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This week, we’re in conversation with Kim Anania, KMA president and current Make-A-Wish® Maine Board Chair, on the power of paying it forward—in business and in life.

What is your philosophy around paying it forward?

When I was creating a vision for my company, once it was clear to me that this was going to become a reality, I knew that I had to include a pay-it-forward component to my mission. From a young age, I was confronted with several friends losing parents, and I understood how just being there for others is invaluable. Then, when my husband and I were starting our family, our oldest son, Charlie, was born eight weeks early, and I was put on bed rest for six weeks with our youngest son, Sam. These challenges were made more bearable by my community, who showed up for me and helped out with anything and everything. Meals appeared; swaths of un-mowed grass disappeared. I have personally experienced the power of paying it forward, and I’ve never forgotten.

How are you able to incorporate this into KMA’s culture and values?

For me, it’s both a passion and a privilege to give back. I’ve incorporated these values into KMA, and I support my employees who want to do good in their own communities—whatever that means to them. Many KMA staff members serve on boards and contribute their time and money to causes that are important to them. They have 8 hours of paid time every year to use for volunteer work. That’s one small way I try to keep up the spirit of pay-it-forward.

Tell me about your work with Make-A-Wish® Maine. How did you get involved with the organization?

About three years ago I was recruited by a colleague, Beth Shissler, who was terming off the board. She explained the mission and how gratifying the work of the organization was. I’ve been involved ever since, and this year I became Board Chair. Even though this means a larger time commitment, I couldn’t be more excited to be working alongside such a dedicated team of board and staff members. We’re granting the wishes of children with critical illnesses, bringing them joy and easing their suffering a little bit. I can think of nothing more important or powerful than that.

As Board Chair, what are your goals for the organization?

Make-A-Wish® has an amazing national brand. What people don’t know in Maine is that we are responsible for raising 100% of our budget, and that all the funds raised in Maine stay here to help kids in local communities. As Board Chair, my first goal is fundraising so we can grant 78 wishes this year. We will also be creating our strategic plan for the next three years, and as always, recruiting new board members.

What’s happening with the organization right now that’s exciting?

Most exciting is our Wish Night event, coming up on November 9. This event raises enough funds to grant more than 22 wishes to Maine children with critical illnesses. We’ll have live music by the Time Pilots, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, mystery box draw, an auction, and blackjack, roulette, and craps tables. Also new in 2020 will be the Trail Blaze Challenge. Designed as an endurance event, it will give participants the opportunity to tackle 20+ miles of Maine mountain terrain. This is a journey, not a race, and caters to all levels—from hiking novice to advanced outdoor enthusiasts.

What are some ways others can get involved?

Giving: Generous individual donors make it possible for Make-A-Wish® Maine to change lives. We welcome all donations. Whether you make a one-time gift of cash or frequent flyer miles, set up a monthly donation, or establish a matching gifts program at your workplace, you are essential to helping share the power of a wish.

Volunteer: Without volunteers, transforming lives would not be possible. Make-A-Wish® Maine is supported by more than 200 selfless volunteers across the state who help give life to wishes each year.

Partnerships: Corporate partners are essential to helping Make-A-Wish® accomplish its mission. Through the generosity of businesses ranging from family-owned local enterprises to some of the world’s largest corporations, we are able to share the power of a wish.

Fundraising: When it comes to raising funds for Make-A-Wish® Maine the options are endless!

  • Walk for Wishes®
  • Wish it Forward®
  • Kids for Wish Kids®
  • Wishmakers on Campus®
  • Wishmakers at Work®
  • Online Fundraising
  • Register Campaign
  • Cause Marketing

For More Information

Visit www.maine.wish.org/waystohelp to learn more!