Variety Telethon

Variety – the Children’s Charity Raises over $4.1 Million for the Children of Iowa


Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa has raised $4,100,000 to support children who are at risk, underprivileged, critically ill, or living with special needs throughout Iowa. The funds have been raised throughout the year culminating with 48th annual Telethon televised hour-long special. The program highlighed the children and organizations that Variety serves, and raised funds to support Variety’s mission of improving the lives of children who are at-risk, underprivileged, critically ill or living with special needs.


Since 1975, Iowans have joined together to contribute their time, talent, and hearts to the annual Variety Telethon. It is the foundation Variety - the Children's Charity of Iowa was built upon and is the highlight of each year. For 46 years, the Variety Telethon hosted a line-up of local and international celebrities who appeared on-air, along with thousands of corporate volunteers and donors who pledged their ongoing time and support to Iowa’s children.


This year, the Variety Telethon evolved into a shorter, televised multi-million-dollar fundraiser that still highlighted the many ways Variety helps Iowa’s children. Variety VIPs (Very Interested Persons) and corporate supporters continued to raise funds that support Variety's five programs: 


  • Grant Program – Variety provides funding to children’s organizations annually for tangible items such as building expansions and renovations, equipment, programming needs and more.
  • Mobility – Every child deserves to be independent. Variety provides custom specialized bikes and mobility equipment to children with special needs and awards brand new traditional bikes, locks and helmets to children who have never experienced the joy of owning their own bike.
  • Variety Vans – Over the last 40 years, more than 400 Variety Vans have been provided to children’s organizations in Iowa. These vans transport children to doctors appointments, therapy sessions and special outings or activities.
  • Variety Star Playgrounds – All children should have the opportunity to experience a playground! Variety works with Iowa communities to provide all-inclusive playgrounds for children with and without special needs.
  • The Compassion Fund – Variety partners with Iowa hospitals to help critically ill children and their families by providing comfort, care and fulfilling immediate needs. The Fund is designed to help alleviate the stress and financial burden a family faces while their child is hospitalized.



In 2021, thanks to the generous financial support of our many donors and sponsors, Variety was able to grant more than $2.1 million to 85 different programs and present 77 pieces of specialized equipment. To date, Variety has built 3 inclusive playgrounds and supported many others. Every dollar makes a difference, and with your help, we can continue helping children in Iowa reach their full potential.

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Kids panel girl at Telethon smiling