June 9, 2008

55th Annual WHAS Crusade for Children Tops $5.2 Million

Louisville, KY -- On the weekend when Big Brown was the favorite to win horse racing's first Triple Crown in 30 years, the people of Kentucky and Indiana put their money on a sure bet, the 55th annual WHAS Crusade for Children. Despite $4.00 gasoline, near record heat and a brief power outage at the WHAS-TV studios Sunday morning, the final tote board showed $5,249,094 - topping last year's total by nearly $100,000!

The 31-hour Internet/radio/telethon kicked off with a stirring variety show headlined by country singer Bryan White and hosted by WHAS11's Melissa Swan and 84WHAS radio's Terry Meiners Saturday June 7. It all ended with Crusade volunteers crowding into WHAS-TV studio H singing the traditional "God Bless America" after 10:00pm (EDT) Sunday June 8, 2008.

"That's the heart of this community," said WHAS Crusade for Children CEO Rebecca Jackson. "We are so grateful!"

Perhaps Mike Schmidt, chief of the Fern Creek Fire Department, summed it up best when he said, "These kids depend on us!"

100 percent of $128 million = $128 million
In its first 55 years, the Crusade has raised more than $128 million for children with special needs. 100 percent of all donations raised Crusade weekend are returned to the communities where children's needs are met.

It takes a cast of thousands to stage the annual miracle. From individual donors dropping pocket change into boots at firefighter road blocks to children with lemonade stands to corporations offering payroll deduction, it all comes together each year on the first weekend in June.

The leaders
More than 50 percent of donations are collected by about 200 fire departments in Kentucky and Indiana. As in the past two years, Pleasure Ridge Park (PRP) Fire Department led the charge with donations totaling $266,647.52. PRP was the fire department that started it all in1956 when Chief Ernie Bohler brought $400 on the Memorial Auditorium stage in Louisville and challenged all fire departments to get involved.

Also repeating from the past two years, The Archdiocese of Louisville led all non-fire department donors with a total of $215,000.00 in contributions.

So many to thank
The annual Crusade Internet/radio/telethon kicked off at 1:30pm (EDT) on Saturday, June 7 and aired in its entirety on WHAS Radio (AM 840), WHAS-TV (Channel 11), WHAS-DT (Channel 55) and worldwide on WHAS11.com.

In addition, The CW Louisville (WBKI-TV Insight Cable 7) aired live broadcasts noon to 6:00pm Sunday, June 8 from the Kentucky cities of Elizabethtown, Shelbyville and Bardstown.

As the Crusade for Children's flagship television station for 55 years, WHAS11 carried the entire broadcast. Portions also aired on a Kentucky statewide network.

Television Network
WHAS-TV, Louisville (flagship station)
WBKI-TV, Louisville
WKYT-TV, Lexington
WBKO-TV, Bowling Green
WYMT-TV, Hazard
WQWQ-TV, Paducah

The Crusade for Children's flagship radio station for 55 years, 84WHAS carried the broadcast continuously. In addition, the Commonwealth Broadcasting radio stations listed below aired the Crusade variety show Saturday, June 7 from 8:00 to 11:00pm (EDT):

Radio Network
WHAS, Louisville (flagship station)
WTCO, Campbellsville
WLBN, Lebanon
WBRT, Bardstown
WIEL, Elizabethtown
WHHT, Bowling Green
WTTL, Madisonville
WPKY, Princeton

WHAS11.com provided LIVE video streaming of the entire broadcast visible anywhere in the world. WHASCrusade.org posted up-to-date information throughout the weekend.

Internet Network

To honor a pledge
Tax-deductible contributions can still be sent anytime:
WHAS Crusade for Children
P. O. Box 1100
Louisville, KY 40201

To view a complete list of all groups that made donations to the 55th annual Crusade, go to www.WHASCrusade.org.

About the WHAS Crusade for Children
The WHAS Crusade for Children, established by WHAS-TV in 1954, raises money for schools, agencies and hospitals that make life better for children with special needs. In its first 55 years, the Crusade has raised more than $128 million. Thanks to generous contributions of goods and services, the Crusade returns 100% of all donations to organizations in all 120 Kentucky counties and more than 50 southern Indiana counties. Fire departments raise more than 50 percent of the money each year by staging road blocks and other events.

Approximately 3 million children have been helped by the Crusade since 1954. The WHAS Crusade for Children, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Gifts are tax-deductible as permitted by law.