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April 23, 2007

Shedding More Light on the Wish Project

by at 7:45 am.

It was with great enthusiasm that I began to read Mike LaFleur’s article in Saturday’s Sun, “Lowell project makes wishes come true. They need help, too.”

I was already quite familiar with the Lowell-based charity that is the subject of the article, The Wish Project since Kristin (K-R-S) is a member of the Board of Directors and volunteer extraordinaire.

For the most part, the Sun article did focus on the role of the project – a primary source of furniture, home and baby goods for the needy of Lowell. When shelters and housing assistance groups place a previously homeless person in a new apartment, in many cases, the Wish Project provides the furniture.

But I found some of the information inconsistent with my personal knowledge of the Wish Project and its Founder and Executive Director, Donna Hunnewell. For example, the decision by the Board of Directors to pay her was made after losing two grants. Organization and government agencies which distribute grants demand stability and sustainability.

I contacted Donna to ask her about the article and she did indicate that the information in the paper was not complete and at times perhaps misleading. I do not know if this is a result of poor copy editing or poor communication.

Donna said that she wanted everyone to know that “We are superbly fiscally responsible. We currently deliver $9 worth of goods for every $1 we take in gross revenue from all sources.”

The problem this charitable group as with many non-profits in this City is that there is a lot of competition for financial support while the need for their services grows. The Wish Project had to recently expand their space and thus increase their rental expenses. As most of us who are involved in non-profits know that landlords who rent to charities do not get a tax break, so they are forced to rent their space at market rate. The Wish Project now pays $3,333/month just for rent.

Although the volunteers and staff of the Wish Project were grateful that the Sun shedding light on their mission, they wanted to be sure that the complete picture is projected.

Donna ended our conversation by letting me know that she wanted once again acknowledge that they would not exist if it were not for the many hundreds of volunteers and the support of many local agencies and donors. “I want to publicly thank all those who have supported us,” Donna added.

The Lowell Wish Project can be reached at 978-441-WISh or through their web site, link here.

2 Responses to “Shedding More Light on the Wish Project”

  1. Lynne Says:

    Do you know how many subjects and issues we could get to talking about if we weren’t needing to correct the Lowell Sun on a regular basis? Yeesh.

    Nice job, Mimi, on completing the story and giving us another perspective that illuminates the discussion.

  2. K-R-S Says:

    Nice post Mimi..As previously discussed, in reading it myself, it hadn’t occurred to me that there was any issue. However, in my mind, I suppose I am filling in the blanks with my own base of knowledge about what we do and the experiences we have had in assisting folks with fire, flood, domestic abuse or medical issues.

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