The largest single donor to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada (wish.org/snv), Linda Richardson is Make-A-Wish America’s 2021 National Philanthropist of the Year, an honor bestowed on one member from its 59 chapters. Here, the 26-year volunteer shares how giving back has transformed her life.
What does being Philanthropist of the Year mean to you? I am truly honored to be recognized by Make-A-Wish and to play even a small role in its mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. It’s not about me, it’s all about the children they serve, and I feel blessed to get to positively impact these children’s lives by helping to make wishes come true.
Why is Make-A-Wish’s mission close to your heart? I’ve been involved with many different organizations over the years, and they are all amazing, but my work with Make-A-Wish is extraordinarily special. Watching children who are struggling with critical illnesses get to experience their heartfelt wish is incredibly moving and rewarding. If you’ve never experienced wish granting personally, I would encourage everyone to find a way to do so. A wish doesn’t just leave a lasting impact on the child receiving it; it leaves a lasting impact on those who have the honor of granting it.
Which philanthropic accomplishment has meant the most to you? It probably won’t come as a surprise that my all-time favorite Make-A-Wish moment was the very first wish I granted with my daughter, Melissa. That single experience lit a fire in us that literally transformed our lives. It led to 20 years of working together to not only grant wishes for children when they need it most, but to create the Fashion Luncheon event, allowing us to increase our impact for Wish kids in Southern Nevada. Melissa and I have always been close, and volunteering for Make-A-Wish brought us even closer.
What is your motto in life? My motto in life is just to have a positive mindset. I have long been guided by the mantra ‘Where much is given, much is expected,’ and I have tried to teach that to my children through example.
Dream job? I was lucky enough to have my dream job: being a mother and a grandmother. That’s all I ever wanted to do.