The Guelph Wish Fund for Children was founded in August 1984 by Ron Asselstine and Alan Ferris. On a routine trip during his officiating career in the National Hockey League, Ron found himself in a Minnesota hotel room
watching TV after the game. While watching the news, Ron was inspired by a young boy reporting the weather. The boy, he learned, was ill, and was given the opportunity to deliver the weather report as the fulfilment of a wish. At that moment, Ron decided he wanted to do something similar in his home town of Guelph. Upon his return, he told Alan about the idea. Alan was similarly inspired by the story, and shortly thereafter the two formed the Guelph Wish Fund for Children.
The first ‘wish’ was granted in May 1985, and, since then, the Guelph Wish Fund for Children has supported over 350 children and their families.
After 30 years of incredible effort by Ron and his wife, Wendy, the Board hired Peter Baldasso as its first part-time Executive Director. For the next 5 years, Peter worked with the Wish families and Board volunteers managed the administrative and fundraising concerns. Upon Peter’s retirement in 2017, and the Board’s desire to take on a more proactive governing role, Sharon Rice and Joanne Grodzinski were hired to share the program and management responsibilities.
During its early development, the Wish Fund received generous financial support from many individuals and corporations. The generosity of the community continues to grow and allows our organization to flourish. For over 30 years the GWFC has held an annual Gala and annual Golf Tournament. We are especially grateful for the support of the many ‘third party’ fundraising events held on our behalf by many local businesses, community organizations and groups. GWFC has never solicited nor received government support.
In April, 1995, the Guelph Wish Fund for Children formally incorporated into a non-profit corporation and received charitable status in the same year. From its humble beginnings of a few friends sitting around a dining room table, the organization has grown substantially and is now professionally managed and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Guelph Wish Fund for Children will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2019.