The Real Wishes Foundation was locally grown, organized and continues to flourish in Sierra Vista. It began in 2005 and was inspired by Mark Ciccariella, then president of the Southeast Arizona Association of Realtors and organized by Patti Miller.The Real Wishes Foundation is owned by the Southeast Arizona Association of REALTORS Inc. Real Wishes are granted throughout Cochise County.

Current Real Wishes Foundation president, Linda K. Broughton, provided us with information on their efforts for 2017 — when 25 wishes were granted to individuals and/or families.

Granting those wishes put $21,049.54 back into our community. The lowest was $90 for bus passes and an additional $46.44 for a cart usable on the buses, for a total of $136.44.  The highest was $2,307.03 on medical bills and cataract surgery.  

Their mission statement is “Paying it forward to the community,” and they are a 501(c)3 charity with a board of directors and support staff who are all volunteers.

Since 2005 they have helped hundreds of people and families: They have cleaned up yards and homes; paid for septic repairs; filled propane tanks; helped with car repairs; fixed broken wells; provided gift cards for household goods, supplies and clothing for fire victims; paid for chemotherapy and even a pair of steel-toed shoes for a homeless man to rejoin the workforce.

The highlight fundraiser for the past several years has been their Dancing Like the Stars event, an evening of dinner, entertainment and auction. They will begin planning meetings in March for the Aug. 18 event. Additionally, they receive Arizona Charitable Tax Credit donations, memorials and items donated are sold to generate funds.

The applications for assistance, which they accept all year round and are required, can be picked up and returned at the Real Estate office at 125 S 2nd St., Sierra Vista.

With the application they require copies of two months of bank statements and verification of income. A background check will be processed prior to the application going to the board.

They work under the concept of offering a "hand up" not a "hand out."

The foundation also offers support to other local charities. They have donated money, food or needed items to the Forgach House, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and Habitat for Humanity.  

They just recently finished Their Coats For Kids donation drive. The coats were distributed to the schools and through the Blake Foundation.

Residents can become members of the Foundation by purchasing a T-shirt or making a donation. For more information on this organization, visit their Real Wishes Foundation website, or find them on Facebook. By telephone, 520-458-7802 or by email at info@realwishesfoundation.org.

It’s good to know about the good they do, and we hope to speak for all our readers in saying “Thank You.”

This feature is compiled by Herald/Review staff. Contact us at goodmorning@myheraldreview.com