Buy & Give: More Than a Partnership on Paper with Make-A-Wish®

Buy & Give: More Than a Partnership on Paper with Make-A-Wish®

Uniting companies and communities, see how Make-A-Wish® and Millcraft’s Buy & Give paper program are changing lives.

On a sunny day in August, at a park in Indianapolis, Indiana, Make-A-Wish® wish child Sammy, age 5, had no idea what was about to take place. His parents told him only that their family was going to the park – which was already a pretty big deal for Sammy, a five-year-old with a critical illness who also uses a wheelchair.

Arriving at the park, where he saw balloons and streamers but was still unaware of the "Wish Reveal" mere moments from happening, Sammy didn’t know that communities across the Midwest had been involved in the gift he’d soon receive. He didn’t know that businesses throughout his hometown community had declared this day – and granting this very special wish – their mission, too, or that his story had inspired many, from their employees to their customers, to take part.

Rounding the bend, about to come face-to-face with what he’d only dreamed of in his young heart, Sammy was not aware that a corporate partnership, hours of work and volunteer effort, or the sale of approximately 12,000 cartons of Buy & Give copy paper had anything to do with him and the life changing gift he was about to receive.

Counting down to the big Wish Reveal, Sammy was wrapped in support by a circle of friends, family, volunteers, and community members far and wide who all took part in granting his wish—that’s what Millcraft’s Buy & Give program together with Make-A-Wish® makes possible.

Shared Principles and Values

Established in 2014, Millcraft’s Buy & Give paper program grew out of Millcraft’s mission to create meaningful impact within Millcraft’s communities, and to give back to those in need. The initiative provides businesses the opportunity to support local charities through routine purchases of Millcraft’s Buy & Give brand office paper. For every carton of paper purchased, Millcraft donates $1 to the program.

Millcraft partners with Domtar –a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and airlaid nonwovens – to produce and market Buy & Give multi-purpose paper throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and West Virginia. Since its inception through Millcraft’s 2021 fiscal year, Buy & Give has generated more than $565,000 within Midwest communities served by select charitable organizations, including Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana’s Fort Wayne and Indianapolis offices.

Make-A-Wish® Foundation of America has inspired tens of thousands of volunteers, donors, and supporters since 1980 to advance their vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a critical illness. As stated at their website, “For children diagnosed with critical illnesses, a wish come true can be a crucial turning point in their lives. A wish can be that spark that helps these children believe that anything is possible and gives them the strength to fight harder against their illnesses. This impact is why we are driven to make every one of these wishes come true.”

Millcraft Division Manager Tom Barnhorst says the decision to select Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana (OKI) as his Indianapolis and Fort Wayne divisions’ designated Buy & Give Paper program beneficiary was based on alignment with Millcraft’s principles of honesty, loyalty, and integrity. “Our teams voted on who we wanted to partner with,” says Barnhorst. “We chose Make-A-Wish® because we believe they truly care about the kids and families, and they take the time to really connect with people and communities.”

Together With Make-A-Wish®

Chosen as a designated Buy & Give paper program beneficiary by Millcraft Indianapolis in 2015, Millcraft Fort Wayne also developed a partnership with Make-A-Wish® OKI in 2020.

Make-A-Wish® Advancement Officer - Indianapolis Maria Quinton says, “The care and compassion that Millcraft puts into our partnership, directly engaging with our families and making our kiddos feel special, it’s a wonderful partnership and it’s incredible what they’ve accomplished in just a short time.”

All total, Millcraft’s Buy & Give program has generated more than $80,000 in donations to Make-A-Wish® since 2015, and the company has been involved in granting eight wishes – soon to be nine when wish child Cecilia experiences her wish to soar through the snow at an adaptive ski resort. Quinton says an average wish costs $10,000 to $12,000, including the special Wish Reveal event.

Make-A-Wish® Senior Advancement Officer of Northeast Indiana Jenny Boyd says every Wish Reveal is a little different, depending on the child’s wish. Boyd says some wishes include family vacations and celebrity meetings, others she describes as unique and highly customized. Boyd says every Wish Reveal includes personalized details to make the child feel supported and special, and to give the child and their family a sense of hope during hard times.

For example, Millcraft Fort Wayne and Make-A-Wish® granted wish child Rylee, age 5, a break from the minutiae of a cancerous tumor with the fun backyard pond accessories that she wished for. Surrounded by family, friends, and volunteers, Rylee’s Wish Reveal took place in her family’s backyard – that now includes a giant water trampoline and dock to fish from and jump off!

“It’s amazing to see wish kids with smiles on their faces, feeling the love and seeing their community supporting them,” Boyd says.

Connecting Companies and Communities

Barnhorst says Make-A-Wish® has proven to be an extraordinary organization to partner with. “It’s important to Millcraft to make an impact in our communities and to give back,” Barnhorst says. “Meeting with these kids and families, learning their stories, and being part of the behind-the-scenes effort, Make-A-Wish® provides us a story to share that is identifiable and builds connection with everyone involved.”

Make-A-Wish® OKI presents Millcraft with a wish child toward the beginning of each year, like Cecilia, Rylee, and Sammy. Through monthly meetings with division managers, Millcraft teams, employees, and customers become well versed in each child’s story and wish, as well as details of what’s needed for the Wish Reveal event generally held in the latter portion of each year. “Our teams are here every day pushing to reach the goal and grant that wish,” Barnhorst says.

“Our corporate partnerships,” Boyd says, “allow companies to engage their employees to be part of doing something good, while also engaging customers to be involved at the community level.” Boyd says Millcraft’s Buy & Give program brings added benefit and value to their customers, creating a feel-good buy that helps grant life-changing wishes.

Be Part of a Wish Reveal

On that sunny day in August, at a park in Indianapolis, Indiana, surrounded by his family, friends, and people with an earnest desire to help, including Barnhorst and a handful of Millcraft employees alongside Make-A-Wish® OKI team members, wish child Sammy received the surprise of a lifetime and what his young heart desired.

“Sammy said that spending time with his family and three siblings was his favorite thing to do,” says Quinton. “He wished for a camper so his family could spend more time together doing what they love…fishing, playing, and going camping.”

Decorated with balloons and streamers, and customized to be fully wheelchair accessible, funds generated from Millcraft Indianapolis’s Buy & Give paper sales directly supported the fulfillment of Sammy’s wish: a camper for him and his family.

“Seeing the smile on their faces,” Quinton says, “knowing that memories for a lifetime will be made in that camper, for Sammy and for his family, it’s just incredible knowing that you had some small part in that.”

Written by: Jen W. O’Deay

To learn more about the Buy & Give program in your area, Just ask.


Related Stories

Read More

Buy & Give Paper Program Nears $600,000 in Local Charity Support

Read More

When Copy Paper Is More than Copy Paper

Read More

Buy & Give: Honoring Community with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton