Home The Children grants and Scholarships Events and Activities About Variety Contact Us Preview Room
About Variety


Search the Site:

7/19/04 Screening Room
7/29/04 Screening Room
view all events

No person stands as tall then when they bend to help a child.

History | Today | Mission | Governing Board | Working Partners | Who we helpGet involved

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. From this effort has grown an international fundraising organization, which draws on the talents and generosity of the movie industry including studios, theater owners and movie-goers like you that support children in local communities who are dealing with poverty, neglect, violence, and physical disability.

Today, Variety Children's Charity Back to Top

Variety stands as one of the most effective philanthropic conduits serving the needs of disabled children in over 54 countries. Championed by such luminaries as Princess Diana, Bette Midler, Sean Connery, Jim Carrey, U.S. President's Jimmy Carter and George Bush and with corporate sponsors such as Sony, Ford Motor Company, American Broadcast Corporation and United Airlines, Variety Children's Charity has gained the trust of donors of all stripes and sizes who truly care how their support is spent. Together all of this hard work and dedication enables Variety to collect over $800 million worldwide to serve the needs of children.
Mission Back to Top

Variety - The Children's Charity's mission is to enhance the lives of children in need. We provide lifesaving and life-enriching assistance to children challenged by physical and mental disabilities, poverty, abuse and neglect. Funds are allocated to various children's agencies and camps to aid disabled, disadvantaged, abused and or neglected kids, as well as to children who need medical services and equipment.
Governing Board Back to Top


Kendall Kramer, American Express Financials

President Ex-officio
Roy Vella, PayPal

Vice Presidents
Gay Breuler, University of San Francisco
Dale Davison, Century Theatres

Patrick M. Rawa, Ph.D, Good Guys

Interim Treasurer
Thayer Sylvester, Alpine Investors

Northern California Tent 32 Board Members
Christopher W. Aronson, MGM Distribution
Clyde Cornell, Signature Theatres
Rina Elson, Menke Associates
Nancy Foley, Allied McDonald Entertainment
William Hulme, Century Theatres
Andy Leas, Bank of America [Retired]
Mike Maxwell, DSD Fundraising & Marketing
Jennifer Toney, ERS Group
Kimberly Welsch, Ignition Point LLC

Working Partners Back to Top

Working with Ford Motor Company, Variety Children's Charity provides passenger vans, known as Sunshine Coaches, to agencies and individuals to transport children throughout their communities. Dedicated men and women give their time, talent and resources to make Variety work. Variety Children's Charity is an organization of volunteers who enjoy the great feeling that helping a child gives you the reward of knowing that you have made a difference in the life of a child. Variety is constantly seeking individuals and corporate sponsorship partners on a number of integral levels. We are always looking for new and exciting ways to work with concerned individuals and sponsors and invite you to join us in our efforts to help our special-needs kids.

Our working partners include:

AMC Theatres Nestle
Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream New Line Cinema
Brightroom Professional Event Photography Oakland Youth Chorus for Music Education
Century Theatres Oscar Meyer - Kraft
Coca-Cola Paramount Pictures
Crystal Geyser

Regal Home Entertainment

Dolby Laboratories The San Francisco Chocolate Factory
DreamWorks Studios Signature Theatres
Farella-Park Vineyards Sony Pictures
Fine Brand Media Twentieth Century Fox
Ford Motor Company United Artists Theatres
Kirkorian Premiere Theatres Universal Studios
KTVU Fox 2  
MGM Studios  
Who we help Back to Top

Our proactive approach is a lifeline to those in distress. Variety of Northern California takes pains to reach out to organizations that provide crucial services to children and families in dire need of relief. We supply them with a needed infusion of money and material that will allow them to deliver improved and continued services. Through grants, scholarships, cultural enrichment programs, outreach activities, and other donations, Variety Children's Charity is able to support programs that will mean a difference between a life worth living and too often, no life at all. In the recent past Variety has supported:

Blind Babies Foundation Parents Helping Parents
Boys and Girls Club of Northern California PediatriCare
Brave Kids Ronald McDonald House
Child Advocates The Mission Neighborhood Health Clinic
Children's Shelters in Northern California Vanished Children's Alliance
John Muir Hospital  
Get Involved Back to Top

The children need your help There are many ways you can get involved and make a difference in a child’s life. Not only can it be rewarding but it can also be fun. Join our movie club and watch pre-released box office hits in our private movie theater. All fees go directly to the charity. Get involved in our annual events like the Lake Tahoe golf tournament and San Francisco black tie party, which are both critical to raising funds for the charity. We are also always interested in speaking with individuals who would like to make a greater contribution and join our board of directors. What ever your interest level is, the kids appreciate your support.

Variety has been helping our children for over 75 years, and it all starts with people like you. At the heart of Variety Clubs remarkable achievements are the contributions of people with in the community and it is only thorough your time and efforts that we are able to do so much for special children everywhere. If you want more information on Variety's programs call us today at 415.781.3894.

©2000 - 2004 Variety Children's Charity of Northern California - Contact Us
Website Design and Maintenance Provided by Collaborint Web Management Services
Hosting Donated by Fine Brand Media, Inc.