Generation Next: Wishful Thinker
Jessica Woolsey grants a first-place effort to Waves & Wishes
Six years ago, Jessica Woolsey volunteered to help launch the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Carolina’s first Waves & Wishes 5K run/walk. The event brought together 125 participants and raised $10,000 to help grant life-changing wishes to kids facing life-threatening medical conditions. She eventually moved on to become executive director of the ASCEND Foundation, a small nonprofit dedicated to fighting cancer. Then this spring, the 32-year-old newlywed returned, accepting a job as the special projects coordinator for the state Make-A-Wish chapter. While she helps organize some of the gifts and works to build relationships with area companies, her specific focus is to again pull off the annual Folly Beach fundraiser. And this year, she’s giving past iterations a run for their money.
Jessica’s goal is to attract 500 runners to the certified 5K course, and she’s already more than doubled last year’s sponsorship amount of $4,800 (total race proceeds came to $25,000). Noting that the average wish costs about $6,000 to grant and could include anything from meeting a celebrity to attending a major sporting event to indulging in a shopping spree, she’s proud that the nonprofit has never turned down a medically qualified child. “Knowing what these kids have been through, to be able to take their minds off of their treatments and give them joy, even if just for a moment, is priceless,” she says. And that makes all of her sponsor searching, marketing efforts, and logistics planning well worth the energy.