The Shine’s on Children’s Dream Fund

Posted On 05/07/2021 by St. Pete Chamber Member

The Children’s Dream Fund is a locally-based wish-granting organization, founded in 1981 with the single purpose of fulfilling dreams for children ages 3-21 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and who live in West Central Florida.

It all started in 1981, when a story went out on the AP wires that 8-year-old Fransie Geringer of South Africa, who suffered with the aging disease Progeria, dreamed of meeting his hero, Pinocchio. The Sunshine City Jaycees responded by raising the money to bring Fransie and his family to Florida. After the visit, excess funds from the trip were offered by Fransie’s family to be used to help other children. Some of the members of the Jaycees formed a non-profit organization to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses, and the Suncoast Children’s Dream Fund was born!

Today we serve children undergoing treatment at seven hospitals in Florida, however our roots are here. We love the St. Pete community and are grateful to call this city home. We were proud to host the Chamber, the Mayor, and city officials at a ribbon-cutting at our new office, 1600 23rd Avenue North. Dream child Ryder Karppe attended as an ambassador to represent all of the children we have served as we enter into our 40th year of making dreams come true.

Dreams vary as much as the personalities of the children who make them. They may involve meeting a celebrity, a trip, a gift such as a computer or playground, or our most-requested dream, a week at Give Kids the World Village, which enables a child to visit all of the Orlando-area theme parks.

The Children’s Dream Fund is not affiliated with a national organization. Since 1981, the Dream Fund has made dreams come true for over 3,000 children. We carefully steward the funds entrusted to us by our donors and over 85% of all funds go directly to making children’s dreams come true.


And last, but definitely not least, we just celebrated the retirement of our Executive Director of 35 years, Cynthia Lake Farrell. Cynthia grew up in St Pete and is very well-loved in our community. We are proud to welcome our new Executive Director, Amanda Griffin, a former employee of the Children’s Dream Fund and a St. Pete native. Cynthia knows she is leaving our organization in excellent hands!

If you or your company would like to make a child’s dream come true, stop by our office, head to our website, or email Lisa Halter at

Learn more about Chamber member, Children’s Dream Fund.

Category: Featured