An Interview with Sue E. Salter of Make-A-Wish South Dakota & MontanaDec 22, 2020 07:00AM ● By MED Magazine
This past fall, Make-A-Wish South Dakota announced an organizational realignment with Make-A-Wish Montana to become a single chapter known as Make-A-Wish South Dakota & Montana. The South Dakota chapter has granted more than 1,500 wishes in its 36 year history and president and CEO Sue Salter says the move positions both organizations to grant even more. We asked Salter for some additional insights on the implications of the realignment.
MED: What are the advantages of this reorganization for Make-A-Wish?
SS: By coming together as one chapter, we will expand our capabilities and become even more effective and efficient at fulfilling our vision of reaching every eligible child with the transformative power of a wish. We believe this realignment will ultimately help us grant more timely wishes in South Dakota and Montana by increasing our medical outreach capabilities, expanding and enhancing our volunteer program, increasing development opportunities, creating administrative efficiencies, and increasing opportunities for specialized staff.
MED: What are the advantages for potential wish kids and their families?
SS: Our increased staffing and expanded capabilities will ultimately lead to a better and more timely wish experience for more children in both states. Our strategic vision for this realignment is to be granting 200 timely, high-quality wishes annually within 10 years.
MED: How has the pandemic impacted Make-A-Wish?
SS: In response to COVID-19, Make-A-Wish America has made the difficult decision to postpone wish travel, as well as wish kid participation in all activities and events related to Make-A-Wish that involve large gatherings until further notice. In addition, Make-A-Wish has implemented new wish granting policies designed to continue granting wishes during these challenging times because the hope that comes with a wish is more important now than ever.
MED: And how have wishes and donations been effected?
SS: The number of wishes granted is down this year but, while the number of wishes granted is less than we hoped, we celebrate each wish we were able to grant. Financial support is also down this year due to COVID-19. We have seen many community fundraisers have to cancel or postpone their events. Support in the form of donations means more now than ever before. We’re thankful for the continued support of donors who support our mission during this difficult time.
MED: What are you looking forward to as an organization in 2021?
SS: Bringing hope to as many wish kids and families as possible through granting wishes. Make-A-Wish has established a Reemergence Task Force to drive organizational strategy and planning to ensure we are prepared to resume wish fulfillment at an expedited rate once postponements end.