Mike Manatos, of Bethesda, Maryland, a member of the Leadership 100 Board of Trustees who competed in his first Make-A-Wish Triathlon in 1997, has generated more than $500,000 for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to grant the wishes of 75 local children with life-threatening medical conditions. “The more I learned about Make-A-Wish, the more wish kids I met, the more deeply involved I wanted to get in the Foundation. It went from being a wonderful charity that I supported to one of my life’s passions,” said Manatos. Manatos, who is Senior Vice President at Manatos & Manatos, a government relations and public policy company in Washington, D.C., started out as a volunteer at the Foundation and later became a member of the chapter’s fundraising advisory board. In 2008, he joined the Mid-Atlantic governing board of directors.
Manatos has had many memorable moments with Make-A-Wish over the years. His second date with his future wife and fellow Make-A-Wish Triathlon competitor, Laura, also a member of Leadership 100 and the Fox 5 News Anchor in the Washington, D.C. area, was spent at a wish send-off celebration. Also sharing in the joy are his three young children who join him each year in crossing the finish line.
“The moment I became a father, my commitment to and passion for the Foundation increased exponentially,” said Manatos. “The thought of how difficult it would be if one of my children ever had a life-threatening illness made me appreciate the power of a wish that much more.”
The Manatos family’s commitment to the Foundation does not end with his wife and children. His mother, Tina, also became involved with the Foundation, first as a volunteer and now as an enthusiastic wish granter, and his sister-in-law’s chocolate company, Edward Marc, has partnered with Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic for a number of events. Both parents, Andrew, President of Manatos & Manatos, and Tina are long-time members of Leadership 100.
Founded in 1983, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic has granted the wishes of more than 7,000 local children fighting life-threatening medical conditions such as cancer, pediatric AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Duchene’s muscular dystrophy, kidney and heart disease. In 2011, the Mid-Atlantic chapter granted a record number of 404 wishes.