East Hawaii News

Donated Unused Timeshares to Benefit Make-A-Wish Children

November 27, 2013, 11:08 AM HST
* Updated November 27, 4:56 PM
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Children with life-threatening medical conditions will be the beneficiaries of a new pilot program designed by two non-profit organizations.

Donate for a Cause, which has pioneered the donation of timeshares for charities, is teaming with Make-A-Wish Foundation to provide accommodations in Hawaii.

“The idea is phenomenal,” said Siana Hunt, CEO of Make-A-Wish Hawaii. “I’m absolutely thrilled with this unique way to make wishes come true for our wish kids and their families.”

Hunt told Big Island Now that Make-A-Wish has found a trip to Hawaii to be the second-most desired wish in the world, trailing only Disney-related visits. That translates to approximately 800 children’s wishes to travel to the Aloha State with their families each year.

Donate for a Cause is seeking timeshare owners with Hawaii weeks as well as those with points at Wyndham, Hilton, Disney and Diamond, since those developments have multiple locations in Hawaii and their point systems allow owners to come from any of their other locations nationwide.

If enough users donate their usage in Hawaii, the two charities will extend the program to other parts of the country.

Both organizations are 501(c)(3) charities, and Donate for a Cause will issue tax receipts for the usage.

“Until now, the rule of thumb for timeshare usage has been to use it or lose it,” Jim Tarpey, founder of Donate for a Cause, said in a statement. “Our new program will give owners and donors much more flexibility.”

The traditional model for Donate for a Cause is giving charities proceeds from selling timeshare donations from owners who can’t go on vacation in any given year. In this case, the group isn’t selling the usage, just passing it on.

“It’s an altruistic idea that will bring a lot of good to Make–A-Wish families as well as timeshare owners,” Tarpey said.

According to a 2013 study by the American Resort Development Association, only 54% of timeshare owners are using their vacation properties.

But Donate for a Cause said reselling the unused weeks can be difficult, which is where the organization helps by making the unused timeshare “pay for itself.”

For more information, visit Donate for a Cause or Make-A-Wish Hawaii.

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