Starlight Children's Foundation

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Starlight Children's Foundation
Motto Starlight Children's Foundation partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world.[1]
Formation 1982
Type Non-profit organization
Purpose Children's charity
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Region served

Starlight Children’s Foundation, founded in 1982, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve hospital experiences for children and chronically ill teenagers. It is headquartered in Los Angeles, California,[2] and its programs support hospitals that serve over 60 million children around the world.[3]

Starlight has several proprietary programs, including Starlight Wish Lists, a commerce site where users can choose and purchase items to donate to fulfill local children’s hospitals’ needs,[2] and Starlight Sites, treatment rooms and hospital lounges that are transformed into kid-friendly environments.[4] It also runs the Starbright World online community, a private social network that connects teens who are struggling with chronic illness.[5]


Starlight Children's Foundation was founded in 1982 by Peter Samuelson and Emma Samms, who was inspired by her brother's death, at age 8, from aplastic anemia.[6] In 2010, Jacquie Hart was recruited as CEO.[7]


Starlight operates several children and family-oriented programs to serve the 1,750 pediatric facilities and children's hospitals it partners with around the world.[8]

Starlight Wish Lists[edit]

Launched in 2013, the Starlight Wish List program was created as a business model that helps partner hospitals while remaining more transparent for donors.[2] The program provides a platform for hospitals, hospices and other facilities to publish customized wish lists of items they need to serve hospitalized children; potential donors can search the lists by hospital name, geographic location or specialty served and purchase items that are shipped directly to the hospital they choose.[9] Starlight operates wish lists for over 500 hospitals in the United States.[10]

Starlight Fun Centers[edit]

Starlight teamed up with Nintendo to build Starlight Fun Center mobile entertainment units, which contain Wii technology that has been customized for hospital use.[11] The units carry family-friendly Wii games and a DVD player[12] and serve as a distraction to brighten moods and boost kids' morale during hospital stays.[13]

Starlight Sites[edit]

In partnership with corporate donors, Starlight solicits grants to fund Starlight Sites, which are renovations to children's hospital treatment rooms designed to make kids more comfortable during procedures.[14] The aim is to distract children from pain and anxiety, thereby improving their experience and making procedures easier for doctors and nurses to carry out.[15] Sites can also take the form of teen lounges and kids' playrooms, designed for chronically ill kids facing long stays in the hospital.[16]

Starlight Tablets[edit]

Starlight provides tablets to children's hospitals so that kids with limited motion and those who can't leave their beds can still play games.[17] The tablets are housed in protective covers that comply with infection control protocols[18] and come with games, apps and connection to the Starbright World online community.[18][19]

Starbright World[edit]

One of Starlight's programs is Starbright World, the first-ever private social network started in 1995 by filmmaker and Chairman Emeritus Steven Spielberg, Peter Samuelson and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.[3] It serves to connect chronically ill teenagers and teens with life-threatening medical conditions, as well as their siblings,[8][20] in a safe, online community where they can chat, blog, post content and meet others who share similar experiences.[21] Starbright World was taken offline after a celebration of its tenure by its members on August 31st 2015.


  1. ^ Starlight
  2. ^ a b c "St. Mary's, Miller Children's Hospital Request Donations Through Charity Wish Lists" Long Beach Post. December 12, 2014.
  3. ^ a b “Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte To Be Honored By Starlight Children’s Foundation” Look To The Stars: The World of Celebrity Giving. July 2, 2014.
  4. ^ "Thunderbirds Charities Make $100,000 Donation In Support Of Two Starlight Site Treatment Rooms" WM Phoenix.
  5. ^ "Social Entrepreneurship's Optimist" U.S. News & World Report. July 29, 2014
  6. ^ "Dynasty’s Emma Samms: My brother’s death made me start Starlight Foundation" Metro UK. May 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "Yoobi Highlight: Jacquie Hart" Yoobi Social. November 23, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Georgetown Men's Basketball Helps Starlight Children's Foundation Grant Wish" Hoya Athletics. June 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "Spread a Little 'Starlight,' and Help Sick Kids Heal" L.A. Parent. August 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "Starlight Enhances 'Wish List' Program with Online Gift Certificates" The Chronicle of Philanthropy. December 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Starlight Starbright Wii Fun Center rolls right up to hospitalized children, not your lazy ass" Engadget. August 26, 2008.
  12. ^ "KC Royals wins mean wins for KC charities" Kansas City Business Journal. October 27, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nintendo Hooks Up Hospitalized Kids With Wii Fun Centers Kotaku. June 24, 2008.
  14. ^ "Taking the dark and scary out of Elmhurst Hospital" The Queens Courier. March 9, 2011.
  15. ^ "Starlight Children's Foundation NY*NJ*CT Unveils New Care Room at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital" The Paramus Post. January 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "Boston Medical Center Officially Opens Toys 'R' Us Children's Fund-Starlight Site" BU Public Relations. April 3, 2006.
  17. ^ "Para Murphy's and Starlight Children's Foundation" 95.5 The Mountain News. August 14, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Mineola, N.Y. - Starlight Tablets Help Young Patients Cope with Hospitalization" Advance Healthcare Network Regional News. October 23, 2013.]
  19. ^ "Photos: Cancer patients at Primary Children's receive iPads" Deseret News. December 18, 2014.]
  20. ^ "Social Network Connects Kids, Teens With Special Needs" CBS Los Angeles. October 19, 2012.
  21. ^ "Live to Give" Vancouver Canucks News. November 20, 2009.

External links[edit]