Michael Jordan, regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time and a successful business leader, now has a new title announced Saturday, January 24th, 2009 – Chief Wish Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Jordan was formally introduced in his new role by David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America president and chief executive officer, at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational golf tournament. The tournament was held at Kerzner International’s Atlantis, Paradise Island resort and Ocean Club Golf Course in The Bahamas.
Jordan, who has granted more than 175 wishes during the past two decades, will serve as lead figure for the Foundation’s newly formed Wish Ambassador Council and as a national spokesman, assisting the Foundation’s efforts to increase wish-granting outreach.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wish Ambassador Council is composed of people who are passionate about the Foundation’s work, including the Make-A-Wish® founders, celebrities and national sports figures such as Jordan, former wish children, wish parents and Foundation supporters.
"An estimated 27,000 children are diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions in the United States each year, and I’m eager to do what I can to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation reach out to even more of these courageous children," Jordan said. "Granting children’s wishes through the Foundation has always been important to me. It’s a truly humbling, inspiring experience to see the smiles and joy that granting a wish brings to a child. I want to help even more children have that same opportunity."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has increased its number of wishes granted each year since 1985, including 13,425 in 2008, the most in its 28-year history. Yet that many more seriously ill children may be eligible for a wish from the Foundation, creating the opportunity to increase its outreach efforts.
"We are extremely honored for Michael Jordan to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation as our first Chief Wish Ambassador," Williams said. "Michael is one of the Foundation’s most popular celebrity wish granters ever. He has a great appreciation and enthusiasm for our mission, and we’re delighted for him to help us reach out to even more children with life-threatening medical conditions."
To celebrate the occasion, Jordan also granted the wish of 7-year-old Donovan Russell of Sacramento, Calif. Russell, along with his family, met his basketball idol in a private meeting Friday at Atlantis, Paradise Island, and he is enjoying a number of activities at the resort as part of his wish experience.
Also on Saturday, the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational made a $150,000 contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as one of the tournament’s charity beneficiaries. The eighth annual tournament will distribute more than $500,000 to selected charities this year.
"We appreciate the generosity of Michael, Kerzner International and everyone involved with the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational," Williams said. "This wonderful contribution will help us grant the heartfelt wishes of dozens more children who truly deserve the hope, strength and joy that comes from a wish experience."
About the Make-A-Wish Foundation: The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 66 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 26,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 174,000 wishes in the United States since its inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.