About the WHAS Crusade for Children

The WHAS Crusade for Children, Inc. established in 1954 by WHAS-TV, raises money for agencies, schools and hospitals to make life better for children with special needs.

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Years Running

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The 67th WHAS Crusade for Children will be rescheduled from June 6-7, 2020 to August 8-9, 2020. Communities throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana are a key part of the success of the WHAS Crusade for Children. Crusade supporters come together each year to help make life better for children with special needs who are among some of the most medically fragile citizens we have in our communities. Due to the impact of social distancing, the decision was made to postpone the annual radio/telethon.

“The community is such an important part of the WHAS Crusade for Children. With this in mind, we made the decision to reschedule Crusade 67 for August 8 and 9. In these unprecedented times, we remain committed to the health and safety of the children we serve. It is our hope that rescheduling the telethon will provide additional time for our dedicated firefighters and community partners, who are crucial to our success,” said Dawn Lee, President & CEO of the WHAS Crusade for Children.

Firefighters lead the way

Fire departments across Kentucky and southern Indiana raise nearly 60 percent of the Crusade donations each year by staging roadblocks and hosting other events. Fundraising events can be found on WHASCrusade.org/events.

Crusade history

Since 1954, the WHAS Crusade for Children has hosted an annual radio/telethon. Over the years, it has moved around the calendar having been held in November, September, May and most recently in June. A year-by-year history can be found on WHASCrusade.org/whas-crusade-for-children-history.

Kristin Goodwillie joins Terry Meiners
WHAS11’s Kristin Goodwillie and 840 WHAS Radio’s Terry Meiners will emcee the Crusade Variety Show. Show time is 7:00pm (EDT) at the Kentucky Center for the Arts Bomhard Theater in Louisville. The show is open to the public. Admission is free.

The WHAS Crusade for Children will begin at 1:00pm on Saturday, August 8 with fire departments, civic groups, organizations and companies reporting donations. The Crusade will conclude at 7:00pm on Sunday, August 9.

To make a donation

The WHAS Crusade for Children has made it easy for supporters to donate with many different options. Donations can be made securely online at WHASCrusade.org or by mail:

WHAS Crusade for Children

520 W. Chestnut St.

Louisville, KY  40202

Digital donations can also be made using Venmo, PayPal and Alexa Pay. In addition, Facebook users can make a one-time donation on the WHAS Crusade for Children Facebook page or host a Facebook fundraiser for the Crusade. Fire departments and other civic groups will also still be collecting donations this year.

Crusade Network

The annual Crusade Internet/radio/telethon kicks off at 1:00pm (EDT) on Saturday, August 8 and airs in its entirety on WHAS Radio (AM 840), WHAS-TV (Channel 11.1) and on WHAS11.com.

In addition, WBNA-TV (Channel 21.1) in Louisville airs live broadcasts 12:30pm to 6:30pm Sunday, August 9 from the Kentucky cities of Elizabethtown, Shelbyville and Bardstown. WBKO-TV in Bowling Green airs remote telecasts from Campbellsville on Saturday and Leitchfield on Sunday.

Television Network

WHAS-TV, Louisville (flagship station)

WBNA-TV, Louisville

WBKO-TV, Bowling Green

Radio Network

WHAS, Louisville (flagship station)

Internet Network

WHAS11.com

WHASCrusade.org

WHAS11.com will provide live video streaming of the entire broadcast visible anywhere in the world and also simulcast on YouTube and Facebook Live. WHASCrusade.org will provide updates throughout the weekend and a complete list of all groups that make donations.

100 percent for the kids 

In its first 66 years, the Crusade has raised more than $190 million for children with special needs. Thanks to generous contributions of goods and services, the Crusade is able to grant 100 percent of all donations to agencies, hospitals and schools that serve children with special needs in all 120 Kentucky counties and more than 50 southern Indiana counties.

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.

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 66 years, the Crusade has raised more than $190 million. Thanks to generous contributions of goods and services, the Crusade returns 100 percent of all donations to organizations in all 120 Kentucky counties and more than 50 counties in southern Indiana. Fire departments raise nearly 60 percent of the money each year by staging roadblocks 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.

There are so many ways to make a difference and so many people who help the WHAS Crusade for Children. Please meet just a few.

Steve & Annette Roberts

Many who work for the public good during their lifetimes want those efforts to continue once they’re gone. Our WHAS Crusade for Children “1954 Society” honorees, Steve & Annette Roberts, plan to continue to help children with special needs by remembering the WHAS Crusade for Children in their bequest.

Barbie Meyer

Barbie Meyer, continues to help children with special needs by remembering the WHAS Crusade for Children in her bequest.

The WHAS Crusade for Children 1954 Society

Learn more about the Crusade’s 1954 Society, click here or call (502) 582-7706. It’s a simple way to make a long term difference.

To make a secure online donation anytime, click here or call (502) 582-7706.

Bob Pilkington passes away

Longtime producer, director, and writer at WHAS-TV, Bob Pilkington passed away on March 4. He participated in the WHAS Crusade for Children from the very first year in 1954 until last year – that’s 66 in a row. He was the last survivor who had a part in every Crusade for Children telethon.

The photo below, taken in WHAS11 Studio H during the 60th annual WHAS Crusade for Children in 2013, shows (left to right) WHAS11’s Melissa Swan, longtime volunteer Ted Throckmorton, Bob Pilkington, WHAS broadcast pioneer Milton Metz, and WHAS Radio’s Terry Meiners.

Ted, Bob and Milton appeared annually on the Crusade telethon for more than 60 years. Ted passed away in 2015 and Milton in 2017.

And we recently received this from Bob’s son:
“He also did “Small Talk,” “Randy & Lolita” (the talking parrot, a cartoon show), covered races at Churchill Downs, specials, and special events. Then Louisville Productions…Those earlier shows haven’t got much mention…
Thanks for the great article, we really appreciate how the station has remembered him.”

There are more photos of Bob on the Crusade’s Facebook page, just click here.

See this video from the 60th annual WHAS Crusade for Children on the Crusade’s Facebook page, just click here.


Here’s his obituary as published in the Courier-Journal:

Louisville – Bob Pilkington, age 94, of Louisville, KY, passed away on March 4, 2020. He was predeceased by his wife of 40 years, Audrey E (Wedel) Pilkington, and brother Thomas A Pilkington. He is survived by his children Robert P Pilkington and wife Kaoruko H Yoshida-Pilkington, of Boston, MA; Dr. Constance J Pilkington, of Williamsburg, VA; and David B Pilkington and wife Lisa A (Kersten) Pilkington of Grayslake, IL and their, two sons Colin D Pilkington and Corey R Pilkington.

He served in the infantry in World War II, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was a POW, and was awarded the Purple Heart. His career as a producer, director, and writer at WHAS-TV began in 1951, retiring from there in 1989. Notable credits include: weekly television shows such as Hayloft Hoedown and T-Bar-V Ranch; numerous local and regional documentaries; and 66 years of volunteer work with the WHAS Crusade for Children. He was an avid volunteer at Historic Locust Grove and Reading for the Blind. Memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 at St. John Lutheran Church, 901 Breckenridge Lane. Visitation will be Thursday, March 12 from 5-8 p.m. at Pearson’s, 149 Breckenridge Ln. and Friday from 3-4 p.m. at the church. As a memorial, the family would appreciate donations to WHAS Crusade for Children or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Published in The Courier-Journal from Mar. 8 to Mar. 9, 2020


Bob received the Crusade’s Buddy Award in 2007

Here’s the story as it appeared on WHASCrusade.org in 2007.

One of the original Crusaders, veteran WHAS-TV producer-director Bob Pilkington was honored with the WHAS Crusade for Children Buddy Award. The “Buddy” is given annually to someone who goes above and beyond in supporting the Crusade. It’s named in honor of longtime Crusade Executive Director Bud Harsbmeier.

Bob was given the award during the 54th annual WHAS Crusade for Children on Sunday, June 3, 2007 in the 3:00pm hour.

Bob Pilkington is what one would call a TV pioneer. Working at WHAS-TV in the 1950’s and 60’s, he produced daily live TV shows. Writing content like comedy sketches from scratch each and every day. He directed legendary WHAS-TV shows “T-Bar-V” and “Hayloft Hoedown.” This was in the day when all TV was LIVE without the benefit of editing to correct a miscue.

“Pilk,” as his pals call him, is one of only four people who have participated in all 54 annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethons. And he worked on the two Cerebral Palsy telethons, the granddaddy of the Crusade, that aired on WHAS-TV in 1952 and 1953. The Crusade was born in 1954. The other three original Crusaders are Milton Metz, Ted Throckmorton and Dave Dumeyer, Sr.

Even during this year’s Crusade, Pilk did his usual shift as he’s done for years. Strapping on a headest and telling camera operators what shots to get, he directed the live broadcast in Studio G Control for a 3-hour shift.

When presented the “Buddy” by Crusade CEO Rebecca Jackson and award namesake Bud Harbsmeier, he was speechless. With his signature dry wit, he said, “I’m just getting back at all the people who did that to me!” Meaning those people who wouldn’t say much when interviewed in Bob’s day.

But later, he said, “I’m very grateful for the honor and the recognition.” Congratulations Pilk!

This is a fun blast from the past. The Mansfield Confection performed “Proud Mary” on the 1969 WHAS Crusade for Children telethon. This band from New Albany, IN, competed against approximately 50 bands in the Crusade Combo Contest and won the spot to perform live on the telethon.

We crusade for them

In its first 68 years, the WHAS Crusade for Children has raised more than $200 million. Thanks to generous contributions of goods and services, the WHAS Crusade is able to return 100% of all donations to organizations that make life better for children with special needs in all 120 Kentucky counties and 50 southern Indiana counties. Fire departments raise more than 50 percent of the money each year by staging road blocks and other events.


Countdown to the 69th annual WHAS Crusade for Children
June 4 - 5, 2022

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Community Partners

WHAS Crusade for Children

520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202
502.582.7706 Phone
502.582.7712 Fax
Email us CLICK HERE

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