The Dream Foundation was conceived in 1994 after its founder, Thomas Rollerson, learned that there was no Make-A-Wish counterpart for terminally ill adults. The Dream Foundation fills that gap by allowing terminally ill adults and their families to achieve their final dreams. The program serves adults who are at least 18 years old, have a life expectancy of no more than one year, and lack the means to pursue their dreams without the Dream Foundation.
The Dream Foundation is supported by the generous donations of its individual and corporate sponsors as well as fundraising events it holds throughout the year. One of its biggest fundraisers is the Dreamland Gala, held annually at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, California. On November 5, 2016, the Dream Foundation celebrated its 15th annual Dreamland Gala.
The event featured a silent auction, followed by an elegant dinner, and concluded with an after-party emceed by DJ Chris Cox. During the dinner program, Dream beneficiaries shared emotional stories about wishes that had been fulfilled by the Dream Foundation. Grammy Award-winning singer Estelle also performed. In total, about 600 people attended the event.
Since inception, the Dream Foundation has helped over 27,000 recipients achieve their dreams. It has never turned down an applicant who met its eligibility criteria.