Our History

Starlight Children’s Foundation is on a mission to improve quality of life for children, families and communities. Since 1982 Starlight has invested in programs that support children’s overall health and development. Today, Starlight’s global community network supports children and families in 11 countries and territories.

1982 
First Starlight wish granted by Peter Samuelson and Emma Samms.
1983 
Starlight Children's Foundation incorporated on February 2.
1986
Starlight opens in the United Kingdom.
1988
Starlight opens in Australia.
1989
Starlight opens in Canada.
1990
The first Starlight Site opens to support the overall health and wellbeing of pediatric patients by providing a beautifully designed child-friendly environment.
1991
Starbright Foundation is founded by Peter Samuelson and Steven Spielberg to harness the power of technology and the entertainment industry to create projects that empower seriously ill children and teens struggling with prolonged illness.
 
The Starlight Fun Center mobile entertainment unit is launched in pediatric facilities to provide distractive entertainment and therapeutic play.
1995
Steven Spielberg and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf debut Starbright World, a fully navigable shared virtual reality environment linking children from their hospital beds across the country.
1996
Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel opens a Starlight Site.
2001
From 2001 to 2004, Starlight launches a series of interactive and multimedia programs that educate children about medical procedures and illnesses, including Mysteries of Bone Marrow, Blood Tests, Coping with Chemo, Cystic Fibrosis, Living with Kidney Disease, Quest for the Code, Secrets of Spinal Fluid, Sickle Cell Slime-o-Rama, Spotlight on IVs, Radiology Center and
X-Men in Life Lessons.
 
PC Pals® is launched, providing laptops for pediatric patients.
2004
Starlight Children’s Foundation merges with Starbright Foundation.
2007
Get Fit, Get Right® is launched as an online program designed to reduce obesity in teens and help prevent type 2 diabetes.
2013
Starlight launches a technology platform that connects its community partner network and helps identify critical unmet needs and harnesses the power of giving to fund them.
2015 Starlight funds an unprecedented 11 new or renovated healing spaces in the Chicago area including playrooms, therapy gyms, rehabilitation facilities, outdoor spaces and child-friendly treatment rooms.
2016 Starlight launches the VGo robot program offering students or doctors the convenience of telecommuting into a school or healthcare setting with 2-way video and audio and remote controlled access.
2016
In recognition of its excellent fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency, Starlight is awarded a top 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.