Fundacja Mam Marzenie (Make-a-Wish Foundation, FMM) is a charitable organization founded in Krakow in 2003. It has 16 local chapters and is based solely on volunteers. Up to now it has granted over 5000 wishes of children.
In 2003 Polish-American enterpreneur Piotr Piwowarczyk returned from the United States to Poland with one purpose in mind. He dreamed of establishing an organization, which would make dreams come true for children suffering from life-threatening diseases. The foundation was to be a carbon copy of a world-wide Make-A-Wish Foundation, in which Piwowarczyk served as a volunteer for 3 years before making his move across the pond.
The headquarter was established in Krakow-Piwowarczyk’s new home city-in June 2003. Four months later FMM granted its first wish. A 15-year old, wheel chair bound Bogumiła, who suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta and experienced more than 100 bone fractures in her life wanted to travel to Disneyland to meet Mickey Mouse. Her wish came true and almost 9 years later both Bogumia and Piwowarczyk are very proud of the fact that it started a chain reaction and a movement resulting in over 5000 wishes granted in 16 local FMM chapters in the entire Poland.
Speaking of wishes-there are four different types of them: to see/visit (e.g. Disneyland, sea shore, mountains), to meet (a celebrity such as artists actors, sportsmen), to have fan item such as a camera, computer, a toy) and to become (for one day the child is assuming a chosen role: a princess, a tv anchor, a policeman, a doctor).The most popular one is the third one, most likely due to financial struggles that affect many families of wish-children. Their battle with tragic illness takes a huge toll on their already limited budgets (often these are families with one working parent, where the second one is always with the child), hence having something that they could never afford borders with the limit of their happiness.
Today FMM has 16 chapters located in cities such as: Warszawa, Poznan, Szczecin, Opole, Wroclaw, Katowice, Lublin, Gorzow, Kielce, Bialystok Bydgoszcz, Rzeszow, Olsztyn, Łódź and Gdansk. All chapters exist in the vicinity of a hematology-oncology hospital for children and/or children hospice care establishments. Patients of both are most likely candidates for FMM wish-kids.
What makes FMM unique is that it is based solely on volunteers. Not single person is employed by the foundation and Krakow remains as the only one physical office location. No other foundation in Poland-and perhaps even in the entire world-can show such a marginal amount of overhead expenses. This allows the foundation to use over 95% all of their income to the benefit of their children.
Volunteers are recruited among educational institutions, but a big portion of them come because they want to be a part of FMM. They are taken by its mission and financial transparency. Each year in each of the chapters hundreds of people of all ages, gender and profession come through the volunteer training that prepares them to their future tasks: how to approach and deal with wish-kids, how to collect wish-related data and how to plan this most special day in their lives. Later on they become a key element in wish-granting, as they are responsible for maintaining contact with the family, medical personnel, sponsors and raising funds to making sure that all goes according to the plan. Although rotation among volunteer ranks is relatively high they all claim that the work experience at FMM gave them a lot of great values and new perspectives on life. With such approach and mission FMM continues to be one of the top Polish charity organizations. It is well-known and respected among both Poles, who support the foundation with funds and good word and Polish local government establishments, which recognized FMM with awards.
See how wishes come true