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ISU fan's Busch Light charity drive reaches $225K in donations for UI Children's Hospital

Fans wave at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital during the first-quarter break at an Iowa Hawkeyes football game with UNI at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Sept. 15, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Fans wave at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital during the first-quarter break at an Iowa Hawkeyes football game with UNI at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Sept. 15, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Total giving to an Iowa State University fan who over the weekend made a public call for beer money and decided to redirect the onslaught of donations to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital has reached $225,000, UI President Bruce Harreld announced Thursday.

Breaking down the donations, Carson King and his “Busch Light supply” sign had raised $75,000 as of 7:30 a.m. Thursday, with two corporate donors — Busch and Venmo — vowing to match his efforts. All the parties have agreed to keep the campaign open through the end of the month, Harreld said.

“I applaud him for his creativity and his thoughtfulness of donating to our wonderful Stead Family Children’s Hospital,” Harreld told the state Board of Regents. “While we’re clearly very competitive on the field, he clearly is showing how collaborative all Iowans really are and how we’re all in this together. So thank you, Carson. Thank you, Iowa State. And Go Hawks.”

The unexpected fundraiser began Saturday with King’s effort to replenish his beer supply using the expansive reach of ESPN’s “College Game Day” broadcast. By holding up a white poster board scrawled with the appeal, “Busch Light supply needs replenished” and then a Venmo account, King quickly began amassing donations. Venmo is a mobile payment service where people can transfer money via a smartphone app.

Once he received several hundred dollars, the 24-year-old King decided to donate anything above the cost of a case of beer to the Children’s Hospital, according to a Facebook post from his family. Donations have ranged from a quarter to $50 from across the state and nation.

“Anyone who knows Carson can tell you he’s a fun-loving, yet honorable individual with great character,” according to a post. “Trust me, he could have kept all the money to himself (and with a mortgage payment, living expenses, and nearly $700/month in student loans, he could use it!) but that’s not who he is.”

In the days following the viral poster board, King has continued to promote the impromptu campaign — deploying hashtags such as #forthekids and reposting comments from Venmo and Busch Beer.

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“This is the best thing we have read all year,” according to a Busch Beer Twitter account. “We’re inspired. We’re going to match your donation to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and we’ll throw in some of that Busch Light you were looking for.”

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