Human Services

Variety - The Children's Charity of Wisconsin

  • Elm Grove, WI
  • www.varietywi.org

Mission Statement

Providing life-enriching assistance to Wisconsin children challenged by physical disabilities.

Main Programs

  1. Variety Freedom Program
  2. Variety Future Kids Program
  3. Chatter Matters! Communication Camp
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

State of Wisconsin

ruling year

1960

Executive Director since 2008

Self-reported

Ms. Gerise LaSpisa

Keywords

Self-reported

disability, disabilities, children, kids, special needs, mobility, access, communication

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Also Known As

Variety Club Children's Charities, Inc.

EIN

39-0977152

 Number

1904219421

Physical Address

12425 Knoll Road, Suite 110

Elm Grove, 53122

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

2013-2014 Impact
Through the Freedom Program, Variety granted over 37 funding requests. This included:
  - 18 adaptive bicycles
 - 5 wheelchairs/strollers
 - 2 vehicle modifications
 - 4 home modifications
- 4 walking devices
- 4 other types of enabling equipment

Variety received more than $63,000 of in-kind donations and in-kind services for the Freedom Program, resulting in expenditures of less than half of the retail value.

Through the Future Kids Program, Variety held 34 Future Kids Program outings which served over 2,050 participants, including:
 - Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
 - Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center
 - Country Springs Waterpark
 - Green Bay Packers Games
 - Holiday Parties with movie premiere
 - Milwaukee Brewers Games
 - Milwaukee Bucks Games
- Timber Rattlers Game
- Theater performances
- Slinger Speedway
- Appleton Children's Museum
- Bristol Renaissance Faire
 - Tripoli Shrine Circus

Variety's Chatter Matters! Communication Camp launched in 2013. In 2013, the camp was attended by 14 families which included 26 children and 23 adults (49 total participants) and 21 volunteers.

In 2014, the camp was attended by 18 families which included 32 children and 27 adults. Nearly 50 volunteers, most of whom were speech, physical or occupational therapists or students in those fields, donated their time, valued at nearly $60,000.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Variety Freedom Program

The Freedom Program provides funding for mobility and other enabling equipment that improves a child’s physical well-being, quality of life, community involvement and confidence.

Examples of funded equipment include adaptive bicycles, wheelchairs, walkers, standers, gait trainers, positioning devices, vehicle modifications, communication devices, lifts, ramps, and more.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Physically Disabled nec

None

Budget

Program 2

Variety Future Kids Program

The Future Kids Program helps children with physical disabilities reach their full potential in life. Experiences in education, culture, sport and community are the cornerstones to develop skills that can lead to that future.

This program takes families on fun, free outings to museums, professional and local sporting events, nature centers, movies and other fun and educational places.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Physically Disabled nec

None

Budget

$92,000.00

Program 3

Chatter Matters! Communication Camp

Chatter Matters! Communication Camp is a residential camp for families of children with physical disabilities who use speech generating devices. The goal of the camp is for the child to improve his or her device use and become a more competent communicator.

Learning occurs through fun camp activities including arts & crafts, adaptive sports, games, music, stories, campfires and more.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Physically Disabled nec

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

National

State of Wisconsin

Social Media

Funding Needs

Variety relies on the generosity of our donors and the community in order to provide our direct service programs for kids.  Here are ways you can help: ♥       Make a monetary donation ♥       Donate a gift certificate, gift basket, or prize package for the silent auction at one of our fundraising events ♥       Purchase items from our wish list ♥       Include Variety in your estate planning More information can be found on our website: www.varietywi.org.

Affiliations + Memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member

Videos

photos




External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

VARIETY - THE CHILDREN'S CHARITY OF WISCONSIN, INC.
Fiscal year: Oct 01-Sep 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Variety - The Children's Charity of Wisconsin

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Gerise LaSpisa

BIO

On January 7, 2008, Variety welcomed Gerise LaSpisa to the team as the new Executive Director. LaSpisa brings to the organization 13 years of leadership experience in the public service arena. Most recently, LaSpisa served as the President of the West Allis/West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that she was a prosecutor in both Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and Cook County, Illinois. At the Chamber of Commerce, LaSpisa became known as an enthusiastic and creative innovator of new programming. Additionally, under her leadership, the Chamber saw a dramatic growth in sponsorship and participation in events. In addition, she became a champion for her community by getting involved in many City committees, organizations and boards. LaSpisa holds a law degree from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin. Her background as a prosecutor and community leader/advocate will serve Variety well as we grow public awareness for our efforts and our service to our mission.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"Variety – the Children’s Charity is all about the children that we serve and how vitally important it is for them to be able to be as active, independent and to experience as many of the joys of childhood as is possible.

In 2009, we changed our mission to focus our efforts on kids with physical disabilities. Since then, year over year, we have increased the number of kids that we serve, the programs that we offer and the life-long impact that we make.

We recognize that children with physical disabilities have fewer opportunities to be physically active, independent and mobile and that the equipment needed to do so is often times outside the financial abilities of their families. We believe that being able to communicate one’s needs and wants is a basic human right. We understand that ensuring that all children, regardless of ability, are able to participate in all that life has to offer is necessary to a strong community.

Through our Freedom Program, Variety makes sure that all Wisconsin children with physical disabilities can be active and independent by providing durable medical equipment, adaptive bikes and sports equipment as well as therapy services when insurance will not cover the cost and families cannot afford the expense.

We make sure that the voices of children with physical disabilities will be heard by bringing non-verbal kids, along with their families, to Chatter Matters! Communication Camp where they learn how to effectively communicate with technology.

And, with our Future Kids Family Events, we ensure that all kids, regardless of ability, are able to experience all that our state has to offer by hosting free family cultural, recreational, educational and sporting outings throughout the year.

We are experiencing an increase for Freedom Program Equipment requests! We are proud to say that we are reaching more children with more diverse physical challenges from more areas of the state!"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Chris Mortenson

Mortenson Safar Kim

Term: Oct 2014 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?