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The Four County Community Foundation Awards Scholarships to TRC Wish Children

Each year, current and former Rainbow Connection wish children can apply for a $1,000 scholarship for up to four years as they pursue a post high school education.   With the support from the Four County Community Foundation, TRC was able to provide funding for three of our 2022 wish child applicants who live in Oxford & Lake Orion, Michigan.  These scholarships not only decrease the financial burden of education for young adults and their families, but also supports our wish children as they look to serve the community in the future.

Oxford resident, Steven, is attending Oakland Community College pursuing a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Public Policy.

Lake Orion resident, Olivia, is attending Oakland University. She is currently working at Beaumont as a nurse assistant and in the process of applying for Oakland’s nursing program. She looks forward to working as a Pediatric Nurse after completing the program.

Oxford resident, Gibson, is attending Kettering University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering. He hopes to continue his education and attend medical school to be an oncologist.

TRC is incredibly grateful to the Four County Community Foundation for their support of our wish children. We look forward to continuing our Scholarship Program this year and granting scholarships to more students ready to make their impact in their community.

The Rainbow Connection Celebrations Wish #4,000!

The Rainbow Connection is extremely thrilled to be announcing that this year, we will be granting Wish #4,000. This is such an incredible and huge milestone and The Rainbow Connection team could not be happier! With such an incredible milestone, we want to take a walk down memory lane to acknowledge the thousands of Wishes and children that have allowed us to get to this place.

There have been many milestones and many special Wishes, but we selected some of our favorites to share and reflect on as we approach Wish #4,000.

1985: Is the year The Rainbow Connection became a non-profit organization and the year our first ever Wish was granted. Wish #1 allowed John to meet Muhammed Ali and shadowbox bedside together.

2022: Keydenn receives Wish #4,000. His journey began when his kidney disease was found in an ultrasound while his mother was only five months pregnant with him. Keydenn was placed on the kidney transplant waiting list when he was four years old. Thankfully, Keydenn’s mother was a perfect match and gave one of her kidneys to him. Their surgeries went well and there were little complications. Now, over a year later, Keydenn is doing GREAT!! Despite being on multiple medications, he continues to grow, gain weight, and is a very happy kid who just recently finished kindergarten!!

Keydenn will eventually need another kidney transplant but his Wish Trip to Disney World gave him something to look forward to and a chance to make special memories with his family.

Over the past 37 years, TRC has had the privilege of meeting so many brave children. This mission is possible because of generous donors, volunteers, community partners and Board Members. There have been many changes since the organization began but providing hope and joy to Michigan children has remained constant. TRC looks forward to celebrating Wish #4,000 and every opportunity to make a wish come true.

Four Everyday Ways to Give Back to The Rainbow Connection

The Rainbow Connection is happy to share with you the everyday ways you are able to support our mission in making wishes come true for Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions.

Every day there are ways that you can support The Rainbow Connection. Donations are able to be made through Amazon Smile, Target Circle, Walgreens Rewards, and Kroger Rewards. Each donation process is a little different than the other but they all provide the same outcome: more wishes for our children!! No support is too little, and no donation is too small. To us, every amount counts and all support is greatly appreciated!

Amazon Smile: To donate here, AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to your charity of choice. To select The Rainbow Connection, simply set up a profile at smile.amazon.com and select The Rainbow Connection as your charitable organization.

Target Circle: To support us here, simply vote for The Rainbow Connection with Target Circle to help grant wishes! Every time you shop with Target Circle, you receive a vote to give a local non-profit. The more votes The Rainbow Connection gets, the larger donation we will receive! Now through June 30th, log in at target.com/circle or through the app and vote for The Rainbow Connection!

Walgreens Rewards: To donate here, at Walgreens, you earn unlimited 1% Walgreens Cash rewards when you shop and you can choose how much to donate. Now through May 31st, you can contribute $1, $5, or more of your cash rewards to The Rainbow Connection. It really adds up! To learn more about the myWalgreens program and donate your rewards cash, visit walgreens.com/mywalgreens

Kroger Rewards: To donate here, select The Rainbow Connection as your charitable organization at Kroger.com/account/enrollCommunityRewardsNow. Then every time you shop and swipe your Plus Card, Kroger will make a contribution to The Rainbow Connection!

Your support and generosity are truly appreciated by our Wish Families and our staff here at The Rainbow Connection. We sincerely thank you for your continued support so that we are able to continue making wishes come true for our children here in Michigan! 

The Rainbow Connection Receives Top Award from Charity Navigator

The Rainbow Connection’s (TRC) strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.  This is the tenth consecutive time that The Rainbow Connection has earned this top distinction, an honor only 3% of all charities across the United States achieve.

“The Rainbow Connection’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support The Rainbow Connection.”

Since 1985, The Rainbow Connection has been granting wishes for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses and providing support services to wish families in need. Although a lot has changed over the 37 years since the organization began, the magic of a wish continues to provide hope and joy to Michigan children. Over 3,900 wishes have been granted by The Rainbow Connection, which include wishes to Disney World, shopping sprees and celebrity meet and greets.

Click here to read more about wishes that have been granted by The Rainbow Connection.

Stagecrafters Musical Raises Funds to Grant Wishes to Michigan Children

In 2016, Zack’s wish to go to Denmark with his family was granted. He chose this wish because his family recently had an exchange student from Denmark live with them and they became very close. This trip gave them a chance to see each other again and spend quality family time together.

Six years later, Zack was performing in the musical Cinderella at Stagecrafters in Royal Oak. For each musical, Stagecrafters supports a different charity and Zack recommended The Rainbow Connection (TRC). Volunteers sold merchandise, took donations and answered questions about TRC at each performance. A portion of the proceeds from merchandise sales were donated to support our mission of granting wishes to Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions. One night, after the final curtain call, Zack gave a speech about what his wish meant to him.

Thanks to Zack, Stagecrafters and the generous people attending their shows, TRC received a donation of over $2,500! The significance of this donation goes beyond the dollar amount.  A core value of The Rainbow Connection is staying connected to wish children before, during and after their wish. TRC hosts an annual Picnic and Holiday Party for wish families. The Special Response program offers financial support to families in need and the Scholarship Program provides $1,000 scholarships to wish children pursuing secondary education. When Zack recommended TRC for a donation, it was reminder of the importance of staying connected with our wish families far beyond their wish. We are so grateful to Zack and the Stagecrafters community for their support!

2021 Wish Wall

This has been a very busy year at The Rainbow Connection as we continue to meet with wish children, plan their wishes and get to see their dreams come true! So far in 2021, 113 wishes have been granted and we are looking forward to granting another 40 wishes before the end of the year!

At The Rainbow Connection (TRC), our focus is on the wish children and their families, each child’s special wish and our ability to make them come true. Once in a lifetime wishes give children the ability to dream the impossible! Since we began this mission, no child in need of a wish has ever been turned away or made to wait.

On the left hand side of our Wish Wall, you can see pictures of all the pending wishes. Of the wishes that are pending, it is important to us that these children are not waiting on us. When they are ready for their wish, the Wish Department is ready to make it happen! Like Emily, age 17, who wishes to go on a tropical beach vacation with her family! She has decided not to book her wish yet due to COVID restrictions and has been very busy volunteering with TRC in the meantime. Zachary, age 5, is also waiting to decide on his wish until he is done with treatment. This gives him something to look forward and dream about during difficult days at the hospital.

   

In the center of the Wish Wall, you can see pictures of all the kiddos that have their wishes booked. Lawson, age 4, is going to Disney World right after Christmas! He is so excited to meet his friend Mickey Mouse.  Carson, age 5 is also going to Disney World in May of 2022 and can’t wait to pose with superheroes at Universal Studios.

  

On the right hand side, you can see pictures of all the wish children who have received a wish since January of this year! Ashley was finally able to go to Disney World this past month. Side effects from her treatment made it difficult to walk and her muscles were weak.  She eventually lost the ability to walk and put her wish on hold while she went through physical therapy. Four years later, she celebrated her wish with her family and was able to walk through every park at Disney World!

  

To see more wish stories and learn about TRC, follow us on Facebook @rainbowconnectionmichigan

Lions, Tigers and Trampoline Parks!

The Rainbow Connection (TRC) has been granting wishes for Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions since 1985. Although a lot has changed over the 36 years since the organization began, the magic of a wish continues to provide hope and joy to wish children.

In addition to fulfilling a wish, TRC is proud to offer an Enhancement Program that provides families with support and fun activities as they continue to experience hardships. This includes tickets to a Detroit Tigers game, a Lion’s training camp, the Armada Fair, the Michigan State Fair, and more! These are all fun-filled free experiences for the entire family.

This summer, wish families were able to attend a Tigers game and a Lions Training Day! The Detroit Tigers donated a total of 450 tickets to TRC wish children and family members. The Detroit Lions Training Day let families see the Lions practice close up, participate in family friendly activities and root for their Detroit Lions!

Thanks to a partnership with Urban Air in Utica, every Tuesday, a wish family is able to receive exclusive access to the venue, t-shirts and food! Urban Air has trampolines, zip lines, bumper cars, rock climbing and more! This is the perfect opportunity for wish families to get out of the house, let off some steam, and PLAY!

Finally, we were able to provide both Michigan State Fair and Armada Fair tickets to our wish families. The Armada Fair hosted one wish family each day and provided free access, food and celebrity status! The Michigan State Fair provide 250 tickets for wish families which included a wrist band for full access to all of the carnival rides.

A huge thank you to all of the amazing organizations for providing opportunities for our wish families to spend quality time and create fun memories together. To learn more about The Rainbow Connection, follow us on Instagram @rainbowconnectionmichigan

The Four County Community Foundation Awards Scholarship to TRC Wish Child

Each year, current and former Rainbow Connection wish children can apply for a $1,000 scholarship for up to four years as they pursue a post high school education.   With the support from the Four County Community Foundation, TRC was able to provide funding for one of our 2021 wish child applicants who lives in Oxford, Michigan.  This scholarship not only decreases the financial burden of education for young adults and their families, but also supports our wish children as they look to serve the community in the future.

Gibson, from Oxford, MI, was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) during his first semester as a freshman in high school. He ended up graduating 6th in his class, completing the IB Diploma program, and he also earned the Seal of Biliteracy for Spanish. Gibson finished up his cancer treatment weeks before graduating high school and was able to go on his wish trip that summer. TRC sent him on his dream trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone! He went on private tours which helped him accomplish his biggest goal of the trip, seeing bears, bison, bighorn sheep and more! After that once in a lifetime experience, Gibson started his next journey at Kettering University where he is currently pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering.

TRC is incredibly grateful to the Four County Community Foundation for their support of our wish children like Gibson. We look forward to continuing our Scholarship Program this year and granting scholarships to more students ready to make their impact in their community.

The Rainbow Connection Receives Top Awards from Charity Navigator and GuideStar

The Rainbow Connection (TRC) is excited to announce that we have been awarded both the 2021 Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar and, for the ninth consecutive year, the Four Star rating from Charity Navigator. This is the highest level of recognition offered by both GuideStar and Charity Navigator.

Receiving four out-of-four Stars for nine straight years is an honor only 4% of charities evaluated by Charity Navigator receive. Both of these ratings represent The Rainbow Connection’s commitment to fiscal responsibility in stewarding the donations provided to us in fulfilling our mission of providing wishes to Michigan children with life threatening illnesses.  Of each dollar spent in 2020, over 86 cents was devoted to TRC’s mission.

The Rainbow Connection is referring to this year as the year of HOPE! With travel pretty much suspended last year due to the pandemic, TRC was limited to the types of wishes that could be granted. However, we are off to an amazing start in 2021, already granting wishes to the most requested place – Disney World! Thanks to safety protocols at Disney theme parks and their partners, TRC is once again giving hope and providing opportunities to create priceless memories to so many children in need.

Last month, Kim’Miyah, along with 16 other wish children, returned from her magical wish trip to Disney World! Each family stayed at Give Kids the World, a private village reserved for wish families that features a spa, Movie Theater, mini golf, carousel, ice cream shop, and more!

Kim’Miyah’s mom shares, “This trip meant so much to us, we had an amazing time. It was like a dream come true for Kim’Miyah, her sister and I. When Kim’Miyah saw Minnie in the parade, her face brightened up and they were blowing kisses to one another. It was such a priceless moment!”

Click the following links to learn more about TRC’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency on both their GuideStar profile page and the Charity Navigator profile page.

From the Wish Department: Behind the Scenes

The Rainbow Connection office is bustling with excitement because more than 30 wish families will be travelling to Disney over the next month!  We want to take you behind the scenes to show you how our wish department prepares for these exciting moments.

First, TRC staff work closely with our Wish Families choosing dates, filling out required forms and securing travel arrangements.

Approx. 1-2 weeks prior to the wish departure date, we assemble and distribute the Wish Delivery Packages. The Wish Delivery Package includes a personalized wish binder. This contains all the specific details for the wish including reservations, activities, contact lists, itineraries and more! Once they’ve had a chance to review it, their Wish Coordinator schedules a call to walk them through the details, answering any questions along the way. It’s important that our families feel prepared and excited for their upcoming wish! Each package also contains travel details, a Rainbow Connection T-shirt for all family members, and fun surprises for the kids!

When a child’s wish is to visit the theme parks in Florida, they stay at a magical place called Give Kids the World. This is an incredible resort located in central Florida that partners with The Rainbow Connection to provide Wish Families weeklong magical wish trips to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Tickets to all of the local theme parks including Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center and Legoland are provided. (www.gktw.org)

Each child’s wish is made unique with experience tailored to their heart’s desire. Perhapes they want a Mickey Mouse autograph, to meet their favorite princess or explore Harry Potter World. Whatever the wish, The Rainbow Connection makes sure that each child and their families have the opportunity to make lasting memories.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook @rainbowconnectionmichigan to see more wish stories and pictures over the next few months!