About Us

All children are special. However, Variety – the Children’s Charity’s purpose is to serve children who are less fortunate – children who live and grow up with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage. These are extra special children who require a special kind of help.

THAT HELP IS YOU AND VARIETY – THE CHILDREN’S CHARITY.

Under its core programs Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert delivers on its promise to provide a future without limits for every local child, regardless of their background or ability, and to be the most trusted and effective children’s charity in the Coachella Valley.

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Variety’s Care Program delivers critical life-saving medical equipment and services, healthcare and well-being to individual children and children’s health organizations.

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Variety’s Freedom Program delivers vital life-changing equipment and services for mobility, independence and social inclusion to individual children and children’s organizations.

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Variety’s Future Program delivers crucial life-enriching communication equipment and services, education and self-esteem to individual children and children’s organizations. Unlike most charitable organizations that focus on a single area problem or issue, Variety focuses on multiple unmet needs of children who are sick, disadvantaged or live with disabilities and other special needs in the Coachella Valley. Our aim is to maximize the real, long-term positive social impact for all children. Variety welcomes the support of any person who shares our ideals and objectives – the profound and long-term life changing benefits your donation and support delivers to a child cannot be overstated. Although Variety’s work is serious, we never forget the importance of having fun. Bringing smiles to the faces of children is a positive and fun experience for Variety volunteers, sponsors and supporters.

OUR MISSION

Variety - the Children’s Charity of the Desert, is dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of children who are underprivileged and/or have special needs in the Coachella Valley.

Through hard work, thoughtful stewardship, and single-minded focus on the needs of the young, Variety strives to make a lasting difference in the lives of children, their families, our community, and the world… one need at a time.

OUR HISTORY

Variety has its roots in the entertainment industry, but its heart is the community. People from all walks of life can contribute and experience the joy of helping a child, confident that their generosity has real impact and results in markedly improving a child’s future and making the world a better place.

Initially founded in 1927 by a group of 11 theatre owners and showmen in Pittsburgh, USA, as a social club, the so-named Variety Club evolved into a charity during 1928.

Playing cards backstage after a matinee performance at the Sheridan Square Theatre, the group heard whimpering from the auditorium. When they investigated, they discovered a one-month-old baby girl to whom her mother had pinned a desperate note:

Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine. I can no longer take care of her. I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business people and pray to God that you will look after her. Signed, A heartbroken mother

When all efforts by the police and local newspapers failed to locate the parents, the club members decided that they would act as 11 “Godfathers” and underwrite Catherine’s support and education.

The little girl, who became the inspiration for our international children’s charity, was named Catherine Variety Sheridan, her middle name for the club and last name for the theatre she was found in. Proud that a distraught mother had entrusted her precious child to them, the club members set out to raise money and obtain goods needed for Catherine’s care. The resulting publicity put Catherine’s story and Variety on the front pages of newspapers across the United States. Inspired by Catherine’s story, many other people wanted to get involved and the members were soon inundated with help, far too much for one child, and thus other disadvantaged and orphaned children became beneficiaries of Catherine’s “adoption” by the Variety Club members.

From the inspiration and motivation of a single child, one of the world’s greatest children’s charities developed globally.

Today, Variety – the Children’s Charity has a network of 42 offices in 13 countries, and many millions of individual children around the world, like Catherine, live a better life because of the generosity of Variety’s donors, sponsors and supporters. When Catherine turned 5, foster parents were selected from more than 300 applicants. Catherine’s name was changed by her new parents, Gladys and Norman Riker, to Joan Riker and she grew up away from Pittsburgh to preserve her anonymity. Maturing into a fine young woman, Joan married in 1957 and raised her own family, sons Michael and twins Richard and Robert and a daughter, Lisa. Graduating as a nurse from Cornell University in 1951, Catherine/Joan spent a good part of her time proudly working with children.

Catherine/Joan passed away on September 9, 1994 at age 65, but her inspiration and motivation to help children in need burns brightly today through Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Unlike most charitable organizations that focus on a single disease or area of need, Variety focuses on multiple unmet needs of children who are sick, disadvantaged or live with disabilities and other special needs at a local, national and international level. Our aim is to maximize the real, long-term positive social impact for all children. Variety welcomes the support of any person who shares our ideals and objectives.

GOLD HEART PIN

The Gold Heart Pin campaign is one of Variety’s most recognized and successful global fundraising initiatives. The campaign was created in 1991 in Great Britain by Variety International Board Member, Marsha Rae Ratcliff, who thought to create gold pins in the shape of hearts to raise funds to assist children in need. For the past seven years, Variety has launched a partnership with the motion picture industry to design and market the Gold Heart pins around Hollywood movie properties. This partnership between Variety and the motion picture industry has raised US$95 million dollars worldwide.

Click here to learn more and to purchase.

2017 OFFICERS & BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OFFICERS

Michael Mathews, President
Doug Watson, Vice President
Jon Allen, Treasurer
Ted Hane, Executive Vice President
Delyn Meyers, Secretary

DIRECTORS

Chuck Baum
Tim Esser
Marc Lodovico
Leslie Wollman-Weekley
Rosie Casals
Steve Johns
Kellee McQuinn
Kara Robinson

CLICK TO VIEW OUR PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY

PRESS ON VARIETY

October 1, 2017 - KESQ Coverage of Annual International Meatball Festival in Cathedral City

Jan 31, 2017 - Variety Announces March 2017 Speaker Series

Jan 24, 2017 - Vicky’s of Santa Fe Hosts 3rd Annual Red Carpet Oscar Party Benefiting Variety-The Children’s Charity of the Desert on Sunday, 2/26/17

May 20, 2016 - Variety Sponsors $1 Movie Mornings at Regal Rancho Mirage for families and young children.

May 24, 2016 - Workshop Kitchen + Bar to participate in Negroni Week with proceeds benefiting Variety -The Children's Charity of the Desert

April 09, 2016 - Boy with cerebral palsy receives mobility bike in Cathedral City Kelley Moody, News Reporter - KESQ & CBS Local 2, kelley.moody@kesq.com

NEWSLETTER

Click here to view our most recent newsletter!

Click to watch our newest recipient of an adaptive bike!

YOUNG VARIETY

Young Variety Officers

Ruan Krugel, President

Kim Funkey, Vice President

Tyler Worth, Secretary

Amber Lembo, Treasurer

Young Variety is for young professionals (21+) who connect and network with others in various fields business and are committed to enriching the lives of children.

Young Variety is focused around social awareness through mixers, sporting events, and social outings. We have a great time, meet new people, but most importantly, contribute something meaningful to children. Every dollar raised matters!

Click here to join!

HOW WE HELP

Unlike most charitable organizations that focus on a single area problem or issue, Variety of the Desert focuses on multiple unmet needs of children who are sick, disadvantaged or live with disabilities and other special needs in our valley. Our aim is to maximize the real long term positive social impact for all children through these special programs.

Become a Volunteer

Throughout the year, we host and participate in a variety of events to raise funds or create inclusive opportunities for children with special needs. We need all kinds of help from General Volunteering - Graphics - Web Design - Host Mixer Donations - Host Fundraising Events - Fundraising - Office Help - Products - Gift Certificates. If you’re interested in volunteering, click Apply Now for the full volunteer form.

APPLY NOW

GET INVOLVED

Every year Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert vastly improves the lives of children living with disabilities, disadvantage or illness locally. You, our donors, partners, supporters, volunteers and sponsors make this long-term positive social impact happen. Without your generous support, many children would not have the opportunity to reach their full potential. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference in a child’s life. Every donation, large or small, helps. Don’t ever think, “My support won’t make much difference.” It does!

DONATE

People from all walks of life can serve children through Variety by becoming a regular donor, attending an event, organizing a fundraising event, or leaving a bequest in their will. Regular weekly, monthly, bi-annual or yearly donations not only make an enormous difference to Variety’s ability to plan and fund larger projects such as Sunshine Coaches, or expensive specialist equipment but also to meeting the growing demand from individual children and their families. The donation amount is not important - every dollar is valuable and helps make a difference to a child. donate3 Click to make donations online. TO DONATE BY MAIL - Please make your check out to Variety of the Desert and mail it to: Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert 42600 Cook Street, Suite 131 Palm Desert, California 92211

Bronze Supporter $75-$199

Silver Supporter – $200-$499

Gold Supporter – $500-$999

Platinum Supporter $1,000+

PARTNERS

We are delighted to be working with our wonderful partners, all of whom have been amazingly generous in helping us promote and protect the health and well-being of underprivileged and special needs children in the Coachella Valley. A heartfelt thanks to our Partners! Please visit their individual websites to see who is supporting Variety the Children's Charity of the Desert.  To learn more, please call Variety at 760-773-9800 or email us at variety@varietyofthedesert.org.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Join us throughout the year for fun Variety for Kids events!

Adaptive Bike Presentation

September 30, 2017 at to
Place: Acme Moving and Storage 77550 Enfield Lane, Palm Desert, CA

Young Variety – A Walk on Water

October 7, 2017 at to
Place: Huntington Beach

Young Variety – Kid Zone at the Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade

October 29, 2017 at to
Place: Palm Desert

22nd KPLM Variety Cares for Kids Radiothon

November 8, 2017 at 6:00 am to 7:00 pm
Place: Big 106! FM

22nd KPLM Variety Cares for Kids Radiothon

November 7, 2017 at 6:00 am to 7:00 pm
Place: Big 106! FM

Annual Bike Giveaway for 4th Grade Students

December 10, 2017 at to
Place: Palm Springs Motors

Save the Date – 4th Annual Red Carpet Oscar Party!

March 4, 2018 at 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Place: Vicky’s of Santa Fe 45-100 Club Drive Indian Wells, CA 92210 United States

CONTACT

Please contact us to learn more about Variety and connect with us on social media! Proud Member Of

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Variety of The Desert - The Children's Charity

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