Variety – the Children’s Charity International
Variety – the Children’s Charity has its roots in the entertainment industry in the United States and will celebrate its 90th Anniversary in 2018.
Initially founded as a social club in 1927 by a group of 11 theatre owners and showmen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States, 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 I pray to God that you will look out for her.
- A Heart-Broken Mother
When all efforts by the police and local newspapers failed to locate the parents, the club members decided that they would 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. Their first fund-raiser was held in a hotel in Pittsburgh and adopted a carnival theme – complete with a big top tent. Variety adopted carnival terminology – hence the chairpersons of our chapters (or “tents” as we call them) are called “Chief Barkers”.
The resulting publicity put Catherine’s story and Variety on the front pages of newspapers across the US. 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 43 tents 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.
For more information about the Variety story CLICK HERE.
Variety – the Children’s Charity Hong Kong
Variety – the Children’s Charity Hong Kong was established in 2015 by a group of individuals, from diverse career backgrounds: medical, legal, education, banking & finance, corporate, education, marketing, communications and consultancy. Many of these individuals now comprise our Board of Directors (or “Crew”, as we call them).
Variety – the Children’s Charity Hong Kong is an affiliate of Variety – the Children’s Charity International. However, we do not receive financial support from Variety International. All funds raised in Hong Kong are applied for the benefit of disadvantaged children in Hong Kong.
To achieve our Mission we strive to maintain the highest standards of governance and transparency.
The operations and affairs of Variety Hong Kong are managed by the Crew (board of directors) who are elected by the members. Crew Members (directors) hold office for three years. At least one-third of the Crew Members must retire each year and are eligible for re-election. The maximum term in office for any Crew Member is six continuous years.
The executive of Variety Hong Kong comprises a Chief Barker (Chairman), Deputy Chief Barker (Deputy Chairman) and Dough Guy (Treasurer). The maximum term of office of the Chief Barker and Dough Guy is two years and they may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.
All Crew Members and officers of Variety Hong Kong are volunteers. They are not entitled to remuneration and are prohibited from engaging in personal business dealings with Variety Hong Kong. Crew Members meet their own expenses in discharging their duties.
For information about our current directors CLICK HERE.