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GW014: Your WISH is My Command with Frank Shankwitz, Founder of Make-A-Wish Foundation

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The Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the most well known children’s charities in the world. It grants “wishes” to children who are terminally ill – “because wishes make very  sick kids feel better – and sometimes, when they feel better, they get better.”

Today, we are in conversation with Frank Shankwitz – the Genie (founder) of the organization.

Frank has been a part of the U.S. Air Force, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. He has been a Homicide Detective and a sworn Reserve Detective assigned to the Prescott Police Department Cold Case Homicide Unit, and is the current secretary/member with the Yavapai County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse. Frank has 40 years of service in law enforcement. He is the former President/CEO of Make-A-Wish.

His life is his service. Today, Frank shares with us the beautiful story that lead to Make A Wish, and many more that came after.


~ Chris’ Story: The “wish” of 7-year old Chris with leukemia came true when he was made the first and only Honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer, much like his heroes from the TV show, “CHIPS”, complete with a uniform and a badge.

One of the primary officers from the Arizona Highway Patrol responsible for granting this wish, Frank recounts the beautiful start of Make-A-Wish Foundation.

~ Police Officer to President: Frank talks about the challenges he faced while juggling a full time job and starting a non-profit organization.

~ Integrity, Accountability, Transparency: Frank wanted to make sure that the money received by the organization, went to the children. He insists that every donor use CharityNavigator to ensure that their money and time is going to a deserving organization.

~ Most Popular Wish: The Disney wish is the most common among children. What are the others?

~ The Wish Planners: The foundation makes sure that the wish being granted is always what the child wants. Frank tells us about the pre-wish-granting process.

~  Wish Man: Frank gives us a sneak peek into Wish Man – a movie based on his life.

“Anyone can be a HERO”


Frank’s entire life has been dedicated to service. He is part of that community that wants to help others. He believes that his service has rewarded him with the feeling that he has given back to his world.

Frank’s advice to us is – take care of yourself, “fill your cup”, and then help others. He stresses on the importance of giving back, and reveals that he is starting a foundation known as the Ripple Effect Foundation. Tune in to find out more about Frank’s new mission!


Once Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children by Rachelle Sparkswith and Frank Shankwitz



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​”Whatever Good Things We Build End Up Building Us.” – Jim Rohn-​

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