collaborations were highly successful and will definitely be a part of the event(s) going forward. In addition, Wish Night this year overall was a record-breaker in terms of money raised for the foundation, which is wonderful!

18. How can one get involved and join The Make A Wish Foundation?
There are numerous volunteer opportunities across all of the more than 60 MAW chapters around the United States (in addition to more than 30 international chapters). Each chapter has its own dedicated website with copious details about how exactly to become involved. I highly recommend it!

Lauren Chisholm

Lauren Chisholm

Lauren Chisholm

Lauren Chisholm

1. Designer Name: Lauren Chisholm

2. What was your piece, and why did you make it the way you did?
My heart piece was a collaboration with a wish kid, and it's a painting that I did that was professionally scanned and printed and then she cut and colored the piece, so it became one of a kind mixed media piece of artwork. So it was a fine art digital image custom colored with wash paint paraphe. What was special about it, is that she chose a painting of mine that was a painting of a rose. And the rose was symbolic to the month she was born in, so it was very personal for her to choose a rose to embellish. She loved to paint and it was such an awesome day with her. I felt like it was a gift for me to have the opportunity to create with her.

3. How did it make you feel working with her?

4. Tell me a little bit about your art:
I've been working professionally as an artists for thirty four years, and you have a painting and fine jewelry business. It is called “Lauren Chisholm, fine art jewelry.”

Claire O’Hare

Claire O’Hare

1. Designer Name: Claire O’Hare

2. What was your piece, and why did you make it the way you did?
I made a few pieces for the event.  I started with Lynn (the wish kid) . She told me she was happiest when she is in and around water and that she loved bracelets and necklaces.  So, we made a few beaded bracelets where the beads looked like water (aquamarine) and added 14kt gold sea creature charms such as: dolphins, octopus, and fish. The necklaces were also water colored beads.   We added gray raw diamonds to represent the sand and a 22kt gold nugget to reflect the sun and each piece had a story that reflected Lynn at her happiest.

3. How did you feel about the making your project?
The Wish event was perfect for me to get involved in, it started with purpose, we created with someone in mind, the pieces had a story and the proceeds reinforced the Wish purpose.  It started with a meaning and ended with meaning.

4. Tell me a little bit about your jewelry.
Livewell jewelry is all designed by me and made in NYC.  We use only the finest metals (gold and non tarnished silver) and add beautiful diamonds and gemstones.  The collection is meant to be worn everyday with jeans and tee shirt to black tie. The designs are unique and limited quantity.  I think our customers like LW because it is a combination of refined and hip and not too fussy yet not to causal. I also design with collections in mind, pieces should be added to overtime.

5. Where can we find it?
To find my pieces, go to

Lynne Mercein

Lynne Mercein

1. Designer Name: Lynne Mercein

2. How did you feel about making the project?
I was approached by Make-a-Wish Foundation board member, Liz Ann Sonders, about teaming up with a “wish kid” to collaborate on a piece of jewelry that would be auctioned off at their annual Gala which took place earlier this month.  I was flattered to have been asked to participate and welcomed the opportunity to be a part of such a worthy cause.

3. What was your piece, and why did you make it the way you did?
Kate loves the ocean and her favorite color is blue.  Once we had decided to create a necklace I suggested we use a combination of Blue Topaz and Aquamarine beads for the strands of the piece.  In addition to the use of a wishbone, another one of my “signatures” is to dangle a feather in the center of it, and Kate came up with the idea of replacing the feather with a star.  The thought to use three strands of chain coming off of the wishbone was meant to signify a shooting star. Working with Kate was easy. She is a bright, confident 12-year-old who does not have difficulty making decisions.  When we met to discuss our piece, I simply suggested we use as a base of our design my signature wishbone (given the nature of the charity) and within an hour Kate and I were set on what it was we were going to create. It took us less than an hour to decide on the final design.

4. Tell me a little bit about your jewelry. Where can we find it?
I began making jewelry in 1998 when I started taking classes in metalsmithing at Silvermine in New Canaan, however it wasn’t until 2010 that I launched my business creating various collections and doing commissions for my clients.  I would say about 50% of my business is creating one-of-a-kind or repurposed pieces for my clients. I have two massive ginkgo trees on my property. The trees themselves, being one of the oldest trees known to mankind dating back to the age of dinosaurs, to me signify strength and resilience.  In addition to the character and beauty the leaves possess, they have been used for centuries as remedies to multiple ailments. I like to view my jewelry as a metaphor to that of the ginkgo tree; strength and resilience in design and quality and healing given each stone and/or metal I use possesses its own unique healing quality. I have two massive Gingko trees on my property which were the inspiration for my logo.

5. Where can we find it?
I sell my jewelry primarily via trunk shows locally in Fairfield County and in the New York City office space I share with several other jewelers, called Jocale Studio. My events take place in the Fall and early Spring. My studio is located at my home in Connecticut and I also have an office in New York city’s diamond district. I also see clients by appointment at Jocale Studio.  I can be reached for appointments at tel :203.536.4321 or via email at mailto: Lastly, I have an Etsy site where I sell the jewelry in my line priced $500 and below ;
For information about me and how I got started making jewelry, go to the “about” section of my website

Make A Wish Foundation


Instagram: @makeawishamerica

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