March 2021

Grantee Spotlight: Make-A-Wish New Jersey

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Neil's wish for an accessible swing was granted in September 2020.


For four decades, Make-A-Wish has created life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses around the world. In its current fiscal year, Make-A-Wish New Jersey anticipates granting the heartfelt wishes of 325 children throughout the state.

Make-A-Wish New Jersey sought the support of The Provident Bank Foundation for additional resources in supporting its children and families. The two organizations’ missions are closely aligned as they both serve to provide enrichment for the local New Jersey community.  

Like so many non-profit organizations, the mandate of the pandemic for Make-A-Wish has been strategic pivoting and a collective agility. However, Make-A-Wish has continued its efforts and The Provident Bank Foundation has supported Make-A-Wish New Jersey’s wish granting program, making the wishes of five children living in Hudson, Middlesex, Morris and Union counties possible.

In September 2020, Make-A-Wish granted the wish of ten-year-old Neil of Bernardsville, Somerset County, who was born with a genetic condition. Neil’s medical condition has left him disabled and medically fragile, and his family was finding it difficult to safely move him from his wheelchair to a swing – his favorite thing to do while being outside. His wish was for a new, state-of-the-art swing that could accommodate him, while still in his wheelchair.

Once the swing was installed, Make-A-Wish partnered with first responders from Bernardsville and surrounding communities, and delivered a surprise parade. This included 200 vehicles including police cars/motorcycles, fire trucks and neighbors, who drove past holding signs and cheering loudly for Neil. Neil’s parents shared that simple things bring Neil joy and on that day, joy was delivered.

“If I’ve learned anything in my three decades in the nonprofit sector, almost two of those with Make-A-Wish New Jersey, it is that people are often seeking deeper meaning in their lives. Isn’t it part of the human condition then that we gravitate towards meaningful experiences in life. Truly meaningful and powerful? I think so,” said Tom Weatherall, Make-A-Wish New Jersey, President & CEO.