Caroline Ciocca, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada, and a client of Surevest, shared with us a unique partnership they have with Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air. Allegiant has been a long-time national supporter of Make-A-Wish and we wanted to share a move they made nearly two years ago that has helped grant more wishes than ever.
Over the past five years, Allegiant has worked together with Make-A-Wish to fly more than 1,000 children to their wish destinations, as well as donating a portion of proceeds from in-flight sales of Wingz Kids snack packs to Make-A-Wish to help fulfill wishes for children with critical illnesses. Allegiant is recognized by Make-A-Wish as a “Wish Champion” sponsor, with contributions valued at more than $1 million annually.
About a year and a half ago, Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada needed new office space for its operations and was not sure where to turn. Allegiant Air, who recently opened a sprawling 120,000 square foot campus in Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, came to the rescue and graciously offered Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada a 7000 square foot building to use as their chapter headquarters for just one dollar of rent annually. Caroline jumped at the opportunity and turned the 7000 square feet of space into “The Wishing Place”; a beautiful, brightly colored, family-friendly office space that is now used for wish reveals, wish planning, and meeting with families. The Wishing Place includes a bar equipped with candy and snacks, a meditation room, a reveal room with a wishing throne for the children to sit on, and a “volunteer hangar” where hundreds of volunteers, including Allegiant team members, are trained to be mission ambassadors.
Caroline describes The Wishing Place as “so much more than an office space,” and “the gift that keeps on giving,” as having this office space on Allegiant Air’s campus has led to the involvement of more than 150 Allegiant Air team members. Bringing Make-A-Wish onto their corporate campus has brought Allegiant corporate team members, that don’t usually get the chance to interact with the wish kids, closer to the wish experience.
Having such a large, interactive office virtually rent-free has not only made the experience more enjoyable for children and volunteers alike, but has also greatly decreased the costs associated with fulfilling each wish. Caroline estimates that Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada is saving more than $100,000 each year by having their chapter headquarters on the Allegiant Air campus, as well as being able to fulfill more wishes with decreased travel costs. Given that each wish costs $11,000 on average, and about 75% of children travel to their wishes, having The Wishing Place on the Allegiant Air campus is allowing Make-A-Wish to fulfill more wishes than ever. When Caroline became CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada four and half years ago, the foundation was only able to fulfill 79 wishes a year. This year, the foundation is on track to complete 140 wishes, and hope to increase that number to 200 wishes per year by 2020.
The Wishing Place has not only given Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada the office space they needed, but it has given them a more efficient way to get more members of the community involved. There are different volunteer positions, such as office angels, wish experts and wish designers, that capitalize on volunteers’ interests and strengths, in order to match them with children’s wishes that they can have the biggest impact on. Their volunteer program capitalizes on finding the perfect match between volunteers and children, making the wish process and volunteer experience more meaningful and more efficient.
If you are interested in getting involved with Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada and helping them reach their goal of fulfilling 200 wishes, the foundation is always looking for volunteers or monthly donors! Just making a simple $25 donation each month can have a huge impact on fulfilling a wish. If you’d rather get your hands dirty, you can volunteer and find creative ways to fulfill a wish. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are interested in talking about how you can use your talents to the fullest, or if you would like a personal tour of The Wishing Place. One pair of hands can go a long way!
Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
-Peter Bos, Intern, Surevest Wealth Management