The Make-A-Wish Foundation is warning Iowans of a telemarketing scam involving the non-profit group which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The organization has gotten complaints about callers asking for money. Make-A-Wish spokeswoman Hannah Stone says the group never solicits donations over the phone:
Stone says, "We do not solicit either by telephone or door-to-door or email, so if someone receives a telephone call or an email about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, that is not actually our organization and my recommendation would be to just hang up the phone."
According to the most recent independent audit of the Iowa chapter’s financial statement, more than 80% of every dollar spent during the fiscal year 2003-04 was spent on program services. Stone says the group gets its funding from direct donations.
She says the majority of funding comes from individual and corporate giving as well as through external events, like the Jolly Holiday Lights event in Des Moines during the past few months. In its 12th year, that holiday light display has raised more than two-million dollars and granted the wishes of more than 330 Iowa children.
The Iowa chapter was founded in 1987 and has fulfilled more than 1,400 wishes, with up to 150 more anticipated over the next year. Wishes have included trips to Disney World, New York and the Daytona 500, gifts of computers and stereos, and opportunities to meet celebrities like singer Celine Dion, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and actor Jim Carrey.