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The 71st WHAS Crusade for Children collects $5.7 million for special needs kids

The 71st WHAS Crusade for Children concluded on Sunday, June 1, 2024 with a final tote board of $5,700,525.71.

Terry Meiners, Emily Stillwell, and Shay McAlister at WHAS studios.

Since 1954, the WHAS Crusade for Children has raised more than $216 million. One hundred percent of those donations have been returned to the community in the form of grants to schools, hospitals and agencies that make life better for children with special needs.

The Miracle Dancers launch the Crusade for Children on the stage of Paristown Hall.

At the heart of this effort are the thousands of people who come together each year to make the Crusade a success. From individual donors who drop pocket change into boots at firefighter collection sites to children with lemonade stands to corporations that offer payroll deduction, it all comes together during this annual miracle on the first weekend in June.

The Leaders
Nearly 60 percent of donations are collected by nearly 200 fire departments in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Fire departments have been involved with the Crusade since 1956 when Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Chief Ernie Bohler brought $400 on the Memorial Auditorium stage in Louisville and challenged all fire departments to get involved.

iHeart’s WHAS-AM afternoon drive host Terry Meiners celebrated his 25th anniversary as the Crusade’s co-host, sharing duties this year with WHAS11 (Tegna) news anchor Shay McAlister. Meiners has appeared on the WHAS Crusade for Children in a reporter or host role for 39 consecutive years.

The WHAS production team and theater staff conduct a thorough run through ahead of the four hour entertainment portion of the telethon.

Following the live entertainment show at Paristown Hall, personalities from both 840WHAS radio, WHAS11 television, and various other media outlets greet groups of firefighters and donors throughout the two day simulcast. Donor announcements take place at WHAS11 studios and at various satellite locations in Kentucky and Indiana.

Van Vance, seated, the legendary WHAS sports reporter and play-by-play announcer, visited the late night portion of the Crusade for Children.

Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District $241,715.65
Fern Creek Fire Department $185,489.00
St Matthews Fire Protection District $150,048.00
Jeffersontown Fire Protection District $106,298.63
Shelby County Fire Department $95,618.31

Jeffersonville Fire Dept. $126,716.15
Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department $107,708.24
Highlander Fire Protection District $94,647.12
Charlestown Volunteer Fire Department $55,606.69
Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department $31,529.59

LG&E/KU Foundation and Employees $402,891.00
Archdiocese of Louisville $286,674.00
Norton Children’s Hospital $117,872.40
Jefferson County Public Schools $53,964.90
Bluegrass World of Wheels $24,259.00

Archbishop Shelton Fabre joined the Crusade with a delivery of over $286k donated by area Catholic churches.

Crusade Network
The annual Crusade Internet/radio/telethon kicked off at 1:00pm (EDT) on Saturday, June 1 and aired in its entirety on WHAS Radio (AM 840) and WHAS-TV (Channel 11.1).
In addition, WBNA-TV (Channel 21.1) in Louisville aired live broadcasts from 1:30pm to 6:30pm Sunday, June 2 from the Kentucky cities of Elizabethtown, Shelbyville and Bardstown. WBKO-TV in Bowling Green aired remote telecasts from Campbellsville on Saturday and Leitchfield on Sunday.

To Make a Donation
Tax-deductible contributions can be made year-round securely online on or by mail:
WHAS Crusade for Children
520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202

Digital donations can also be made using Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal.

For an alphabetized list of fire departments, groups, organizations and companies who presented donations live on the 71st Annual WHAS Crusade for Children, go to:

71st WHAS Crusade for Children raises $5,700,525.71

About the WHAS Crusade for Children
The WHAS Crusade for Children, established by WHAS-TV in 1954, raises money for agencies, hospitals and schools that make life better for children with special needs. In its first 71 years, the Crusade has raised more than $216 million. Thanks to generous contributions of goods and services, the Crusade grants 100 percent of all donations to organizations that provide direct services for children with special needs in all 120 Kentucky counties and more than 50 counties in southern Indiana. Fire departments raise nearly 60 percent of the donations each year by staging collections and hosting other events. Millions of 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.

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For more information, contact Deandra Jackson at (502) 582-7525.

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