A Whole New World

A Campaign for a Reimagined Future
A Local Legacy of Enriching Lives

We’ve come a long way since we were founded in 1935 as The Variety Club of Philadelphia, initially operating solely as a children’s fundraising organization. In 1949, the Leo Posel family generously gifted their expansive 77-acre Worcester, Montgomery County estate, and transformed us from a charity administrator to a premier service provider for children with disabilities.

Today, we offer a full array – dare we say “variety?” – of programs for children of all abilities that include after–school and extended school year sessions; day and overnight camps; and arts, athletic, socialization, and vocational programs.

Through it all, we have remained committed to enriching the lives of children with disabilities and empowering them to navigate the world around them. Among those who know us, our progress and achievements over the years are celebrated, and our future is bright. For those who are new to the Variety family, we hope to inspire partnership as we reimagine our future together.

Building A Whole New World of Possibilities

After a careful assessment of our campus, aging infrastructure, and programming, Variety has begun to meet the unique demands for new and innovative offerings with improved, modernized facilities and spaces that respond to the needs of those we serve. We are committed to building new facilities, enhancing our legacy structures, and creatively using our existing campus to set the foundation – literally and figuratively – for bringing Variety programs and services to full capacity for children and young adults of all abilities.

With the ever-changing needs of people with disabilities as our compass, our campus master facilities plan addresses two objectives.

  • First, we will ensure Variety can meet the needs of our participants and families today while planning for their future requirements.
  • Secondly, we will create opportunities for Variety to be a one-of-a-kind location for community programs and corporate events. Ultimately, we will fully realize an exciting vision for tomorrow, beginning with the transformation of Variety’s campus today.

In the last three years, Variety began early investments in critical projects, including the resurfacing of our outdoor, 99,000-gallon pool, new signage at our Potshop Road entrance and the Route 363 & Potshop Road intersection, and the addition and paving of a new driveway allowing for easier and safer entry and exit from our campus. All of these important initiatives were made possible through generous donations!

To realize the next set of goals, Variety launched our most ambitious fundraising plans yet to secure charitable funding and public grants. In 2020, we officially began Variety’s A Whole New World Campaign, a $15M fundraising endeavor that aims to raise critically needed funds for two distinct purposes – transformational capital projects and an endowment. The following projects have been identified by Variety’s Board of Directors to address our most urgent needs in the first phase of our campus master facilities plan.

Multi-Purpose Cabins & Classrooms

Based on current and projected needs in our community, we expect enrollment in our camp and educational programming to grow. Constructed in the 1950s as some of the first buildings on campus, our cabins have served thousands over the years and must be replaced. The current structures lack program staff space and storage areas and are also running on antiquated and inefficient HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems that can no longer be repaired.

Each new structure will replace the equivalent of 2 ½ of Variety’s current cabins. These new, modern, and adaptive cabins will serve as classrooms and program spaces, meeting the dynamic needs of children and young adults with disabilities, as well as be available for lease by private and community organizations looking for accessible, fully ADA compliant spaces for day and overnight programs.

Community Gym

When the renovation is complete, our 19,200-square-foot Community Gym will become a state-of-the-art facility for year-round use and a multi-purpose community and recreational space that serves as a unique “double gym” in the heart of Worcester.

Work has already begun to transform this legacy building! To date, the roof has been replaced and plans are underway to begin interior work this Fall, including filling in the defunct indoor pool to create a second multi-sport indoor court, installing a new HVAC system for all-weather use, and renovating the mezzanine level. Once plans are fully realized, Variety’s Community Gym will be a one-of-a-kind safe, indoor space that is accessible to people of all abilities and ages.

The Community Gym will be a critical asset to Variety’s year-round plans for programs and services as well as play a pivotal role in our ability to secure leasing and events revenue from community groups and athletic organizations. This new, year-round revenue will be reinvested in our mission and facility maintenance and will – ultimately – help Variety achieve long-term financial sustainability.

VarietyWorks Headquarters & Welcome Center

Our transformational campus plans also include a new 8,500-square-foot VarietyWorks Headquarters & Welcome Center that will be the centerpiece of Variety’s year-round vocational programs, serve as the gateway and welcome center to Variety’s campus, and house our administrative team. We are in the earliest stages of designing this new facility and hope to complete construction in 2028, if funding is secured.

The possibilities for this new space are endless for everyone arriving on campus and for the young adults seeking independence through preparing and training for personally chosen career pathways. Dedicated to year-round VarietyWorks programming, the building will include office space for job coaching, administration, and assessment needs. And large, open, and flexible spaces will support program needs and vocational training in simulated retail, warehousing, and office environments.

Reimagining Our Campus Where Children and Young Adults Will Grow and Thrive

Our long-term goal is simple: Ensure the delivery of unique, creative programming on a campus that is modern, functional, and safe.

It’s not all about the buildings; it’s all about what happens within them and across Variety’s 77-acre campus and the impact on, and difference we are making for, the children, young adults, and families who we serve every day. YOU are critical to our ability to achieve our vision for a reimagined future.

Join Us TODAY in creating a brighter future for special families in the Delaware Valley and beyond!

Together, We Can Build A Whole New World

While our history is rich, we believe our future is brighter with your support and meaningful investment. A Whole New World is a 5-year, $15 million campaign to fully realize the potential of our beautiful campus, transforming it to focus on the key aspects of our new, innovative programming and enhance the outcomes for Variety participants and their families. 

 

Imagine
the
possibilities.

“Imagine a campus where children with all abilities are welcomed with open arms – and open hearts – encouraged to explore and learn and grow at their own pace, in an environment as unique and as special as they are.

Imagine young adults with disabilities flourishing through the wonderful gift of choice – in social activities, camps, school programs, job skills development, and even careers they may like to pursue.

Imagine an unwavering bond with – and acceptance among – family and school and community that strives to unlock each individual’s potential to be independent, self-confident, and prepared for life.

Imagine a whole new world.”

Dominique Bernardo
Chief Executive Officer
Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Delaware Valley

To learn more about Variety’s plans and how you can be part of A Whole New World, contact Jaime Howard at jaime.howard@varietyphila.org.