Philly Creative Guide

Creative Personality

Dave Girgenti | President Wish Upon A Hero

Interview :: Dave Girgenti
by Juanita Berge, 1 Aug 2009

Creative Director, CramerSweeney-a full service,corporate communications company Founder, President Wish Upon A Hero

As the Creative Director and Partner of CramerSweeney, Dave oversees the creative process for all the company's marketing services – everything from advertising and branding to printed collateral material and website design. Dave has worked with national giants such as Coca-Cola, Intel, Disney, JCPenney and Comcast.

Dave's biggest accomplishment to date is his altruistic creation, Wish Upon A Hero, an online community that offers a platform for people to help people directly. The website is designed to allow anyone the unique opportunity to cast a wish as well as the extraordinary ability for anyone to be a hero. The site has been featured on ABC World News with Charles Gibson, CNN, USA Today and Woman's World, among many other media outlets.


PCG: How did Wish Upon a Hero get its start?

DG: Wish Upon A Hero was developed out of the inspiration founder, Dave Girgenti, felt following the tragic events and heroic response to 9/11 coupled with the incredible need displayed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is a one of a kind service designed to connect those in need with people that can truly change their lives. A unique venue for any individual, organization or company looking to make a difference in someone's life, or the lives of countless people.

A graphic designer and marketing guru at heart, Girgenti worked family, friends and colleagues at CramerSweeney to make Wish Upon A Hero a reality. Leaning on others to assist in web development, publicity, marketing, etc.

As a way to grant larger wishes and to help more people, Dave established the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

Dave Girgenti | President Wish Upon A Hero

PCG: Who is eligible for these wishes?

DG: Anyone is eligible to post a wish. It can be need based or just a fantasy. Wishes range from diapers for a newborn to trips to exotic locations; groceries for the family to cosmetic surgery.


PCG: What have been some of the most special wishes granted?

DG: Every one of the wishes granted to date have been special, but one of my favorites had to be when the Wish Upon A Hero community came together to send a 90 year-old WWII veteran back to Pearl Harbor for the first time since the attacks.

The wish was cast by the veteran's daughter as a 90th birthday present for her father. It was really an amazing story that touched us all. It was also one of the largest wishes granted.

In addition, we recently had the most amazing wish granted. A Hero on the site is donating their kidney to a total stranger. She has already been through every round of testing and the kidney transplant is scheduled to take place in late August or early September. This is the most amazing wish that you can grant for someone. She is literally saving someone's life!


PCG: Who grants these wishes?

DG: Everyone can be a hero and our site proves that. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers; the wealthy, the less fortunate; individuals, groups and corporations have all granted wishes through our website.


PCG: For all those would-be heroes out there; how do they know these needy wishes are legitimate?

DG: Wishes can be certified through a screening process and we have security measures in place to help eliminate scamming. In addition, we always encourage our heroes to open the communication lines with the people they are looking to help. Find a comfort level with the wisher before granting the wish.

This is more than a website. Wish Upon A Hero is a community where people help people directly.


PCG: Does Wish Upon a Hero have a staff?

DG: Wish Upon A Hero is currently operated by a staff of volunteers who all do this while working a full time job.


PCG: How many wishes have been granted to date?

DG: More than 36,000 wishes have been granted to date.


PCG: There must be some un-granted wishes in memory for you. Are there any one or two that stick out for you because of their need?

DG: Some wishes are not granted yet because we haven't found a hero with the right connections – for instance, a man who wishes to be an extra in a Batman movie. Other wishes are beyond the financial capacity of the website. Such as members who wish for a house or a place to live. These are the types of wishes that we see being able to grant in the future as the site grows and more people know about the good being done here.

Dave Girgenti | President Wish Upon A Hero

PCG: Wish Upon a Hero has an awards gala now. What's that all about?

DG: The Hero Awards Gala has been established to recognize and honor people and organizations who have displayed the greatest contributions towards making dreams a reality. The prestigious Hero Awards Gala is the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation's largest event and is held annually. The Gala also serves as the Foundation's main fundraising effort for the year.

This year's event will take place on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. Visit www.wishuponaherofoundation.org for details and to purchase tickets.


PCG: Is there anything you would like to say to the public at large?

DG: I would encourage everyone to sign up and cast a wish or become a hero. It just takes a couple of minutes to sign up and you will be amazed at how much time you spend reading through the wishes and learning about the amazing heroes who have had an incredible impact on the lives of thousands of wishers.

There is no wish too big and no hero to small. Wish Upon A Hero provides users the unique opportunity to cast a wish or become a hero with just a few clicks of the mouse. Everyone is empowered to help someone.

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