When Arlington Community FCU ($260M, Arlington, VA) first got involved in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, DC, it focused on sending volunteers to help on race weekend. Being a part of a corp of 2,000 volunteers was a wonderful way to demonstrate community commitment and spirit in the DC suburban area the credit union serves. And knowing more than $7.5 million has been donated to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country through credit union involvement in this race, and its family of races, made the run even more attractive.
Karen Rosales, CEO, Arlington Community FCU
When a credit union CEO talked to Arlington Community's CEO, Karen Rosales, about the scope of credit union participation, what resonated with Rosales was the coast-to-coast awareness building of the credit union difference. It did not take long for Rosales to become a sponsor and join the board of directors for the title sponsor group, Credit Union Miracle Day.
More than 200 members of Congress from 45 states support the race as Honorary Race Chairs — a fact that is essential to the success of the title sponsorship. Furthermore, more than 600 Capitol Hill staffers participate in the Capitol Hill Competition, a race within a race coordinated by Congressional FCU and United States Senate FCU with support from CUNA and NAFCU. In 2016, 66 teams competed for a chance to win the coveted Capitol Hill Cup.
The race presents a major opportunity to tell the credit union story. Early each year, the Hill-based credit unions share the story of credit union involvement by visiting each congressional office with a race T-shirt and yearbook. And running teams from states far from the DC area Hike the Hill while they are in town during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Every participant in and thousands of spectators of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run see and hear the term "credit union" throughout the event.
Credit union delegations have said thanking legislators and staff for their support of and participation in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is one of the best ways to break the ice during Hill visits. During one of Rosales' own visits, she noted a participation award displayed on the front desk of a representative's office. The credit union message is being heard and remembered on the Hill all year long.
In this highly competitive world-class race, more than half of the 15,000 runners are members of credit unions from every state, and they are running alongside Hill staffers who potentially play a role in legislation that affects credit unions.
All runners and thousands of spectators see and hear the term “credit union” splashed along the race course on banners and directional signs as well as in public announcements. Credit union volunteers wearing logo gear staff the bag check, water and food stations, and runner corrals. They also are involved at the Kids’ Run at the National Building Museum.
It is important to note that the Credit Union SacTown Run — also taking place on April 2 this year in Sacramento, CA — leverages the impact of California, which has the most Congressional Honorary Race Chairs.
With the 115th Congress starting in January, and a new Administration taking office, it is critical for credit unions to unite and showcase the industry's community engagement before a national audience in the U.S. capital.
Credit unions in DC for the CUNA GAC, stop by the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run booth in the exhibit hall to learn how to get involved. And during those Hill visits, don't forget to thank your congressional members for their support of the run. If they have not yet signed on as an Honorary Race Chair, there is still time!
This is not just a DC road race. This is an event that offers national exposure with a local impact in the form of donations to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Become a sponsor today. Visit www.miracleday.org
Karen Rosales is the CEO of Arlington Community FCU, Virginia. With more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Rosales has served in various executive roles throughout her career in the credit union movement. Since 2010 she has managed the strategic direction, service delivery, and operational efficiency of ACFCU, which has $260 million in assets. She currently serves as chair of Leadership Arlington’s Board of Regents.