One of the principal industry charities in the United States will be introducing new leadership in 2023. Elizabeth O’Neil, the long-time Executive Director of Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern California, will retire effective December 31, 2022. Britni Smith, the current Director of Fundraising and Special Programs has been promoted to the position of Executive Director.
Founded in 1941, Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern California is a 501(c) 3 Organization with a 4 Star Rating on Charity Navigator. Only 26% of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations. Variety supports children in the areas of Health Care, Education and Mobility. Its Mobility Program provides confidence, freedom, and much-needed therapeutic exercise to children with disabilities by providing specially-designed adaptive bikes, strollers and other mobility equipment. Variety’s Health Care Program supports organizations that provide safety, help and hope to children who are victims of abuse, neglect and homelessness. Variety sends kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses to summer camp and provides medical care, therapy, and early intervention programs for kids with disabilities. Variety’s Education Program provides underprivileged children and at-risk youth the programs necessary to pursue their education and dreams and overcome the barriers of poverty and high levels of unemployment with literacy programs, college scholarships, college prep and career readiness counseling.
“Variety of Southern California will continue to flourish under the leadership of our new Executive Director Britni Smith” said Steve Bunnell, the incoming Board President. “Britni has been a key driver helping Variety through these recent difficult times and is poised to take us to new heights.”
O’Neil has served as Executive Director since April 2008 and has played a critical role in helping the Charity expand its fundraising, programming and grant giving, shepherded the organization to the highest rating on Charity Navigator and securing coveted partnerships with County and City employee giving campaigns. In her tenure as Executive Director Variety of Southern California has raised and awarded almost $20 million to assist those in need.
“We are so lucky that we had Elizabeth at the helm of our charity for the last 14 years. And we are very fortunate to have had Britni working with her over the last 3 years and we know that we are in good hands and will not miss a beat going forward,” said Mike Polydoros the current and outgoing President of the charity.
Prior to being named Executive Director, Britni Smith served for three years as Director of Fundraising and Special Programs, managing the Charity’s major fundraising events and expanding the organizations digital marketing initiatives. Some of Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern California marquee fundraising events include the annual Poker Night held each summer on the Paramount Lot, the recent 50th Anniversary Golf Tournament Honoring Eric Tabak and the annual Heart of Show business luncheon coming up on December 15th honoring Elizabeth O’Neil, keeping with the event’s tradition of honoring industry individuals who best exemplify Variety’s mission.