Starlight Children's Foundation


Who are Starlight Children's Foundation?

Starlight works to improve the experience of hospitalisation and treatment for “seriously ill children, young people and their families”. They have a permanent physical presence in every major paediatric hospital in Australia.

Why do they exist?

Their mission is “to brighten the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children, young people and their families.” They highlight that “in 2013-14, Australian hospitals recorded 1.6 million outpatient appointments and 870,000 inpatient admissions for children and young people. During hospitalisation children and young people often experience fear of painful procedures, separation from friends and family, boredom, a lack of privacy and limited opportunities for socialisation.”

What do they do?

Starlight delivers the following programs:

  • Captain Starlight: professional costumed performers and artists who entertain and engage children in a variety of activities.
  • Starlight Express Room: designated space within major paediatric hospitals that provides medical-free respite for children and their families.
  • Starlight TV: a station that runs 24/7 in major paediatric hospitals and provides children, young people, and their families with continuous, age-appropriate TV shows and movies, as well as two live shows daily, produced by Captain Starlight in the local Starlight Express Room.
  • Starlight Wishgranting: Starlight grants wishes of seriously ill children and young people. Children are actively involved in choosing their wish experience.
  • Livewire: a program to connect teens and young people (10-20) experiencing serious illness or disability, through a safe online community.
  • Outreach to Indigenous Communities: Captain Starlight visits rural and remote Indigenous communities to improve the primary healthcare experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and to promote healthy living through entertainment and play.

How do they earn their money?

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission


How do they spend their money?

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission


Should I donate to Starlight Children's Foundation?

Starlight are a legally registered charity with deductible gift recipient status. They demonstrate they are trustworthy. They are clear about their achievements, describe how they are governed and are transparent in their finances. They also show signs they are effective. They evaluate their programs, seek feedback from their beneficiaries and use the findings of their evaluations to improve service delivery. Notably, they actively seek research that helps them further improve their programs. 

However, we need to see further information before being confident Starlight is an effective charity. We were unable to locate Starlight’s strategy. Without a strategy it is difficult to understand the future direction of the organisation, its key priorities and how it intends to achieve any strategic goals. In addition, while Starlight present the key findings of their program evaluations, they don’t provide the complete reports that allow us to verify the quality of these evaluations. 

After assessing both the strengths and weaknesses of Starlight, our recommendation is neutral. They demonstrate that they are trustworthy, but need to provide more information to demonstrate they are effective. We therefore need further assurances before being able to recommend them with confidence. These include:

  • organisational strategy; and
  • complete evaluation reports. 


We have investigated the finances, operations and results of Starlight and present our evaluation in a report that you can download now. This evaluation shows you how your donation is spent, who is running the organisation and whether there are any potential conflicts of interest. It also examines whether the charity can demonstrate that they are delivering meaningful results. Finally, it contains our recommendations for potential donors and the reasoning behind them.

Download our complete evaluation of Starlight below to find out if they're the charity for you.

Starlight Children's Foundation

Find out whether Starlight Children's Foundation is the charity for you. In this evaluation we describe what this charity does and why, what you should know about them, how your money is spent, who is running the organisation and whether they deliver results. Last of all, we recommend whether you should donate to them based on the findings of our analysis.

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