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 ran the Starbright World online community, a private social network that connected teens who were struggling with chronic illness.[5] Starbright World closed on August 31, 2015.


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 was 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 served to connect chronically ill teenagers with life-threatening medical conditions, and their siblings,[8][20] in a safe, online community where they could chat, blog, post content, and meet others who shared similar experiences.[21] Starbright World was taken offline on August 31, 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]