It all started with few people pulling together to help other people. Several credit union CEOs who are running enthusiasts wanted to work together to raise money for children in need. They all had a strong belief that doing good in and for their communities is why credit unions exist.
From that initial idea has grown Credit Union Miracle Day, the largest fundraising event for Credit Unions for Kids. Since 2002, the award-winning Credit Union Miracle Day family of races has generated more than $6 million for Credit Unions for Kids, which supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the nation that annually treat 10 million critically ill children, regardless of their ability to pay.
For more than 12 years, Credit Union Miracle Day has been the title sponsor of the annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Over the years, the Credit Union Miracle Day Family of Races has expanded to include the Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run in Sacramento, CA, and two Freedom Runs for our troops in Germany and Kuwait.
“The Cherry Blossom Run in Washington, DC, has been a great way for us to give back to the community not only as an organization but also individually as nearly half of our employees volunteer for the race,” says Patricia Kimmel, president/CEO of Belvoir Federal Credit Union ($308.2M, Woodbridge, VA), a longtime supporter of the Credit Union Miracle Day Family of Races. “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are vital to the American health care system and by supporting them with this cause, it allows us to achieve the credit union mission of people helping people.”
Certainly the satisfaction that comes from helping the children is motivation enough. But for the credit unions that participate and sponsor the races, the events offer the chance to showcase the credit union philosophy in action while raising awareness of credit unions and their services with the general public.
“By participating, our credit union has the opportunity to share our message of people helping people with more than 20,000 consumers who run in or attend the race in DC,“ says Theresa Mann, president/CEO of The Partnership FCU ($147.9M, Arlington, VA) and board chair of Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc.
“The Cherry Blossom Run is without question the premier national charitable event for credit unions,” says Jim Blaine, president of State Employees Credit Union ($26.9B, Raleigh, NC). “Right place, right time, right purpose — with truly worldwide visibility. A slam-dunk ‘two-fer’ for your credit union — national recognition, local reinvestment. Every credit union in the U.S. should participate.”
That’s an opinion shared strongly by a group of credit unions in California. After sponsoring the DC run for many years, they decided organizing a West Coast version of the credit union event would not only continue to build credit union awareness but also provide another way to raise even more money for the kids.
“The Golden 1 Credit Union is proud to be a major sponsor of the SacTown Ten-Mile Run held in Sacramento, our home town,” says Donna Bland, CEO of the $8.2 billion institution. “Through our sponsorship of this well-planned event, we are able to provide much needed support to the many Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals serving our markets while demonstrating our overall commitment to the communities we serve.”
“The Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run allows credit unions of all sizes to unite for good, as every dollar counts,” says Linda White, CEO of United Health Credit Union ($52.6M, Burlingame, CA), another longtime supporter.
For Teresa Freeborn of Xceed Financial Credit ($800.4M, El Segundo, CA), sponsoring the Credit Union Miracle Day Family of Races is about more than just raising funds.
“It not only gives the credit union a chance to raise funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals but also allows us to promote wellness and camaraderie among our associates at the credit union,” Freeborn says. “We enjoy sending off an enthusiastic group of associates to participate in the Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run each year just as much as we love raising money to help kids in need. Xceed Financial is a strong proponent of giving back to the community, and when we can use our resources to help make a difference in the lives of children who need it the most, we consider those resources well spent."
“Ultimately these events put money where it is needed most — at your local hospital,” Mann says. “And, it has the potential to raise awareness where it counts — Capitol Hill.”
The Capitol Hill Competition, instituted in 2002, is for members of Congress and their staff who compete against one another within the broader Cherry Blossom race. Congressional Federal Credit Union ($761.6M, Washington, DC) and United States Senate Federal Credit Union ($569.2M, Alexandria, VA) sponsor the competition with support from the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. This year, more than 200 members of Congress are expected to serve as Honorary Race Chairs with more than 800 House and Senate staff expected to participate in the Cherry Blossom Run in DC.
“The additional involvement of the congressional community through what we call ‘the race within the Cherry Blossom race’ is terrific and a great example of our community coming together to help children in need,” says Charlie Mallon, president/CEO of Congressional FCU. “It also helps us reinforce our movement’s message that credit unions are about more than just providing financial services to our members.”
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run, and the two Freedom Runs will be held on April 6, 2014. Information about becoming a sponsor of the Family of Races is available on the Credit Union Miracle Day website, miracleday.org, or by contacting CUMD Director Sarah Turner at 443-325-0778.
Leight Philibosian is Account Executive at Visions, Ink.