Liz Ann Sonders is using her skills and influence to grow the charity that is nearest to her heart.

Sonders, one of the top investment strategists in the country, joined the national board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation three years ago and quickly got to work helping the organization improve its finances.

Sonders set up a committee to oversee changes in how it handled investments. She also recruited some of the best financial experts around to participate in the nearly two-year process of establishing an investment policy and hiring a new money manager for the charity.

"It needed to go to the next level in terms of sophistication," Sonders says.

Having connections in the finance world worked to her advantage, but Sonders recalls needing to do little persuading to enlist others for her cause, because the work that Make-A-Wish does-bringing joy into sick children's lives-is so rewarding.

In recent years she has witnessed in a personal way the impact of a wish being granted.

One of her son's friends was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, and Sonders says seeing him get to go to springtraining with the New York Yankees touched many people.

"We know the granting of a wish is a wonderful thing for the child or parent. It allows them to forget about the doctor, the treatments, and the hospitals," she says. "What you don't realize until you get deeper into the process is the ripple affect on teachers, students, and others."

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