Grant Will Help Expand Programming at Variety

July 20, 2023

Grant Will Help Expand Programming at Variety

A $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation will allow Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert (Variety of the Desert) to expand its core programs. The 36-year-old nonprofit will use the funding to conduct more developmental screenings for children up to age 5 and hold more parenting classes and social-emotional classes for children and families in need, at-risk, or living with special needs.

“Coordinating more programs effectively with additional staff and volunteers is necessary as local demand continues to increase,” said Heidi Maldoon, Executive Director of Variety of the Desert. “We’re so grateful to the Berger Foundation and News Channel 3 for recognizing this need and providing financial assistance and outreach.”

As one of the more than 40 Variety chapters worldwide, Variety of the Desert is dedicated to promoting the health, mobility, independence and social inclusion of special needs and disadvantaged children throughout the Coachella Valley. By providing life-enriching assistance to area children, Variety helps them experience all the joys of childhood while growing to become more confident and independent.

“Variety’s intervention resources help put children and their families on a path to success,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

Since the local chapter was established, Variety of the Desert has positively impacted the lives of more than 100,000 vulnerable children (currently about 4,000 annually). Variety serves the community through three core programs. The Freedom Program delivers vital life-changing equipment and services for mobility, and independence including adaptive bicycles, specialized strollers and wheelchairs. The Future Program delivers crucial life-enriching services, education and self-esteem programs to children including socially inclusive experiences and activities for children with special needs including sensory-friendly movie screenings, holiday celebrations and gifts, art classes, and special event access. The Care Program delivers critical life-saving medical equipment and services, healthcare, and well-being to children.

“Variety of the Desert is certainly addressing a variety of needs for children and their families through its core programs. We are happy that we can highlight the organization as it continues to expand and serve more local families,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2.

Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert was featured on News Channel 3’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on throughout the month of July. To learn more visit or call 760-773-9800.