WASHINGTON -- CO-OP Financial Services has served as the sole sponsor to Children's Miracle Network's Champions Across America and CEO Stan Hollen is urging more credit union vendors to follow CO-OP's lead.
Each year, CMN hospitals choose a patient to represent each state in the Champions Across America program. The children, many severely injured or ill, come to Washington, D.C. to meet with the senators from their home states and actually had lunch at the Senate this year with 33 U.S. senators. Additionally, they traveled to the White House to meet with the president.
"The CMN Champions program is far and away the most successful awareness program we have ever done," CMN's Joe Dearborn commented. Greater awareness, he explained, "translates into more money being raised."
But it was not all work for the kids. They also got a floor of the ESPN Zone reserved for them to have a little fun in the nation's capital. After Washington, a Delta charter plane whisks the kids and their families to Disney World for some fun. "For many of these families it's difficult to travel," Hollen explained, "so it's a big deal." Some CMN hospitals send representatives as well. The Champions are also awarded medals during the big ceremony.
The trip occurred at the same time as the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run this year, which was completely coincidental, according to Hollen.
"CMN is the cause for credit unions nationally. Many have been involved--I've been involved--with CMN for many years," he said. According to CMN Chairman of the Board of Trustees Tom Sargent, also president/CEO of First Tech Credit Union in Oregon, about 5,000 of the nation's 8,000 credit unions are involved in some way.
In addition to the vacation, CO-OP also contributes half a penny per transaction up to $150,000 for CMN as well as supporting many of its member credit unions' fundraising efforts--efforts like major golf tournaments that raise big bucks for the cause, Sargent explained. Sargent's granddaughter had also once received treatment through CMN hospitals. Other credit union groups hold wine auctions or sell cookie dough, he added.
In all CO-OP's commitment totals more than $1.5 million a year from CO-OP Financial Services. "It's pretty significant, but we like to help credit unions raise funds for CMN," said Hollen, whose daughter had been a patient at one time, said.
"We would very much like to see other vendors take a similar stance," Hollen added. "CMN is a very efficient charity and very worthy." --firstname.lastname@example.org