Located in Evansville, Granted is a community-based nonprofit aiming to grant once-in-a-lifetime wishes for local children diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening conditions. The organization has served over one million children between the ages of 3 and 18 in southern Indiana, western Kentucky, and southern Illinois.
Local residents Carl Wallace and Carolyn Pfaffmann created the platform in 1985 to help Jamie Petty – a child diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor – accomplish her dream of meeting Mickey Mouse. Operating under the original name of Wish Upon A Star, Wallace and Pfaffman solicited help from the tri-state area to fund Petty’s trip to Disney World.
“Initially intending on giving away the remaining funds to a young national wish-granting organization, they (Wallace and Pfaffman) ultimately decided to use the money for the gap in service that was brought to their attention,” said executive director Susan Washburn. “Once the Wish was complete, Jamie was still dying, and her family was still struggling in many ways.”
From there, the organization was born, granting wishes and supporting families long after the wish through various programs. The name change came in 2016 to alleviate the confusion between Granted and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“While the brand has evolved throughout the years, our purpose remains the same: to serve our community by helping children in need by granting wishes and providing love and support to their families,” Washburn said. “We plan to continue doing so for many more years.”
The wish serves as the beginning of the journey with each family. Washburn said that once the wish is fulfilled, the child is still terminally sick, and the family continues to struggle on many levels. “We have a whole series of beyond-the-wish benefits to continue our service to each family,” she said. “The programs then evolve with the families’ needs.”
Granted serves families within 100 miles of Evansville, with nearly half of its families living in Owensboro or Daviess County. The small organization employs one full-time person and two part-time assistants.
Within the past several months, Granted has partnered with Cavanaugh Pools and Tony’s Golf Carts and Parts to fulfill the dreams of two exceptional kids in Owensboro.
“We receive no government assistance and survive on donations and fundraisers,” Washburn said. “As often as possible, we utilize local companies within the communities we serve to help us grant Wishes within our budget.”
The Chamber Member of the Week program is a membership benefit of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. Founded in 1913, the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce has worked to provide valuable benefits and services to member businesses and individuals for over a century.
Today, with a membership base of nearly 1,000, the Chamber is a guiding force in community and business development initiatives, serving as the center of business advocacy for the Greater Owensboro region.
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