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Spotl ght A publication of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis

Spring 2014 Issue Because of YOU

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Variety Week 2014 Schedule................................ Page 2 Man & Woman of the Year.................................... Page 5 2014 Gold Heart Pins............................................ Page 6 YOP Tax Credits..................................................... Page 8

From our

Jan Albus with Variety child Josie

Chief Executive Officer Dear Variety Supporters, 2013 was a golden year for Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. First we were recognized as the best Variety tent out of 41 with the Gold Heart Award at the 86th Annual Variety International World Conference. Next, Variety was awarded the highest rating on Charity Navigator—four stars! To complete the award trifecta, we also received the GuideStar Gold participation level, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA. The criteria for the Gold Heart Award include: programs, innovation, financial stability and growth. Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis grew 83% in funding in 2012, including growth of 35% in donating medical equipment and a 59% increase in impact in our community. Our high efficiency means that 85 cents of each dollar goes to Variety Kids. Our sustainability is strong with a $1.3 million endowment to support Variety Adventure Camp, and a board designated endowment of $2.4 million. Charity Navigator’s team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 6,000 of America’s charities. Out of a possible score of 70, Variety has scored an


impressive 64.92 points overall – coming in at 62.82 in the financial category and at 70.00 in the Accountability and Transparency category. GuideStar’s Gold participation level is a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA, Inc., the premier source of nonprofit information. This level demonstrates Variety’s deep commitment to nonprofit transparency and accountability. Variety can also be found on as a BBB Accredited Charity. The seal provides the public with a clear, concise and easily recognizable symbol that the subject national charity adheres to the Alliance’s strong and comprehensive standards. Only national charities that meet the standards are eligible to apply for the seal. Variety could only accomplish this feat with your help! This region’s support of Variety kids is unsurpassed and we are proud to be your stewards.

Jan Albus Chief Executive Officer











RUNWAY LIGHTS FASHION SHOW Experience a New York-style runway show at Chase Park Plaza featuring the St. John Pre Fall 2014 Collection. St. John is an American luxury house, featuring timeless and elegant clothing. Also featured will be Chairs for Children with one-of-a-kind accent chairs from St. Louis’ top designers.


St. Louis’ favorite news personalities team up to raise money with the help of Edward Jones representatives. Every dollar raised stays in St. Louis to help children with special needs. Call in to win tickets to see Harry Connick, Jr.!

IMO’S FOR KIDS DAY The “Care Beyond Compare” donates 10 to 20% of the proceeds from all its participating locations in the St. Louis region. Over the past 15 years, Imo’s has donated more than $1.4 million for Variety kids.




NIGHT OF THE RISING STARS Join other St. Louis professionals for an evening of music, appetizers and fun at The Pageant. “The Voice” finalist Nicholas David will bring his unique brand of alternative soul to the Young Variety’s biggest fundraiser of the year!


03 DINNER WITH THE STARS • Peabody Opera House FEATURING HARRY CONNICK JR. Our elegant black tie gala caps off the week in style with headliner Harry Connick Jr.! Once again World Wide Technology and The Steward Family Foundation will generously underwrite the evening, so all proceeds benefit Variety kids. Variety will honor its Man and Woman of the Year, Tom Voss and Lelia Farr during the program. For more information about Variety Week events, or to purchase tickets, visit 2


HARRY CONNICK JR Coming Soon to St. Louis for Variety’s Dinner With the Stars MAY 3, 2014 • Peabody Opera House

Variety is pleased to announce our headliner for our 2014 Dinner With the Stars gala: Harry Connick, Jr. The multi-talented star of stage, screen and song boasts an incredible array of laurels, and is most importantly a born performer. He’s just the sort of natural entertainer to cap off our incredible 2014 Variety Week plans. Connick’s star status has hit new heights with his presence on this season’s rebooted “American Idol” judging panel. Along with fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, Connick has brought a level of intelligent critique that has revitalized the panel’s original spirit. But “Idol” is just the tip of the iceberg with Connick. His fascinatingly diverse entertainment career dates back to his youngest days. A precocious jazz pianist from age 5, Connick broke through to mass acclaim with his 1989 soundtrack album to the beloved romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally…” His big band renditions of great American standards earned him multi-platinum success and his first of many Billboard No. 1 Jazz Albums. This master of musical styles has gone on to explore a dazzling array of genres, from jazz to pop to R&B, on the way to more than 28 million albums sold and three Grammys.


Equally diverse has been Connick’s film career, encompassing action blockbusters (“Independence Day”), romantic dramas (“Hope Floats”), acclaimed animated films (“The Iron Giant”) and winning

children’s features (“Dolphin Tale”). He’s also starred on television with recurring roles on “Will & Grace” and “Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit.” As for Connick’s live performance chops, the plaudits speak for themselves. Two of his electric televised concerts won Emmys for Outstanding Music Direction. He’s wowed Broadway audiences with sold-out concert engagements as well as a Tony-nominated turn in “The Pajama Game.” His music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “Thou Shalt Not” earned him another Tony nomination. Beyond his art, Connick is also a tireless advocate for his hometown of New Orleans, and has been deeply involved in recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

Anxious to purchase tickets? Here’s How: 1. Visit and click on Dinner With the Stars to the right of the screen. You may also call Alexandra at 314-720-7704, or email Tickets purchased through Variety include dinner and a performance by Harry Connick, Jr. 2. To purchase a mezzanine ticket, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 to order Peabody Opera House event tickets, or visit and search for Harry Connick, Jr.








Join us in honoring the

2014 Man and Woman of the Year at Variety’s dinner with the Stars Lelia J. Farr -

Woman of the Year

This year’s Woman of the Year is a fiscal mastermind and a leading philanthropist in the St. Louis area. Lelia J. Farr graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Economics, and Vanderbilt University with an M.B.A. She went on to work as a consulting managing director at Price Waterhouse. She gives countless volunteer hours to St. Louis non-profits and cultural institutions such as the Missouri Botanical Garden Board, Opera Theatre of St. Louis Board and the Board of the St. Louis Art Museum. She is also a Trustee at Wake Forest University. “Lelia encourages St. Louis cultural institutions to reach ever higher, becoming premier nationally recognized charity organizations,” said Jan Albus, CEO of Variety the Children’s Charity. “We at Variety feel a kinship to her, as through our programs such as Variety Children’s Theatre and Variety Children’s Chorus we encourage our kids to dream big and support them to reach their goals.” Together with her husband David Farr, CEO of Emerson, she also chaired the 2010 United Way de Touqueville campaign. David Farr was chosen as Variety’s Man of the Year in 2010.

Lelia Farr with Variety child Anthony

Tom Voss

David also attended Wake Forest, and the Farrs recently made a $2 million commitment to their alma mater by establishing the David and Lelia Farr Chair of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

- Man of the Year

“Variety’s 2014 Man of the Year is another St. Louis powerhouse. Tom Voss inspires the next generation to break new ground and push society forward as Variety does, ” Albus continued. “We admire how Tom works to improve the St. Louis business community and understands that strong businesses have a responsibility to support the non-profit community. Under his leadership, Ameren’s ‘Power to Fifty’ Wheelchair Campaign for Variety just reached a significant milestone. Ameren and its employees surpassed their goal and donated a total of 52 motorized wheelchairs for Variety kids over the last decade, giving these children a means of transportation while helping them overcome physical challenges and achieve independence.” Voss, a native of St. Louis, is a graduate of University of Missouri-Rolla, University of Michigan’s Public Utility Executive Program and the Westinghouse Advanced Power Systems School. Starting as a student engineer at Union Electric in 1969, Voss worked his way to become chairman and chief executive officer of the 18th largest energy company in the United States. He has been an influential business leader in St. Louis for many years, making it his mission to help aspiring engineers and boost community partners in the St. Louis area. Voss is a strong advocate for the St. Louis business community and a tireless worker on behalf of many area non-profit organizations. Voss serves on several local boards, including Civic Progress, Dance St. Louis (Chairman Emeritus), the MUNY, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and St. Louis Regional Chamber as well as the national industry boards of Edison Electric Institute and Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. Voss chaired the board of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association from 2011-2012 and currently is co-chair of “Stl250” with his wife, Carol. Voss has been a champion of diversity both within and outside Ameren Corporation.

Tom Voss with Variety child Sophia

Photos by ProPhoto STL


Because of you, Jenna Rolls On Variety child Jenna may seem shy, but at the age of three she has a big personality and easily wins over everyone she meets. According to Jenna’s mother, Darlene, it is because of Jenna’s power wheelchair from Variety that she is able to get the most out of each day. “Jenna’s condition causes extreme muscle weakness so she has no strength in her legs and very limited arm strength. By having a power chair, Jenna is able to be independent at daycare, home and when we go out.”

Variety child Jenna with her new friend Mallory

Variety 2014 Gold Heart Pins Wehrenberg Theatres and Variety share more than just a love for putting on a great show. The two organizations have been linked from the very start: Wehrenberg’s founder and namesake, Fred Wehrenberg, served on Variety’s first board of directors. “Variety started in a theater in Pittsburgh, so continuing to help kids is a perfect match for us,” says Bill Menke, Executive VP and CEO of Wehrenberg Theatres. “We give back to our community by helping out Variety kids through the entertainment we provide.” Wehrenberg takes a leading role in Variety’s annual Gold Heart Pin fundraising campaign. Each year’s batch of Gold Heart Pins features a different movie theme, making them excellent collectible items. Wehrenberg sells the Gold Heart Pins at theaters throughout the St. Louis area, with each location competing to see who can sell the most. This year’s campaign, featuring pins of Star Wars stalwarts Yoda and Darth Vader, is on pace to be the most successful yet. After raising more than $84,000 for Variety kids in 2013, our goal for 2014 is to raise nothing less than $100,000 through Gold Heart Pin sales. The Gold Heart Pin campaign continues through April. Throughout 25 years of fundraising campaigns, Wehrenberg Theatres has helped Variety raise more than $1 million for local children with disabilities. Visit Wehrenberg Theatres today to pick up your own Gold Heart Pins.

Bill Menke, pictured above with Variety teen Libby at Variety’s Champions for Children Summit.

darth Vader YODA 6


KIAN CAN RIDE Kian, an adorable five-year-old Variety child, values his mobility more than anything. According to his mother, Alicia, “Mobility has become such an important issue in our lives and it is so nice to have a group of wonderful people like Variety to turn to who understand our needs.” Kian’s family heard about Variety in 2011 when they needed a ramp conversion on their van and some of Kian’s therapists told them about the organization. Since then, Variety has helped this family by providing a $5,000 van conversion as well as an adapted trike Kian received at Bikes for Kids this past November. Kian uses his bike each week to build up leg strength and flexibility. The van is also helping Kian by allowing him to travel to his favorite places in St. Louis, which include the Saint Louis Zoo, the Science Center, and the library. “Variety holds a special place for Kian. He is extremely grateful for the opportunities he has been given through Variety,” says Alicia. 

Tributes and Memorials (September 5, 2013 – February 19, 2014) HONORARIUMS In honor of Adam Becvar Mr. & Mrs. Robert J. Snyder

In honor of Ambassador & Mrs. Sam Fox’s 60th wedding anniversary Mr. Roy Pfautch

In honor of Sandy Buschmann Ms. Joy Rouse

In honor of Marilyn Fox’s birthday Mr. & Mrs. Ken Kranzberg

In honor of Jack Corrigan Ms. Mary Becker

In honor of Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge Enterprise Bank & Trust

In honor of Mark & Jennifer Croke Ms. Eva Barringhaus In honor of Jennifer Konold & Mark Croke Ms. Cindy Zuleger In honor of Cathy Dunkin Ms. Lois Standing In honor of Olivia Eaker Mr. & Mrs. Robert Goerss In honor of Nicholas Eynon Mr. & Mrs. Richard F. Nielsen


In honor of Emmanuel Martirez Phoenix Creative Co.

In honor of David & Thelma Steward Mrs. Joan Newbill

In honor of Molly Metzger Ms. Joan Gallagher-Bolos

In honor of Fran Zamler The Gelber Family Limited Partnership

In honor of Lenore Pepper Ms. Barbara Freund


In honor of Rick Podhorn Conner Ash PC

In memory of Hayden Barnes Ms. Lynette A. Miller

In honor of Barb Kramer Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Kramer

In honor of Cast & Crew of Ptergactyls R. G. Acting Co.

In memory of Michael Dalton Mr. James K. Dalton Jr.

In honor of Lily LaChance Ms. Lynn LaChance

In honor of Whit Reichert R. G. Acting Co.

In memory of Lionel Kaiser Mr. & Mrs. Mike Lefton

In honor of Bella Leonard Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Allen Mr. & Mrs. Dale Bufkin Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Wilcutt Mr. Mark Manion Mr. & Mrs. Seamus Calkins

In honor of Katie Stalter Ms. Sarah Stalter Ms. Kathleen Wetter

In memory of Meredith Littlejohn Ms. Jacqueline London

In honor of Brody Ms. Elizabeth Martin

In honor of Thelma Steward Mr. Alfred Brown

In honor of Kian Steele Mr. Virgil Steele

In memory of Joe Turner Misfit Toyz Car, Trucks & Bike Anything Rolls Club

Because of you, Abby hits all the right notes Abby is a bright, verbal, typical 17-year-old. She is also a singing star, and has been a member of Variety Chorus for three years. “I actually heard about Variety many years ago from a friend whose twins have attended Variety Camp for years,” says Abby’s mother, Liz. “Abby loves chorus. She feels like she is accepted for who she is in Variety. She’s been able to be just another kid and not seen as a child with a disability.” To Abby’s family, Variety means acceptance; a place where a variety of children with a variety of abilities can accomplish a variety of common goals. According to Abby, “Variety is a place to hang out with children like me, a place where I’m not judged.” Abby has the gift of “absolute pitch”, a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify any given musical note. She has been accepted to Maryville University and plans to study music.

MAXIMIZE YOUR TAX DEDUCTION WHILE HELPING VARIETY Youth Opportunity Program (YOP) Tax Credits are available to those who Support Variety Adventure Camp.

Did you know? For $265, you could be donating $1,000 to Variety Adventure Camp by utilizing Variety’s YOP credit program! Visit for further details on how to maximize your Missouri state tax deduction and contribution to Variety. Any Missouri taxpayer who donates to Variety Adventure Camp (minimum $1,000) between now and March 31, 2015 may receive tax credits under Missouri’s Youth Opportunity Program (YOP). Variety Adventure Camp is an amazing opportunity for children in the St. Louis area! Open to children ages 4-16 with physical and intellectual disabilities, camp is a place where activities focus on individual strengths and abilities. Specially trained counselors and medical professionals are on-site each day to help kids develop social skills and try new things.

How it works: Donors may contribute a minimum of $1,000 up to $25,000 (cash, stocks/bonds) per calendar year while credits remain. A taxpayer may receive up to 50% in Missouri state tax credits.  Any entity or individual who pays Missouri income tax and files a Schedule A for itemized deductions may receive a tax credit.  This includes: Individuals, Partnerships, Corporations, LLCs and S Corps. A tax credit is a reduction of the taxes you owe the state of Missouri. Any individual or corporation with a Missouri tax liability is eligible for tax credits. Tax credits may be for the tax year in which the donation was made, or carried forward for five succeeding tax periods. To support Variety Adventure Camp and receive YOP tax credits, please contact Linda Sanders at 314-720-7712, or for additional information regarding YOP credits. 8

Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis 2200 Westport Plaza Drive Suite 306 St. Louis, MO 63146

POSTMASTER: Return Address Service Requested

IN THIS ISSUE Variety’s Man & Woman of the Year

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YOP tax credits available to Variety Adventure Camp supporters. Page 8

Meet Kian

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Phone: (314) 453-0453 • Hats off to our Corporate Parnters Page 4

2014 spring spotlight because of you  

The latest news from Variety the Children's Charity of St. Louis, annually serving more than 14,500 local children with disabilities.

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