On the first episode of the webseries “Granted,” a local high school football team, the Williamstown Braves, was grieving over the loss of one of its players . Gathered on the field during practice, the team erupted in cheers after hearing that they would get to meet the Philadelphia Eagles.
The webseries is a new project launched by Bianca’s Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children who have experienced great hardship and need some reason to be happy. The organization has helped 13,000 children in need, including children who are handicapped or living in difficult economic conditions.
Director of Bianca’s Kids Debbie Savigliano worked with a group of Wharton freshmen as part of the Management 100 course, in which students are tasked with working on a project for a nonprofit client. Bianca’s Kids recruited these freshmen to help to promote the webseries.
Savigliano founded the nonprofit after her niece, Bianca Yodice, was killed in a car accident. Yodice always enjoyed working with foster children, including those with separation anxiety. On the nonprofit’s website, anybody has the opportunity to submit a wish for a loved one whom they believe is in need. Savigliano and the rest of the organization’s board review each submission.
Savigliano said Yodice’s memory continues to impact the organization’s mission.
“It was Bianca’s dream and passion to work with children. At the time she was killed, she was walking to the daycare center where she worked. I felt that Bianca’s dream didn’t have to die because she did,” Savigliano said.
Bianca’s Kids is a nonprofit, and all of its 10 board members work for no pay. The organization primarily raises funds for wish-granting through individual donations, along with contributions from large companies such as Chick-fil-A.
Savigliano said she considers her staff to be incredibly devoted in dedicating their time to the nonprofit.
“What’s amazing is that we don’t get paid at all and we all work at this part-time. We all have full-time careers, myself included,” Savigliano said, adding that the employees spend many of their days off and weekends on projects for Bianca’s Kids.
Wharton freshman Gabriela Blood, a member of the team working with Bianca’s Kids, said she saw firsthand how much the board members care about their cause.
“We went to a premier party [for the webseries] where we got to meet Debbie face to face. There was definitely a family atmosphere to the event, and it was clear that they really love what they do,” Blood said.
The webseries has gained a significant following online, and the first episode has more than 2,000 online views. The organization plans to continue spreading its message through the webseries and hopes to create a television show about their wish-granting. Currently, Bianca’s Kids is working with a film producer in Los Angeles with the end goal of creating the production.
Savigliano said she believes that people greatly want this kind of “feel-good” television.
“I know from the countless letters we receive every day and from the response to the webseries that people truly want this kind of show. There are all of these murder dramas on TV right now, but everyone tells me that they want to watch a show like ‘Granted,’” Savigliano said.
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