Cass Forkin was very happy she answered her phone last January while on a skiing trip.
To her amazement, the caller was a man saying he was leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Twilight Wish Foundation, a Bucks County-based nonprofit that grants “last wishes” for seniors. Forkin founded the organization almost two decades ago.
The 51-year-old man, who asked to be anonymous, was dying and had no family to which he could leave his money, said Forkin. He had searched for an organization that supported older Americans after helping his uncle, during his final days.
“He said, he felt our country does not do enough to address the disease of aging, nor do we do well taking care of seniors’ needs. He thanked me for starting Twilight Wish so he could have a place to make a difference,” Forkin said.
And, what a difference, the $420,000 is making.
The foundation’s net assets have increased from $200,000 to $600,000 and, said Forkin, “we are making our foundation more sustainable and can look forward to granting wishes in perpetuity.” Part of the legacy donation was used to support hiring a full-time executive director.
“We’ve updated our five-year business plan to include growing more chapters and granting thousands of more wishes in the next few years,” Forkin explained. In its 18 years, the foundation has “celebrated seniors” and granted 4,088 wishes. From an 82-year-old woman who wanted to drive an 18-wheeler across the country to an elderly man who wanted to attend a Yankees game, Twilight Wish has worked to fulfill many dreams.
Mary Mannix Meister, Twilight’s treasurer and director of its board of directors, said the large gift is transformational for the small foundation.
“I’ve been very taken with how the donation has allowed staff to concentrate on granting wishes instead of worrying about our funding stream,” said Mannix Meister. “This is a challenging time for nonprofits,” as philanthropic giving is trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
On Sept. 19, foundation representatives will travel to Lucerne County to unveil the “amazingly thoughtful” donor’s tombstone, purchased by Twilight Wish.