15th Telethon Hits $2 Million Mark

Filed under "News"
More articles »

Monday, January 29, 2024


The 15th Telethon marked another breakthrough occasion for Variety - the first time we hit a $2 million fundraising total thanks to a final-hour donation from Fareway CEO Bill Beckwith.


"In the final moments of Telethon '89, the clock was ticking, and we were oh, so close to the $2 million mark. Could we do it? With only minutes left in the 15th Annual Telethon, it didn't look possible. It would take a miracle... and then it came! Bill Beckwith, after consulting with his wite, Leola, went to Keith Swanson. Bill wanted to know, if he donated $36,000, which would bring the Cash for Kids total to $500,000, would that be enough to raise the Telethon Toteboard to $2 million?

Exciting minutes transpired, while everyone rushed to air Beckwith's presentation to Emma Samms and to see the Toteboard light-up over $2 million! What a family! What a gesture! What a Telethon!"


Through Fareway's corporate involvement in Cash for Kids since 1981, Bill Beckwith, CEO for Fareway Stores, Inc. and his wife, Leola, became interested in Variety Club. They felt Variety was a great charity and trusted Variety's charitable disbursement. Their first contribution was for an isolet. In 1986, the Beckwith family donated $50,000, and in 1988, they donated funds for a Sunshine Coach. All of these donations have been over and above the corporate donations and involvement of Fareway Stores, Inc. In 1987, The Variety Club of lowa was pleased to present the Humanitarian Award to the Beckwith family.


"Hearts swelled when the toteboard went over the $2 million mark. A magnificent milestone for all the volunteers, for everyone who made pledges, for the Stars, and for Jody Reynolds, President, during this anniversary year to 'Celebrate the Children!'


It's a milestone, indeed, as we look on $2,000,000 as a significant point in the development of The Variety Club of lowa. The evolution has been a steady growth. Marking time is not the lowa way... making time to make things happen is.


Some of those who have made things happen through the years are the Past Board Presidents (pictured below), who posed for a group picture during the Stars Dinner, March 31 in the Palace Theatre at Adventureland. Under their leadership, Variety has celebrated and supported children in need for decades. 


Now think for a minute about how many people are involved with all of this coordination, committee work, and fundraising. Think, too, how all of that volunteerism translates into a sizable contribution toward the well-being of the kids. That's why we give of our time and money: that 's why we do Telethons."


Help Variety continue our Telethon legacy by tuning in to our Telethon Spotlight Special on March 2 at 7 PM on We Are Iowa Local 5 News to learn more about Variety's history of helping children in need and donate now to support this year's 50th Telethon! 


Leave Your Comments

We welcome your comments. Please leave your ideas and opinions below.

Will not be displayed on the site

Example: http://www.yoursite.com/