The Make-A-Wish Foundation Appoints Disney Executive Vice President To Its National Board

PHOENIX (May 08, 2003) – The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America has named Salil Mehta of The Walt Disney Company to its national board of directors.

As executive vice president of Corporate Business Development and Strategic Planning for The Walt Disney Company, Mehta has played a key role in developing several new businesses, including international Disney channels, domestic cable services, and new content-distribution initiatives, as well as Disney’s strategy for video-on-demand. Mehta also has been involved in strategically enhancing the growth of ESPN, as well as establishing a relationship between Disney and the Chinese government.

“We are pleased to welcome Salil to our national board,” said Paula Van Ness, president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. “His executive leadership and wealth of experience in strategic planning certainly make him a valuable addition to Make-A-Wish’s mission of bringing hope, strength, and joy into the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.”

“It is an honor to serve on the board of an organization that touches so many, and whose goal is simply to make these special children happy,” said Mehta. “A few years ago, I lost a 3-year-old cousin, Pooja Mehta, to cancer. I serve in part to honor her, and to help fulfill the wishes of children like her.”

Mehta’s work in the nonprofit arena includes his current service on the Fulbright Association Board and support of Girls Inc. Los Angeles. Mehta has expressed his sincere interest in serving an organization with a strong commitment to children and families, particularly since he and his wife, Christopher, have recently become the proud parents of a baby girl.

Many children really believe that Walt Disney World and Disneyland are truly the happiest places on earth. It’s no surprise that the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disney have been granting wishes to visit a Disney park for more than 21 years. During fiscal year 2002, the most requested wish by far was to visit a Disney park. During that time, Disney provided more than 4,000 wish children, along with their families, complimentary entrance tickets to Walt Disney World and more than 300 children and their families visited Disneyland.

Now in its 22nd year as a Make-A-Wish corporate sponsor, Disney-Hand, Worldwide Outreach for The Walt Disney Company, continues to be supportive of the Make-A-Wish Foundation by creating public service announcements airing on ABC Television Network and offering wish children specialized Disney gift packs and other VIP perks, including character visits, product donations, tickets for sporting and ice events, private movie screenings, movie and TV experiences, and special privileges aboard Disney Cruises.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. It is the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 77 chapters in the United States and its territories and 27 international affiliates on five continents. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted more than 110,000 wishes to children around the world since 1980. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation,