ABOUT VARIETY OF EASTERN TENNESSEE
Much like the first Variety Tent in Philadelphia, Variety of Eastern Tennessee was born out of the spirit of helping children. Two children, Francine and Ryan who happen to be the children of parents within the entertainment industry, inspired the Eastern Tennessee chapter. Both children were born with special needs, but they also possess inspiring spirit and determination to overcome their disabilities.
With the help of Regal Entertainment Group, led by Mike Campbell (Chairman of the Board) and Greg Dunn (President/COO), Francine and Ryan's inspiration culminated in the founding of the Eastern Tennessee chapter (Tent 81) of Variety in 2001. The Variety organization is a long standing charity in the entertainment industry, whose mission is to help disadvantage or disabled children. (Pictured at right: Ryan and Francine)
FATE PLAYS A HAND
In 2002, a third-generation entertainment executive from Denver moved to Knoxville. His wife, Dena, had been instrumental at Variety's Denver chapter, Tent 37 following the tragedy at Columbine High School. As a result of that experience, Dena decided to devote herself to full-time charity and fundraising work and became the first Executive Director for the chapter. After 9 years of dedicated service to Variety of Eastern Tennessee Dena decided to retire. In 2010 Carol Fusco became the Executive Director of the chapter. Carol also brought to Variety a wealth of experience from her service with Variety's Denver chapter and the entertainment industry. So Variety of Eastern Tennessee was able to continue its mission with this smooth transition in leadership.
Since that fateful year, Chapter 81 has raised approximately $5 million in direct aid for Eastern Tennessee children who are either in crisis or otherwise cry out to us in special need. We have made donations to numerous groups including East Tennessee Children's Hospital, Emerald Youth Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, Mission of Hope, Imagination Library, FISH Hospitality Pantries, Empty Stocking Fund, Tennessee School for the Deaf, Katerpillar Kids Camp, Joni and Friends, Epilepsy Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, Cerebral Palsy Center, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Youth Arts Alliance, Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, Family Promise, Worship in the City, Ladies of Charity, Small Miracles, Columbus Home and Children's Emergency Shelter and individual children in need.
Above Left: Children showing off their Variety tee-shirts, enjoying a very special Zoo Day at the Knoxville Zoo
Above: Photography of the Sun Tower and Ijams Nature Center by Robert Armbrust
Variety of Eastern Tennessee was created through the generous support of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest theatre chain in the world, with 6,698 screens in 539 theatres in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
We are honored and privileged to have had their support over these important formative and productive years.
Copyright © 2012 Variety - The Children's Charity, Variety of Eastern Tennessee. All Rights Reserved.