History of Philanthropy
MARCH OF DIMES®
Today, March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work toegether to give all
babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, low birthweight. When established
in 1938 by Franklin D. Roosevelt their mission was to unite a Nation to beat polio.
On January 20, 1945, Bobby Riggio, a 10-year old boy afflicted with polio, sang Over the Rainbow on
Ralph Edwards’ radio program, Truth or Consequences. Edwards issued a challenge - Bobby would receive
a $1,000 War Bond if listeners donated $10,000 to the March of Dimes®. An astounding $139,000 was
contributed - the foundation’s largest single donation to that date.
Knowing the impact he could make, Edwards used Truth or Consequences as a fundraising platform
again in 1947, raising almost a million and a half dollars from the “Hush” contests. Clara Bow -
“Mrs. Hush” - raised $550,000, while Martha Graham - “Miss Hush” - generated $880,000 -
an unheard-of sum at the time. Ralph Edwards was invited to the White House, where Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and
Vice President Harry Truman extended their personal gratitude.
AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION®
Ralph Edwards helped bring the organization to national prominence in 1948. Edwards introduced a network radio contest called “The Walking Man”
on his Truth or Consequences show, urging listeners to send in their contributions and guesses about the Walking Manís identity. Millions of Americans responded,
raising $1.75 million for the AHA, before Jack Benny was identified as the Walking Man. In commemoration, General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented Edwards with
an inscribed chalice. Edwards continued raising funds for the growing organization and received the AHA’s Gold Heart Award, presented by President Herbert Hoover,
USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL
In 1958, Ralph Edwards leveraged This is Your Life to generate seed capital for the
USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii. Seventeen years after the ship went down,
Edwards filmed TIYL in Pearl Harbor, on a wooden platform over the shipís sunken hull.
While paying homage to Rear Admiral Samuel G. Fuqua, the last man to leave the
sinking battleship, Edwards issued a patriotic appeal, urging viewers to support a
campaign to create a permanent memorial to the USS Arizona. Thanks to donations from TIYL viewers, the
wooden platform where Fuqua was honored was replaced with an enduring shrine memorializing the 1,102 men still entombed there.
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY®
With two million volunteers nationwide, the ACS accomplishes its goals through research, education, advocacy and service.
Ralph Edwards, an American Cancer Crusade Chairman, volunteered his time and celebrity to this
worthwhile cause and presented fellow crusader, President John F. Kennedy, a plaque for his contributions.
Through a national network of more than 450 service sites, Easter Seals® offers medical rehabilitation,
therapy and health and support services that help each person overcome obstacles to independence and reach his or her personal goals.
Ralph Edwards appeared in various Easter Seals productions and was the National Easter Seal® Chairman in 1973.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions
to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Ralph Edwards Productions turned a good story into a good deed,
aligning with the Make-A-Wish Foundation® with the animated feature film Annabelleís Wish,
raising nearly $2.1 million in fundraising and more than $19 million in in-kind values generating one of the
largest single donations ever received by the Foundation at that time.
REP also created an alliance between the International Union, United Auto Workers (UAW), General Motors and
Make-A-Wish® to deliver the co-branded message,
Making Smiles Standard Equipment®. Grassroots initiatives on
both national and local levels have helped the GM family of plants, dealers and employees promote
corporate citizenship, while supporting local chapter fundraising and helping to grant more than 7,600 wishes for wish children across America.
WOMEN IN FILM
Women In Film (WIF) was created with a purpose: to empower, promote and mentor women in the entertainment and media industries.
Combining business and pleasure, WIF hosts a full calendar of events that champion the cause - and contributions - of women everywhere.
Ralph Edwards Productions paired WIF with the General Motors Corporation, announcing the Women In Film/GM Alliance in January 2005.
The WIF/GM Alliance supports women in entertainment both nationally and locally, through such diverse programs as the
College Lecture Series, PSA Program, Latina New Filmmaker Grant, Womenís Film Preservation Fund, Film
Finishing Fund, Legacy Series and numerous internships, scholarships and grants presented through local WIF