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History of Variety Children's Charity
It all began on Christmas Eve 1927, when an infant was abandoned in the Sheridan Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. Pinned to the child was a note that read, "Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine, I can no longer take care of her. I have heard of the goodness of show people and I hope you will take care of her" signed "A Heartbroken Mother."

Unable to locate the parents, the group of showmen who found the baby formed a social club called Variety Children's Charity (after the entertainment tabloid, Variety Review) decided to underwrite the infant's support and education. When Catherine Variety Sheridan turned 5, they selected a foster family for her. And this was the beginning of what was to become a worldwide network of volunteers striving to help children in need.

The first Variety event, a circus for children, established the theme for the organization. Each local chapter became a "Tent," beginning with Pittsburgh as Variety Tent #1, and continuing as additional Tents have been established. Today, there are more than 50 Variety Tents around the world. In addition, the Presidents of each Tent are known affectionately as "Chief Barkers."

Each chapter supports its mission by drawing upon the talent and vision of its Board of Directors to assess and meet the needs of local children. Of the money raised through Tent fund-raisers, only one quarter of one percent of the net funds go to the umbrella Variety, allowing the majority of funds to stay within the community.

Variety's objective is raising essential funds for the care and support of disadvantaged, physically challenged, sick and needy children around the world, and the creed of Variety is that "No one stands taller than when helping a child."


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