History of Variety Club - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

History of Variety Club

On Christmas Eve, 1928, an abandoned baby was left on the states of the Sheridan Theatre in Pittsburgh with a note pinned to her dress.

" Please help 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
I pray to God you will look out for her."

-A Heartbroken Mother


The theatre's social group of 11 men, named the Variety Club, agreed to underwrite the infant girl's support and education. They named her Catherine Variety Sheridan. And so the Variety Club was born.

The Variety Club is now an international organization with over 15,000 members in 12 countries. It is known as "the greatest children's charity" because of its exemplary mission...to help disabled and disadvantaged children lead more comfortable lives, and grow to be productive, self-sufficient adults.

The Variety Club of Iowa was founded in 1937 and has raised more than $48 million in its annual telethon and other fund raisers. Through the generous support of individuals and the corporate community, the Variety Club has provided funding for capital projects, essential medical equipment, and special programs to more than 200 charities throughout Iowa and neighboring states. These charities benefit children's hospitals, youth at risk, disabled kids and thousands of other needy infants and children.

Since 1975, the Variety Club Telethon has become the cornerstone of the Clubs fundraising.  The telethon is broadcast simultaneously on WOI in Des Moines,  KCAU in Sioux City, and WHBF in the Quad Cities.  Each year a line-up of local and international celebrities appear on the telethon.


To find out more about the Variety Club, call  515-243-4660

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