Established in 1983, Wishing Star Foundation grants wishes to children ages 3 to 21 with a terminal, life threatening or medically complicated condition. Our service area is Spokane, Tri-Cities and surrounding areas. With 36 years of service, Wishing Star is the longest running wish-granting organization west of the Mississippi.
At Wishing Star the wish is only the beginning. We believe that “once a wish family, always a wish family.” We continue to support our children and families long after the wish. We keep our families in community with one another so that there is a consistent support system as they battle the challenges of a life threatening illness. We provide tickets for concerts, sporting events, community events as well as assisting with travel and lodging costs when a wish child needs to obtain medical treatment outside of their area. Wishing Star also supports families through the loss of their wish child. We provide financial assistance with funeral arrangements, grief counseling and at the 6 month anniversary of the child’s passing we send the parents on a trip together to promote healing and to give them time away to focus on their relationship.
Wishing Star is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are supported by individual gifts, fundraising, donations, grants and memorials. We do not receive funding from the government or United Way.
How it all began
The Wishing Star Foundation was started by the caring heart of a Spokane first-grade teacher, Karen Kurowski. This amazing teacher experienced a young boy in her class who passed away from brain cancer. The feelings of helplessness stayed with her for many years as she asked herself, what could have been done to add some special quality of life? What she did next was nothing short of exceptional. Karen cashed in her existing 401K, bought tires for her car and went house to house, knocking on doors and soliciting for donations. It was a true grassroots effort to help children and their families facing these challenging life circumstances. In 1983, she and her husband Ed founded The Wishing Star Foundation to grant special wishes to terminally ill children.
Over the years Wishing Star Foundation changed “terminally ill” to “life-threatening conditions” which opened the wish program to more children whose lives were in turmoil due to consuming illnesses.
The mantle of continuing the work of Wishing Star Foundation was passed in 1990. Since then, great people have come forward to assist with the work that is required to grant the wishes of so many.