Who We Are
Variety - the Children's Charity of the Desert is a passionate group of business leaders who donate their time, resources and energy to positively impact the lives of special needs and underserved children throughout the Coachella Valley.
To be Coachella Valley’s most trusted and effective children’s charity delivering programs and equipment for special needs children and disadvantaged youth promoting a future without limits.
Through best practices and professional stewardship, our solutions result in a lifelong positive impact on children, their families and the community.
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.
Program delivers critical life-saving
medical equipment and services, healthcare and well-being to individual children and children’s health organizations.
Program delivers vital life-changing
equipment and services for mobility, independence and social inclusion to individual children and children’s organizations.
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.
Variety - the Children’s Charity of the Desert, is dedicated to promoting the health, mobility, independence and social inclusion of special needs and disadvantaged children throughout the Coachella Valley.
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.
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.
2018 OFFICERS & BOARD OF DIRECTORS
PRESS ON VARIETY
December 10, 2017 - KMIR - Hundreds of Kids Gifted Bikes as the Variety the Children's Charity of the Desert hosted the 22nd annual Bike Giveaway at Palm Springs Motors.
October 1, 2017 - KESQ Coverage of Annual International Meatball Festival in Cathedral City
October, 2017 -Variety –the Children’s Charity of the Desert has said ‘let’s make a record-breaker together by making a Pledge to Care for Kids today for November 7 & 8, 2017- 22nd KPLM Variety Cares for Kids Radiothon.
April 09, 2016 - Boy with cerebral palsy receives mobility bike in Cathedral City
Kelley Moody, News Reporter - KESQ & CBS Local 2, email@example.com
to view our most recent newsletter!Click to watch
our newest recipient of an adaptive bike!
GOLD HEART PIN
Click here to order a pin.
Young Variety Officers
Ruan Krugel, President; Kim Funkey, Vice President; Jessica Canales, Secretary; and 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!