WISH for OUR HEROES is a national 501(c)(3), dedicated to assisting the men and women of the United States active-duty military. WISH for OUR HEROES launched in November of 2009, in honor of 1SG Thomas G. Wells, who was a career Marine. The founders of WISH for OUR HEROES served on active-duty and while deployed, they recognized that a serious need existed within our military ranks. There were so many great charities in existence, but the majority of them focused on specific groups or categories: WIA, KIA, bankruptcy, divorce, etc. There were no charities that focused on not only helping military members falling into these extreme categories, but also helping the average, hard-working military member going through a difficult time. WISH for OUR HEROES saw the toll that war takes on families back home, and we needed something that could help families with small issues. Small issues can spiral into larger issues, and larger issues can spiral into things like divorce, suicide, and all of those problems our military members face as a result of daily military life.
Military life is difficult – men and women selflessly serve our nation, while working for little pay, putting their life on the line, and dealing with the secondary affects that can tear families apart. WISH for OUR HEROES wanted to provide resources to the “average” military member, in order to make their deployments a little easier, and to improve the quality of their family lives while home or during deployment. If we can put a smile on the faces of our military members or their loved ones, or give them a small break from the trials and tribulations of their daily lives, then we are doing our job.
WISH for OUR HEROES started with the goal of providing one wish for every deserving military member. There are no requirements – military members simply have to be on active-duty at the time the wish is submitted. Our priority is to always grant basic needs or emergencies first - anything from putting food on the table to assisting with car repairs, home repairs, baby supplies, clothing, etc. When basic needs are met, we also enjoy providing fun things like sending the troops to athletic events, sending them on vacation to get re-acquainted after deployments, meeting celebrities and more. You can view a sampling of some of the wishes we've granted by viewing the news pages or visiting the wishes page.
One of the biggest things that sets us apart from other charities is our ratio (admin & fundraising costs divided by total revenue). The gold standard for charities is to operate at 90%, meaning 10% goes to administrative and fundraising costs, and the remaining amount goes where funds are truly needed. Most of the better-known charities realistically operate at 70-80%, so up to 30% of the funds they bring in, is actually distributed other places - salaries, elaborate events, ad campaigns, etc. We operate at 96%, which is unheard of, particularly for a young organization. We have only one paid employee – every other team member is a volunteer, and our volunteers are very generous with the time they donate to better W4OH (990 and 501(c)(3) documentation can be downloaded here.
After only one year in operation, we were thrilled to be accepted to the national CFC (Combined Federal Campaign), which is the official list of government supported charities.
Today, WISH for OUR HEROES is a national 501(c)(3) that grants wishes across the globe. Our largest support bases are in Indiana and Texas, but we have a nationwide team of volunteers. We have partnered with many corporations to inch closer to our ultimate goal of granting one wish for every deserving member of our U.S. military. Types of corporate sponsorships include financial sponsorships, payroll donations (employees given the opportunity to donate a small amount from every paycheck), and wish-granting sponsorships (partnering to grant a specific wish). When working with corporations, there is one rule that we always live by: we ensure that any corporation that donates or sponsors our organization, receives a report on the specific use of those funds. We want each member or employee to understand where their donation is going, and what specific military families they assisted.