BEAVERTON, Ore. -- After nearly 20 years of volunteering with the Children's Miracle Network, First Tech Credit Union President/CEO Tom Sargent saw the fruits of his labor of love first hand.
"I've been involved with Children's Miracle Network directly or indirectly since 1988," Sargent, who was recently named chairman of the CMN Board of Trustees, explained. When he got his credit union involved with Portland, Oregon's Doernbecher Children's Hospital at that time, First Tech organized candy bar sales and other fundraising ideas for credit unions in the state. "One of the stated goals of our credit union is we want to be a philanthropic organization," Sargent explained.
Now the Oregon credit unions sponsor the Hank & Moose Golf Tourney, named for the 1950s baseball legends. The night before, Sargent hosts about 150 people at his home and then about 300 golfers, including some pro-athletes, turn out the next day for the charity golf tournament. This event alone raises about $250,000 each year and all Oregon credit unions raise nearly $1 million annually for CMN. Doernbecher's even has a "Credit Unions for Kids" floor.
Sargent said he thinks one of the most appealing things about CMN for credit unions is not only the work that is done to help kids but also, "The money that's raised locally, stays local." This is also a point that Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run (which benefits CMN) organizers have been driving home.
A good idea for contributors but with all the funds raised at the charity events going back to the hospitals, Sargent said, "It makes for a challenging time for the board of Trustees for fundraising." CMN raises funds from underwriters, such as Wal-Mart and RE/MAX, for operations. When you add it up, CMN has four constituencies, he pointed out: the 170 member hospitals, the sponsors, the donors, and the kids.
"CMN as a charity recognizes that credit unions have been supportive over the years but there's opportunity to do more," he said.
Sargent saw first-hand last year what his hard work for CMN does for families. His granddaughter experienced difficulties at birth and spent her first week of life in a CMN hospital. "You realize the frailty of children whether at birth or later," he said. Now she is a "perfectly fine" eight month old.
Sargent was named chairman of the CMN Board of Trustees in July of this year after working his way up through the ranks. He has also served on the CMN Board for the last nine years. All in all, he spends about three days a month--"like a part-time job"--working on CMN matters in addition to running First Tech.
But he is enthusiastic about it. "It's such a great focus for credit unions and its something that credit unions can hold onto," Sargent said. He noted that credit unions are the No. 3 contributor to CMN, after Wal-Mart and RE/MAX, but Dairy Queen is closing in. --email@example.com