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Colorado Fact Sheet

  • Jennifer Mazak-The first Colorado wish, 1983

It all started with a wish...

About Make-A-Wish Colorado

Make-A-Wish® Colorado began in 1983 in memory of 7-year-old Jennifer Mazak. Although Jennifer did not receive a formal wish, she wanted to see the KIMN Chicken, a local radio mascot. When the KIMN Chicken was told of Jennifer’s wish, he came to visit her at her home. While Jennifer’s appearance had prompted teasing and stares from neighborhood children, she was the envy of them all when the KIMN Chicken hugged and held her, and lavished attention on her alone. With the help of friends, family and members of the community, her mother, Joan, founded the Colorado chapter of Make-A-Wish® shortly after her death, to bring that same magic to other children.

We are reminded of Jennifer’s smiles each time we fulfill a wish. Founded in 1983 as one of the nation’s first Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters, Make-A-Wish Colorado has granted more than 5,500 wishes to eligible children throughout Colorado. Its mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. 

Our Purpose

Make-A-Wish is dedicated to granting the unique wishes of Colorado children who have reached the age of 2 ½ and are under the age of 18 at the time of referral, who have critical illnesses and have not been granted a wish by another organization. In doing so, it strives to provide the child and family with special memories of care-free happiness and laughter which are dramatically different from hospitals, doctors and treatment programs. A “wish” offers a welcome respite – a time of fun and escape.

Who is Eligible

Children with a critical illness, who have reached the age of 2 ½ and are under the age of 18 at the time of referral who have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization may be eligible for a wish from Make-A-Wish Colorado. Out of respect for the privacy of the children and families we serve, children who may be eligible to receive a wish can be referred by one of four sources: medical professionals (typically a doctor, nurse, social worker or child-life specialist); parent/legal guardian of the potential wish kid; potential wish kids; family members with detailed knowledge of the child’s current medical condition. We work closely with the child’s doctor in determining medical qualification. We include the entire nuclear family in the child’s magical wish. The wish is a time which provides joy, respite and family healing and togetherness. It is a time when the focus is NOT on the child’s illness.

To qualify for a wish, a child must be diagnosed with a critical illness – i.e., a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that has placed the child’s life in jeopardy. We focus on the wish experience as being life-affirming and bringing families closer together.

Average Cost of a Wish:
The cost of a wish varies on the type of wish, the size of the family and many other factors. However, the average cost is $7,500 cash.

Source of Funding
Make-A-Wish Colorado is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that finances its work through generous contributions of individuals, corporate sponsorships, service clubs, fundraisers, planned gifts and grants. We do not receive funding from federal, state or local government grants.

Program Costs
Eighty percent of every dollar goes directly to program service, i.e., granting one-in-a-lifetime wish experiences to children throughout the state of Colorado.

Wish Categories             
Wishes fall into four categories:
  • I wish to go…. 77% of Colorado wishes have involved travel. A few popular destinations included Hawaii and San Diego. However, 43% of the travel wishes were to go to the Walt Disney World® Resort. Disney wishes remain the most popular wishes among the children we serve.
  • I wish to have…. 16% of Colorado kids wished for such things as a shopping spree, a room makeover, a playhouse or play set, a computer, electronics or a big screen TV.
  • I wish to meet…. 6% of Colorado wish kids asked to meet a favorite music, sports, TV or movie celebrity, or a public figure.
  • I wish to be…. 1% of children search the depths of their imaginations when they wish to be someone for a day like a model, a princess or a super hero.
Currently, there are 62 chapters operating in the United States, along with 40 international affiliates serving 50 countries. More than 15,300 wishes are being granted each year, totaling more than 300,000 since the Foundation’s start in 1980. Nearly 33,000 volunteers give their time and efforts to help create magical wishes. Below are a few statistics taken from the 2011 Wish Impact Study:
  • 89 percent of parents observed increases in wish kids’ emotional strength, which can help them improve their health status.
  • 81 percent of parents observed an increased willingness by their wish kids to comply with treatment protocols.
  • 74 percent saw the wish experience as a positive turning point in the wish kids’ battle against their illnesses.
  • 98 percent of parents felt the wish experience gave them the opportunity to be a “normal” family again.
  • 98 percent of parents said the wish experience strengthened their families.


For more information, please contact Sarah Murphy, Communications Manager, at 303-750-9474 or

Remembering how the wish come true had lifted Jennifer’s spirits, Joan used the money raised for her daughter’s surgery to start the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado. ”

Volunteer Contact

Claire Fundingsland
Senior Manager of Program Outreach 

7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 126  Greenwood Village, CO 80111   
Phone : (303) 750-9474   
Fax : (303) 755-3108    

Press Contact

Sarah Murphy
Communications Manager

7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 126 Greenwood Village, CO 80111  
Office: (303) 750-9474 
Fax: (303) 755-3108  

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Make-A-Wish® Colorado
7951 E. Maplewood Avenue
Suite 126
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 750-9474
Toll Free Colorado Only (800) 366-9474