Celebrating a $500,000 Milestone

Celebrating a $500,000 Milestone
January, 2021

Make-A-Wish® Canada is proud to announce the sixth incredible year of collaboration with Funding Innovation.  The funds raised, through their Art Easel Program, continue to support our mission of creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses from coast-to-coast. 

It is because of the generosity of people like you, that Funding Innovation has been able to donate over $500,000 to Make-A-Wish® to help us transform lives, one wish at a time. A truly incredible accomplishment and tribute to our partnership!

We sat down with Ron Gardner, President of Funding Innovation to discuss our remarkable partnership in greater detail.


1. What inspired you to want to partner with Make-A-Wish.

When we started Funding Innovation over 5 years ago, the largest charity partner we were working with was another national children’s charity at the time. During a program development meeting with them, we asked if there were any other national charities that supported children. Make-A-Wish® Canada (MAW) was the first to come to mind!

The team at FI felt like MAW was the perfect fit and we’ve never looked back are so happy to have helped raise over $500,000 to support life-changing wishes.

Dave, I really don’t want to give CMN any space in this article or credit for our parentship. What do you think of my changes?

2. How has the Make-A-Wish relationship evolved since the partnership began?

Back in 2015, I made a point of going across the country to meet with the various Chapter leads to tell them about Funding Innovation, our program and to introduce the Provincial Make-A-Wish leadership teams to our local Fundraising Consultants.

Funding Innovation has always enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the folks at Make-A-Wish and has encouraged our field team to work as closely as possible with the Provincial Chapters to find easel hosting locations to support the cause. By working together we have now raised over $500,000! Even with the challenges that have been created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we still see considerable opportunities for the program and are driven by the fact that for roughly every seven new easel hosting locations we find, that is another wish granted.

3. What is the most memorable initiative FI has worked on with Make-A-Wish to date and why?

In June 2019, Funding Innovation held our first-ever “Summit Meeting” where we brought in the 50+ individuals who work for Funding Innovation across Canada to our head office in Burlington, Ontario.

We wanted to take that opportunity for our major Charity Partners, like Make-A-Wish, to get to know our team, and as importantly for our team, to learn more about the wonderful charities we have the honour of serving.

Make-A-Wish invited one of their wish kid ambassadors to speak at the Summit   and to share with our team “the power of the wish”. Funding Innovation had the honour that day to meet Stephanie and her Mom Denise and truly understand firsthand the transformative impact of a wish

Stephanie started by showing our team a small suitcase that was crammed with the “courage beads” her children’s’ hospital had given her every time she underwent surgery or had a major procedure. Stephanie then went on to tell her story of courage and endurance and how her wish literally changed her life. 

It was a very moving experience for everyone present. At the end of her presentation, Stephanie presented me with one of her “Smile” beads, which I learned where her most cherished beads as you only received a “Smile Bead” after a major surgical procedure. I was humbled by that gift that now hangs on the light fixture on my desk and is the first thing I look at every day I am in the office!

Stephanie’s story, and the stories of thousands like hers, inspire our team to work with Make-A-Wish to constantly strive to increase the donation income we can raise for this incredible cause!

4. Why should others support Make-A-Wish?

It is really very simple. For a child to be selected as a wish recipient, they have undergone more challenges and suffering during their short lives that most of us would experience in many lifetimes. They have faced their health challenges with incredible dignity, courage and resiliency. The very least they deserve is the granting of a wish that would not otherwise be possible for them to experience.

5. What would your one true wish be?

My one true wish would be for the day that Make-A-Wish never has to turn down a child’s wish due to a lack of funding.

To learn more about Funding Innovation, visit their website fundinginnovation.ca