CLIVE, Iowa — In just two weeks, Carson King has taken “Iowa Nice” to unreachable levels.
“She`s an Iowa fan, I’m an Iowa State fan, so you see us coming together for something that`s important and I think this kid is amazing. I`m so proud to be from Iowa,” said Lori Wild, who sat alongside her friend Jena Washington.
From beer sign to multi-million dollar donation, it is a ride even King didn`t see coming. “It leaves you speechless. It really does. From five cents to $2,000 on Venmo, just everyone coming together for one good cause to help people out and give kids a chance and give families hope,” King said.
Monday`s Carson King Countdown Benefit For The Kids was put together with days notice Friday with the help of country musician Royce Johns. He said, “I made a Venmo to donate $25. I`m like this is the coolest story I’ve ever heard on a local basis.”
The $10 tickets and profits from concessions all go towards the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. It is helping push fundraising before matching donations from Venmo and Anheuser-Busch`s end of the month deadline. “We are givers. We want to help kids and we are Iowa nice,” said Trish Nadolsky of Des Moines.
All locally recognized artists, including Johns, The Sheet, B2Wins, Decoy, Pie in The Sky and Cody Hicks agreed to lending talents for free. “It is just positivity. You just don`t really get that, especially in the entertainment industry. You just don`t get everybody say yep, no questions.”
Less than a week from a press conference apologizing for controversial tweets in 2011 as a 16-year-old, King says the overwhelmingly supportive response since has been as impactful as the donations. He said, “It shows everyone deserves some forgiveness and if you own up to any mistakes in your past, it just restores your faith in people.”
Lindsey Calby`s daughter has type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy and receives treatment at the children’s hospital. She and her business partner, Bre Cooper, of Sincerely Bre, presented King with a $5,000 donation from t-shirts they created last week. It was an amount too large to deposit directly to Venmo. “This is crazy. This is absolutely overwhelming,” said King.
Even Gov. Kim Reynolds has been struck by King`s generosity. “It really demonstrates how one person can make a difference, and he took something and turned it into good for kids at the children`s hospital at the University of Iowa,” said Reynolds.
A makeshift sign that is generating millions has given King something priceless. “It gives you faith. It makes you realize this is home and it makes you really proud to be an Iowan,” said King.
As of 9 p.m. Monday night, King said he has generated over $2.8 million when including matching donations.