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What has Carson King been up to during the pandemic? Planning more fundraisers

'Iowa Legend' working construction, making plans for his foundation

Carson King high-fives Camdyn Reisner, 13, during an Oct. 11 event thanking King for donations he collected at the Unive
Carson King high-fives Camdyn Reisner, 13, during an Oct. 11 event thanking King for donations he collected at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. King has been working construction with his brother in Ankeny, waiting for coronavirus restrictions to loosen so he can go back to planning fundraisers and events. (David Harmantas/Freelance)

Carson King, the “Iowa Legend” who raised $3 million for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, has been working construction, waiting for the pandemic to pass so he can raise more money to help children.

At the beginning of the pandemic, King, of Altoona, was working as director of outreach and advancement at the Barrett Boeson Foundation, which gathers resources for charities to benefit the lives of children.

He was laid off, given that his role was event planning, and events everywhere have been canceled or delayed because of COVID-19.

After a while of “being bored,” he began working with his brother, Josh, at Iowa Legends Roofing and Remodeling in Altoona.

The company began in October 2019, shortly after King, then 24, gained his 15 minutes of fame when he appeared on ESPN’s College GameDay holding a sign, at the Iowa-Iowa State football game, requesting beer money in his Venmo account. He ended up with close to a million dollars in donations when, at the suggestion of his mother, he redirected the money to the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

Anheuser-Busch and Venmo matched that total, with Anheuser-Busch Iowa distributors kicking in the final $41,000 to push the feel-good fundraiser past $3 million.

But that was pre-coronavirus. King’s role during the virus has been lower key.

On March 17, for example, King tweeted he would “be pumped if mortgage/rent payments were delayed just until this passes.”

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But in April, King began fundraising for the “Man and Woman of the Year” with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He helped Iowa Love raise $40,794 for organizations serving individuals with mental illness.

He’s also been collaborating with his own foundation, the Carson King Foundation, which has an office in his brother’s Altoona business. The business donates a percentage of its profits to the foundation — $9,875 as of June 30, according to the website.

“It’s kind of a cool, continuing loop,” King said. “While I am doing construction, I am also helping the foundation.”

King said his foundation is planning some events for this summer, including a charity bags tournament in August, if coronavirus guidelines permit.

“We are going to do our best to do all that we can,” King said. “And if it’s not all possible, then we just won’t have the event.”

In addition, King helped the Hy-Vees in Ames, Coralville and Iowa City sell Busch Light beer brats in June, with a portion of the sales going to King’s foundation.

The sign King held up for the ESPN cameras said, “Busch Light supply needs replenished,” but the June brat sales had no tie-in with Anheuser-Busch.

“Busch Light and Carson King had that exciting experience, just a handful of months ago,” Hy-Vee District Store Director John Griesenbrock said. “So we thought this would be a good opportunity to raise some money for a good cause.”

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For now, King said he is focusing on his foundation and hoping everyone does their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s just all been about fundraising and working,” King said.

Comments: (319) 398-8372; alexandra.skores@thegazette.com

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