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Make-A-Wish Gala

The 30th Anniversary Make-A-Wish Gala

Saturday, April 8, 2017 | 6:30 P.M.
InterContinental Boston

The 30th Anniversary Make-A-Wish Gala: Where Every Wish is a Home Run
A wish is an invitation for a seriously ill child to step up to the plate, to set sights on a heartfelt dream and embrace the possibility of it coming true. At the 30th Anniversary Make-A-Wish Gala, we will cheer for every wish child’s home run – and for our team of supporters who work together to make each child’s wish experience a true victory.

The Gala is sold out! We invite you to visit for details on additional upcoming events. Please contact Jo-Anne Spillane at 617.367.9474 or for additional information or questions about the 30th Anniversary Make-A-Wish Gala.

Master of Ceremonies: Liz Brunner, Brunner Communications
Auctioneer: John Terrio, Auction Knights

6:30 p.m.
Cocktail Reception, Silent and Super Silent Auctions, Diamond Raffle

8:00 p.m.
Dinner and Evening Program, Award Presentation to the Boston Red Sox

9:30 p.m.
Live Auction and Fund-A-Wish

10:00 p.m.

Afterglow Reception and Dancing

Cocktail Attire; Valet Parking Only 

30th Anniversary Gala Evening Schedule

30th Anniversary Gala Evening Schedule

30th Anniversary Honoree: The Boston Red Sox

Championing our mission for children across the country and around the world, the Boston Red Sox are in a league of their own. It is our distinct honor to recognize the Boston Red Sox at the 2017 Make-A-Wish Gala for their extraordinary partnership in transforming the lives of our wish children.

Children on dugout bench

Thank you to all of our 2017 Gala Sponsors


Steve and Deborah Barnes

Bain Capital Community Partnership


Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine

PWC_Logo   Weil


Major sponsors
Brown Brothers Harriman / William and Natalie Whelan
John and Stephanie Connaughton 
Paul and Sandy Edgerley 
GE Digital Solutions
Dave and Katie Grosek
Hal and Jodi Hess
Russell and Elaine Keene
Michael A. Krupka and Dr. Anne C. Kubik 
Sharon Lewis, Bernstein Wealth Management
Robert and Lorraine Paglia
Steve and Judy Pagliuca 
Andrew and Melissa Rees
Gregg and Polly Ribatt

2017 Gala Committee

Committee Chair
Cheryl Wilkinson, The Colony Group LLC

Committee Members
Christina Adams, Converse
Kristan Fletcher, Brunner Communications
Laurie Flynn, Beacon Hill Legal
Victoria A. Goldberg, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Kristine Hoag, Dorchester, Massachusetts
Matt Nagler, BANK W Holdings LLC  / The Nagler Group
Elizabeth Noonan, The Colony Group LLC
Joanne O'Connell, Holliston, Massachusetts
Courtney Pirosko, AIS-Inc.
Faye Sahagian, Bolton, Massachusetts
Kellie F Sahagian, Universal Studios Orlando Special Events 
Tannaz Saponaro, Verrill Dana LLP
Christen Smith Funsch, Zurich North America
Eric Vaden, Karmory LLC
Amy Waryas, Boson Red Sox; Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island Board Member
Megan Worley, Melrose, Massachusetts

A Look Back at the 2016 Gala

  • Gala emcee Liz Brunner, left, interviews wish recipients Ben and Sarah

  • Wish child Maleah, 5, who wished to be a model, struts the runway with professional models

  • L to R: Kevin O'Connell, board member, with Wish Hero Award recipients Lori and Chris Nelson

  • Board chair Bob Paglia welcomes guests and thanks the evening's sponsors

  • Wish dad DJ Norton speaks about his son DJ's wish for designer sneakers

  • Fifteen-year-old DJ's wish for Nike Air Mag sneakers is granted live on stage by Chris and Lori Nelson

  • Wish mom Natasha and her son Gabriel, 7, share highlights from Gabriel's wish to meet Tom Brady

  • Wish mom Carol Corcelli shares the story of her daughter Isaballa's wish to dance with Tony Dovolani from Dancing with the Stars

  • L to R: John Terrio of Auction Knights with Gala emcee Liz Brunner and Steve DeFillippo, Chef/CEO of Davio's, as they auction off a special Davio's experience

  • L to R: CEO Charlotte Beattie with Bob Dickey, President, Randstad Technologies, and his wife Tracey

  • Board member Cheryl Wilkinson, left, with board member Jay Mattie and his wife Susan

  • CEO Charlotte Beattie, center, with Kim McCaslin, board member (right), and Kim's husband Brian as well as Amy Kritzer, MD, (left) a member of our Medical Advisory Council, and Amy's husband Joshua

  • The 2016 Make-A-Wish Gala celebrated the empowering impact of wishes

A Powerful Evening Celebrating Hope, Strength, and Joy!

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all our friends and supporters who helped make the 2016 Make-A-Wish Gala, “Where Wishes Empower,” a success! A special thank you to our Presenting Sponsors, Steve and Deborah Barnes together with Bain Capital Community Partnership, and The Nelson Family Foundation for their tremendous generosity.

The event, held on April 9, 2016, at the InterContinental Boston, drew nearly 500 guests to enjoy an evening of celebration featuring wish recipients, wish parents, and wish granters who shared how wishes can inspire, elevate, and empower a child – and a community. Liz Brunner, president of Brunner Communications, returned as emcee for an inspiring evening featuring stories of empowerment and joy from wish recipients and wish parents. The night began with wish child Maleah, age 7, strutting her stuff on the runway as part of her wish to be a model. Guests were also treated to a surprise wish reveal for wish recipient DJ whose wish for a pair of collectible Nike Air MAG sneakers – the ones worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future – was granted on stage, complete with a personalized note from the shoe’s designer and a surprise video message from the actor himself, Michael J. Fox.

The heartwarming evening raised over $1 million to grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. We thank all of our sponsors, participants, guests, volunteers, and other supporters for joining us and helping to empower our wish children in the coming months!

Not able to attend our annual Gala this year? Join our e-mail list to stay informed about upcoming events and wish stories.

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Photos by Michael Blanchard Photography

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Maleah Catwalk

Glimpse into Maleah's wish to be a model
2016 Make-A-Wish Gala

View the video

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Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island
One Bulfinch Place, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 367-9474
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Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island, West Springfield Office
181 Park Avenue
Suite 12
West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 733-9474

Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Providence Office
20 Hemingway Drive
East Providence, RI 02915
(401) 781-9474