Many of us a familiar with non-profits that provide the answers to wishes made by children struck with life-threatening or terminal illnesses. What most of us are unaware of, is the fact that an organization, homed right in the heart of Contra Costa County, provides the answers to life-long dreams and unanswered wishes to our elderly population.
What is the Elderly Wish Foundation?
The Elderly Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to the elderly population. The foundation was started by Rebecca Crowder, who used money she inherited at the passing of her mother. The money was able to grant two wishes, and it set the stage for decades more of giving.
The Elderly Wish Foundation holds a special place in the landscape of Contra Costa County. Founder Rebecca Crowder understood that the elderly population is often the most overlooked population. The day-to-day responsibility of caring for someone who is terminally ill can be overwhelming. Granting a last wish to someone can seem impossible when money and energy are all dedicated to the care of the patient. But, Mrs. Crowder knew that caregivers all would want their aging loved ones to have a special gift to make their last years happy. The Elderly Wish Foundation is able to provide this gift to elders.
It’s a Family Affair
Mary Chapman has been involved with the Elderly Wish Foundation from the very beginning. With a social welfare and teaching background and a career in serving others, Mary was glad to accept the challenge when Crowder enlisted her to form a board of directors to oversee the nonprofit. The foundation became a family affair, as both Mary and husband Bill is on the board of directors. All board members are also volunteers who participate in the wishing events if needed. Both from Sacramento, Bill and Mary have been married 44 years. Bill is a CPA and retired vice president of WindMaster, an Altamont Pass wind farm. Their daughter Julia is a teacher in Discovery Bay, and son Paul is an electrician in Sacramento.
What Makes This Foundation So Special?
There are numerous aspects of this non-profit that make it incredibly special. First, the concept is to ensure that a forgotten, and often overlooked population is recognized and celebrated. The aging process is often seen as a gift. Yet, when illness and aging occur, many elderly people feel they are more of a burden to their family and friends than anything else.
At the Elderly Wish Foundation, the premise to give caregivers the resources to be able to provide for their loved ones in ways they cannot do without additional support. The wishes are often small gestures that may seem like nothing to someone young and healthy. But are gifts of freedom, alleviation of pain, or maybe one last trip down memory lane, reliving happy moments in life. These gifts serve as reminders that aging and illness do not take anyone’s value and that each, and every individual is important, valuable, recognized and loved. This sense of validation is a beautiful gift that the EWF provides.
Some of the gifts that the Elderly Wish Foundation has provided over the years include; an overnight visit to a lighthouse, a family birthday party and a trip to San Francisco to see the city lights at night in a limo. Another recipient wished to “smile again” and was able to complete major dental work, thanks to the EWF she was able to show off her smile once the work was completed.
Who Do You Know?
The Elderly Wish Foundation has an on-going application for granting wishes. They believe that anyone 60 years old, or older, deserves to ask for a special wish. This means that you can apply for a special wish to be granted to someone in your life who fulfills the requirements. All applicants must be 60 years old or older and suffer from a terminal illness or a life-threatening disease, such as Alzheimer’s, AIDS, COPD or renal disease, to list a few.
To make the wish, the EWF asks that applicants to complete the following:
- Write a short paragraph explaining the wish.
- Complete the request for that can be found on their website www.elderlywishfoundation.org
- Provide a Physician Statement that is filled out by a medical care provider and a photo.
The application emphasizes that one should explain why their wish is so important and how it will improve their quality of life or bring them a greater sense of comfort or fulfillment.
This application packet should be mailed to:
An Elderly Wish Foundation
P.O. Box 4365
Antioch, CA 94531-4365
How Can You Help?
There are many ways you can help the Elderly Wish Foundation. First, the Foundation has many local business sponsors. There is a downloadable sponsorship form available on the website, where sponsorships are available as well as business gift donation forms. Second, there are outright gifts and memorials, which are all tax deductible. The Elderly Wish Foundation also works with many local organizations and offers Matching Gifts, where employers will double, or match the employee gift! Also accepted are in-kind gifts, donations through the United Way, Planned Giving, and Car Donations.
Annually, the Elderly Wish Foundation also hosts the Annual Heart to Heart Ball. This event is the major fundraising event of the year and provides for the majority of the funding for gift granting throughout the year. Not only is an evening where friends, family, and community come together to celebrate our elderly population, the fundraising efforts support the joy each gifting event brings to the elderly.
The Elderly Wish Foundation is a powerful non-profit organization located in our local backroads. From the Founder to volunteers and donors to each and every gift recipient, this organization creating last joy for families and patients throughout Contra Costa County.
For local non-profit events in our local backroads, check out our events calendar.