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2023 Year in Review

2023 was a spectacular year at The Rainbow Connection!

In 2023, 157 wishes were granted to Michigan children with life threatening illnesses. We are so honored to meet each and every one of these children and see the joy and happiness their wishes provide. We also provided assistance to wish families through our Enhancement Program, Special Response Program and Adopt a Family Program! 

157 Wishes Came True! 

• 107 Disney World wishes!

• 16 travel wishes including Smoky Mountains, Hawaii and more!

• 28 shopping sprees!

• 6 in the “other” category which includes concerts, family photo sessions and meet & greets!

Each wish is unique to the child and provides them something to look forward to during treatments and hospital stays. This year, we even had a wish to go horseback riding at Yellowstone National Park and a wish to visit Savannah, GA for Ghost Tours! 

1,400 wish children and their families were served through our Special Response Program! This included a Winter Coat drive, School Supply drive, grocery gift cards and more! 

“Novalynn’s package came in today and she was in awe when she saw the gloves & hat!! Those colors are her favorites & it’s so soft! The gloves will be perfect for building a snowman. I had to do a double take when I saw the gift card…thank you guys so much!!!”

4,500+ tickets were given out to wish families through the Enhancement Program! This year, we were able to provide tickets to Sesame Street Live, Disney on Ice, Paw Patrol Live, Monster Jam, Detroit Lions Training Camp, the Detroit Auto Show AND MORE! This also includes our Wish Family Holiday Party which occurred at the beginning of December. 100+ families were in attendance and it was a great way to kick off the holiday season!  This program allows us to provide wish families with additional experiences beyond their wish and continue to stay part of The Rainbow Connection family. 

Last but certainly not least, is our Adopt a Family Program! 177 families were adopted for the holiday season this year!! 

This program is possible because of the generosity of our community and donors. So many Michigan families are going to be having a very magical holiday season and that is all thanks to YOU! A wish family shared their appreciation for the Adopt a Family gifts,

“We can’t express how much we appreciate your help. This has been a long road, harder than we imagined. We’re so blessed to be a part of this beautiful, caring community.”

The Four County Community Foundation Awards Scholarships to Wish Children

Each year, current and former Rainbow Connection wish children can apply for a $1,000 scholarship as they pursue a post high school education.   With the support from the Four County Community Foundation, TRC was able to provide funding for two of our 2023 wish child applicants who live in St. Clair and Oxford, 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.

Saint Clair resident, Dylan, is attending SC4, a local community college this fall. He wants to transfer to a university in a few years to pursue a degree in Medicine and become a Family Physician. His wish to receive a Polaris Ranger ATV came true in 2018!

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 a pediatric oncologist. Gibson’s wish to go to Yellowstone National Park came true in 2019!

TRC is incredibly grateful to the Four County Community Foundation for their continued support of our wish children. In 2023, The Rainbow Connection was able to award 25 scholarships to wish children across Michigan. With the help of our partners, like the Four County Community Foundation, outside donations and grants we look forward to a successful program next year, and many years to come!

The 2023 Wish Family Picnic

The Rainbow Connection’s Annual Wish Family Picnic took place this past month. This event is an opportunity to connect with our wish families, kick off summer and HAVE FUN! The children enjoyed face painting, inflatables and even an appearance from Spiderman! Local non-profits including Gilda’s Club Detroit, Bottomless Toy Chest, Camp Casey and more provide arts and crafts stations. The Sterling Heights Firefighters provide a wonderful meal for all 400 attendees. It is an incredible day full of smiles and laughter!

Additionally, this year several Tim Horton’s owners from the Metro Detroit area were in attendance to present funds raised through their Smile Cookie campaign held in May. 100% of each Smile Cookie sold in the Metro Detroit area went directly to The Rainbow Connection. At the wish picnic, they presented their check for over $60,000! This event was a wonderful way to celebrate this fundraiser and all the wishes granted at The Rainbow Connection. Thank you, Tim Hortons!

The Rainbow Connection’s Special Response Program Supports Wish Families in Need

The Rainbow Connection’s mission is to make dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses. As the Wish Department worked with wish families over the years, it became obvious that additional assistance was needed for wish families as they care for their child. The Special Response Program was designed to address these unexpected financial needs in the areas of utilities, housing, clothing, transportation and food.

Markus, a 12-year-old with sickle cell anemia, and his family were struggling after a power outage. His mom had to throw away much of their food supply leaving them with an unexpected need. Markus’ mom says,

 â€śMy family is forever grateful for this generous assistance to defray the cost of replacing food that was ruined due to a massive power outage. This really made my day and I can’t say thank you enough.”

Additionally, food assistance was provided to 2-year-old Jayce and his family in Detroit. Jayce has a neurological condition and his care has become their primary focus. His mom says,

            “Having a child with so many medical needs can make you feel alone but The Rainbow Connection always makes us feel like an important part of a great big family of people who can relate to our struggles.”

In 2022, over $90,000 was provided in Special Response assistance. This impacted 237 wish families and over 1,000 wish family members. To find out more about this program visit, https://www.rainbowconnection.org/wishes-and-more/special-response-program/

Movie Marathon Raises Funds to Grant Wishes for Michigan Children

The Rainbow Connection is bringing back the Movie Marathon fundraiser on Saturday, February 25 at the beautiful Emagine Theater in Macomb. This fun-filled event will begin at 9:00am and will end at 9:00pm. All tickets purchased include 12 hours of first-run movies and unlimited pop and popcorn for just $65.00 a ticket!

Enjoy a day away from the cold weather and enjoy the latest movies being released! Bring a blanket to stay cozy and enjoy all the popcorn and pop that you can eat and drink! With a variety of movies to choose from, there is sure to be something for everyone!

Movie Marathon is perfect to attend as a day trip for the family, as a date with a loved one or for some much needed “me-time”! Most importantly, this fundraiser helps raise crucial funds to grant wishes for Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased by going to rainbowconnection.org or calling 248-601-9474.

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 38 years since the organization began, the magic of a wish continues to provide hope and joy to Michigan children. Over 4,000 wishes have been granted by The Rainbow Connection, which include wishes to Disney World, shopping sprees and celebrity meet and greets.

To learn more about the Movie Marathon and purchase tickets or sponsorships, click here!

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!