Charity Partners

Variety - The Children's Charity

Variety Club began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Christmas Eve in 1928, when a baby girl named Catherine was abandoned at the Sheridan Theatre. The child was taken into the care of the theatre owner and ten friends who were part of a small social club called Variety, reflecting their various careers in show business. Publicity generated by the search for her family and support for her immediate care created a rush of donations from around the country. Catherine’s needs were soon surpassed, but Variety continued raising money for needy children.

Variety – The Children’s Charity is now an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world. Variety has over 43 chapters in 13 countries worldwide whose volunteers share the common goal of working together to benefit critically ill, disadvantaged, at-risk, abused, and special needs children. To date, Variety of Iowa has raised more than $90 million dollars for children.

Hy-Vee’s involvement with Variety began in 1983 when a coupon redemption program called “Cash for Kids” was born. Through this highly successful program, Hy-Vee generated millions of dollars for children. Currently, Variety and Iowa’s children benefit from the Hy-Vee Triathlon.

Hy-Vee’s generosity extends well beyond the corporate dollars given to Variety. Thousands of dedicated store directors and employee owners volunteer their time and talent to Variety in many ways: manning phones and soliciting pledges during Variety’s annual telethon; donating food, water and other items for Variety fundraising events; donating bikes to underprivileged youth and providing support to children, families and charities in every community they are in.

Thanks to sponsors like Hy-Vee, Variety is able to reach out to children in endless ways:

  • Renovate a neonatal intensive care nursery for critically ill infants
  • Replenish the Compassion Fund, created to alleviate some of the hardships experienced by critically ill children and their families
  • Help build a respite center or a playground for special needs children
  • Provide shelter and services to children who have been affected by domestic, physical or sexual abuse
  • Provide positive programming for children to encourage them to avoid detrimental actions and negative behavior and lead better lives
  • Fund Variety’s Mobility Programs that provide vans to children’s agencies, bikes for deserving children, specialized bikes and therapeutic equipment for special needs children, and educational and recreational trips on the Variety Trolley.

Please visit to learn more about Variety.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)


The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has grown into the pre-eminent worldwide organization dedicated to wiping out juvenile diabetes, which affects as many as three million Americans and is diagnosed in nearly 100 people every day.

Type 1 diabetes tricks the body's immune system into attacking and destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to turn food into fuel. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin to stay alive. This means multiple daily injections, or an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers six or more times a day.

Hy-Vee’s connection to juvenile diabetes dates back more than a decade before the company got its start. Paul Hyde, the 8-year-old son of co-founder Charles Hyde, died from the disease in 1921. It would be another nine years before his father and David Vredenberg launched the partnership that would become Hy-Vee, Inc.

According to a written history of the company, while Charles and his wife “had had time to prepare for it emotionally and did their best to deal with their grief … their grief was made more poignant the next year, when two Canadian scientists announced the discovery of insulin.”

Diabetes research has always been at the forefront of the company’s philanthropic efforts, which were ramped up in 1998, when Hy-Vee forged a partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Hy-Vee has since raised more than $10 million to help find a cure for juvenile (or Type 1) diabetes. Every store gets involved, from benefit auctions, carnivals and dinners to the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes and various competitive fundraisers throughout the year.

Diabetes is a lifelong disease and while the causes are not entirely understood, scientists believe that genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. There have been several promising research results in recent years, but scientists are still a long way from the finish line. The effort by Hy-Vee and other contributors must continue.

JDRF, which marked its 40th anniversary in 2010, has awarded more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research, with more than $107 million last year alone. More than 80 cents of every dollar goes directly to research and education.

Said Lee Ducat, founder of JDRF: "When you have children with an incurable disease, you have an insatiable appetite to do anything and everything you possibly can to help them ... I'm optimistic that a cure is going to be found and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation can go out of business."

That’s why Hy-Vee employees will continue to walk, bowl, host golf outings, sponsor basketball tournaments and participate in 100-mile bicycle rides. It’s why stores will sell paper sneakers, donate food, organize car shows and sponsor countless other events. It’s the reason for the Walk of Hope, a brick path outside the corporate office that carries the engraved names of JDRF donors and the people in whose name the contribution was made. And it’s the reason a portion of the Hy-Vee IronKids Midwest Series registration proceeds will be donated to JDRF. Register for the event Volunteer for the event

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