Sunshine Foundation’s Frequently Asked Questions

1. How and when was Sunshine Foundation started?

Sunshine Foundation is the original wish-granting organization founded in 1976 by former Philadelphia police officer Bill Sample. While on protective duty at a Philadelphia area children’s hospital, Bill witnessed firsthand the financial and emotional burden placed on the families of children with illnesses. He saw that so many families could not afford to give their sick child one last wish, Bill, with the help of a handful of other dedicated people, got together to answer Sunshine Foundation’s first dream- a trip to the Poconos for Bobby, who wanted to see the mountains and play in the snow. Bobby passed away a short while after that, but not before his only wish was realized.

2. Who does the Sunshine Foundation help?

Sunshine Foundation answers the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged, and abused children, ages 3-18, nationwide including Puerto Rico.

3. How much of Sunshine’s donations are used for program services?

Sunshine Foundation uses over 80% of all donations to go directly towards granting the dreams of those children. We have answered 40,000 dreams for children since 1976.

4. What is the Dream Village?

The Dream Village is 9 fairytale-themed cottages set on 22 acres in Central Florida. This is where most of our families stay when they visit Central Florida locations. The village offers for the family a quiet and relaxing atmosphere where they can enjoy a handicapped equipped playground, wheelchair-accessible pool, a miniature golf course, and many other amenities to make their stay truly a dream vacation!

5. How do I refer a child?

Please click on the Request A Dream tab at the top of the Sunshine Foundation main webpage:    Be sure to check that all information is correctly submitted and the child’s name and date of birth are entered correctly so we may locate the referral in our system.

6. How long will it take before my child receives their dream?

Once you receive an approval letter, your child will be placed on our waiting list, which is currently estimated at over 7 years from the date of approval. Please be patient and be assured that we are working as quickly as possible to answer your child’s dream.

7. How long will it take for my child’s application to be processed?

Once we receive all required paperwork (application, financials, medical authorization, etc.) it will take 1 to 3 months for the application to be processed. Once the application has been processed, you will receive a letter by mail informing you if your child has been approved.

8. What types of dreams my child may request?

The most popular dream requested is the Central Florida Theme Parks. Sunshine Foundation may arrange for your child and their immediate family living in the home (siblings 18 years old and under at the time of approval) to stay at our very own Dream Village. Other dream requests include funding towards a special gift or item of interest, or, funding towards adaptive equipment that their insurances may not cover. Please note, a requested item must first be approved before estimates are required. The maximum amount Sunshine Foundation will provide towards an approved item or gift is up to $2,000.00 towards the parent/guardian’s private purchase. If the child’s dream is for a shopping spree Sunshine Foundation will provide a check for the maximum amount of $1,000.00. Once a child is approved you may discuss your child’s dream with the Program Services Department.

Sunshine Foundation is unable to assist with doctor/medical bills or living expenses. We must also work within certain financial limitations and permissible requests. Your child’s medical and/or travel restrictions or other related or unrelated circumstances may also affect the dream we are able to provide.

 9. How can I help the Sunshine Foundation?

You can help by making a donation online or by regular mail in memory or in honor of a loved one, or by contributing through other options available here. You may also join in the efforts of one of our all-volunteer chapters.

 10. Can I donate to a specific child’s Dream?

Yes! You can donate here or send a check to Sunshine Foundation 101 Lakeside Park, Southampton PA 18966. Just indicate the child’s name in the memo section on the check, or in the comments of the online donation.