Variety turns 40 in 2018!

Variety at Work!  Empowering Children in Manitoba with Special Needs since 1978



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Variety’s Special Needs Program




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Variety’s Camp Brereton




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   Variety Children’s Dental Outreach Program


Where it All Began

Variety’s roots began on October 10th, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when a group of eleven gentlemen – our Founding Fathers – decided to organize a social club for relaxation after work. They agreed to name their organization ‘The Variety Club’, as the group drew its originating members from show business.  At that time, the driving force of the club’s existence was simply ‘friendship’.  A year later on Christmas Eve of 1928, a one-month-old baby girl intervened and changed the course of The Variety Club forever.  She was left abandoned on a seat in the Sheridan Square Theatre, with a note pinned to her dress by her mother, pleading for someone to please take care of her baby, as she could not.  Her parents could not be located, so the theatre’s owner John H. Harris decided to act.  The baby girl was subsequently named Catherine Variety Sheridan – her middle name for the Club, and her last name Sheridan for the Theatre.

The Club members became Catherine’s eleven ‘godfathers’, underwriting her support and education.  More proud show business members offered to join and help, resulting in ensuing publicity across the nation and a surge of donations pouring in.  As they say in show business, ‘the rest is history’! More Variety Club branches were born in the U.S.A., and now (44) exist today around the world, with Variety’s International Headquarters being based in Los Angeles, CA.

In 1978, Variety opened its Manitoba Branch (or Tents, as we know them) in Winnipeg, and has raised in excess of $32 million dollars in support of this important mission, reaching over 820,000 children with special needs in Manitoba.  We do not receive any government or agency funding.  Variety is extremely proud to be celebrating our 40 year history in Manitoba, and the multitudes of families we have touched and impacted over the years!  We have the unique opportunity and ability to assist children who may be disadvantaged by physical and/or emotional incapacities or frailties, health-related challenges, and socio-economic issues.  Variety is deeply vested in meeting both the tangible and therapeutic needs of children with Special Needs so they can enjoy a better quality of life.

Variety’s success has been built over time on the strength of strong relationships from within Winnipeg’s corporate community, attributed to the dedicated efforts and the generous support of many long-term donors, and the strong dedication and mission of our Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers. These relationships have developed through awareness generated during Variety’s special events, personal and corporate relations and donors, and philanthropically-minded Manitobans who understand the importance of investing back in into our Community.

Variety Children's Charity Manitoba