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Top 3 best large nonprofits

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Articles - October 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
make-a-wish foundation Oregon
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oregon, the No. 2 Best Large Nonprofit to Work For in Oregon, recently granted the wish of Cooper Albright of Tigard to be a construction worker for a day. Cooper got to drive an excavator with assistance from JR Hendershott, an employee of Papé Machinery.
Oregon Make-a-wish foundation
Lizzie Carraro at the Make-A-Wish Foundation surrounded by toys that help fulfill the wishes of children with severe illnesses.
Cooper Albright gets his wish along with his brother, Max, right, at Papé Machinery in Portland. // PHOTOS BY JUSTIN TUNIS

No. 2 Best Large Nonprofit

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oregon

Magic fuels the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oregon, which explains the crown and wand displayed at every desk.

The mission is simple, says communications manager Kelly O’Malley-McKee: “All we do is grant wishes.” Granting 180 wishes a year to children with severe medical conditions requires a lot of coordination and teamwork though, and when the magic loses focus executive director Andrew Asato is there to help. “[He] is our anchor,” O’Malley-McKee says.

“[Asato] is the best communicator I’ve ever met,” says wish coordinator Samantha Piwonka. The mission and the staff are the top two reasons the employees love working at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but Piwonka’s amazing parking spot is third on her list. Sometimes the small benefits outweigh the big ones.

The flexible work environment at this Portland nonprofit allows the employees to balance their personal and professional lives. “We have to be happy outside of work to be happy inside of work,” says corporate alliances manager Carynne Drake. When the staff isn’t granting wishes, they are enjoying each other’s company. The 14 Oregon employees eat lunch together every day.

This is the second year that the Make-A-Wish Foundation has made the 100 Best list. Perhaps because many of the employees are looking forward to their three-week sabbatical, which they receive after five years.

The employees realize their work environment is unique, where talk of storm troopers, fairies and pirates is not uncommon.


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