Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the Miami Herald has championed the needs of the less fortunate in our community. In 1952, the Miami Herald Lend-A-Hand-Fund was incorporated to formalize these efforts. In December 1982, the Miami Herald published its first Wish Book in an effort to spotlight needy individuals in South Florida. The Herald Charities was officially founded in 1995 to offer readers an opportunity to make a difference in a neighbor's life. Since then, the Miami Herald readers, together with Spanish-language readers of el Nuevo Herald have contributed several million dollars to assist some of the neediest people in our community.
In 2020 alone, the Wish Book Program raised more than $450,000 and more than 750 individuals were helped. Wishes ranged from food, clothes, and toys for the holidays to more desperately needed items such as medical services, wheelchairs, lifts, housing and home repairs, furniture and dental work.
In early October more than 600 non-profit social service agencies in South Florida are contacted to nominate clients for the Wish Book Program: Specifically, Wish Book candidates are clients for whom the agencies have already expended available funding, but whose needs go beyond the agency's resources. The nominees are screened by the Wish Book team and the Miami Herald reporters work diligently to profile as many cases as possible every holiday season, running from Thanksgiving Day through the New Year's Day. Currently plans are underway for another successful season.