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Omaha Magazine

Brian Ketcham Set to Become Chairman of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska

Mar 28, 2022 04:49PM ● By Jeff Lacey
brian ketcham in boardroom

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

 Brian Ketcham has donated his time and talent to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska for well over a decade, and, in September, is slated to become the next chairman of their board of directors. 

He couldn’t be happier.

Ketcham’s relationship with Make-A-Wish began with the help of his wife, Lisa, who started donating her time to Make-A-Wish in 2008. The more he learned about the organization, the more his appreciation of the organization grew. Of course the mission to grant life-changing wishes for critically ill children is fundamentally inspiring, but the people he worked with to bring hope and joy to the children and families battling life-threatening illnesses made the work all the
more meaningful.

“I got to know the staff, and I learned what an outstanding organization it was,” Ketcham explained. “When they eventually approached me to join the board, it was a really easy decision. I was at the point in my career, as well as in my family life, that I had the time to give back. It was really a no-brainer for me.”

Ketcham has been involved in granting lots of wishes over the years, but lately those wishes have been particularly memorable because of the pandemic. Many travel wishes have been put on hold, but that hasn’t stopped the organization from pursuing its mission. Ketcham recalled one wish granting that took place in July 2020 that involved a then-6-year-old boy named Andrew. The youngster suffered from congenital heart disease, and had made it through nine open heart surgeries at the time. “We were restricted from granting travel wishes because, in the early throes of COVID, travel had been suspended,” Ketcham recalled, “but the family had wished for a camper. So we got them one. We were actually standing socially distanced in the driveway and on the lawn, and we’d purchased toys and camping equipment.” Holding back tears, Ketcham recalled the reveal, an act that not only pierced Andrew’s situation, but the collective struggle the entire country was facing. “We were there when the father and mother pulled up in the camper, and the grandmother brought the kids, [including] Andrew, out. The joy and excitement on everybody’s face was, well, the whole point,” Ketcham explained. That week was especially memorable for the family. Andrew’s younger brother Jaxson has a genetic disorder and was granted his wish, an outdoor play set, the day before Andrew received the camper. Ketcham was not a part of Jaxson’s wish granting.

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska CEO Brigette Young couldn’t be more enthusiastic about working with Ketcham.“We are so grateful and appreciative of both Brian and Lisa,” Young said, “and you can see the joy and excitement on Brian’s face when wishes happen. You can really tell how genuine he is about the Make-A-Wish mission.” 

For Ketcham, working with Make-A-Wish has become a family affair. Not only are he and Lisa invested, his daughter Lindsay and son-in-law Dustin are involved in wish granting as well. Add to this that Lindsay Corp., where Ketcham is the senior vice president and CFO, has been the title sponsor of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska’s Blue Jean Ball fundraiser since 2019.

Ketcham feels that Make-A-Wish isn’t merely a charity, it is an investment in hope itself. Last year, despite the pandemic, the organization granted 90 wishes. According to Ketcham, “You get out so much more than you put into it.”

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This article originally appeared in the April/May 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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