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OKLAHOMA CITY – When it comes to charity and fund raising, Oklahoma credit unions are at the top of the corporate ladder – at least in the view of Gov. Frank Keating. His office has designated CUs in metro Oklahoma City and Tulsa as “Corporate Volunteer of the Year” for their efforts in raising $100,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network program. Executives from 19 Oklahoma CUs were on hand last month at a special dinner in the Governors Mansion to receive the award “Considering its low population, I think we have to credit Oklahoma credit unions for developing a rather mature program in collecting large amounts of funds for Children’s Miracle Network,” said Riley Smith, director of the Credit Unions for Kids program, a unit of the charity association based in Salt Lake City. Funds raised by individual CUs through an array of charity events ranged from car washes and bake sales to golf tournaments and casual days go to local children’s hospitals. Long active in CMN have been some 40 state leagues including the Oklahoma Credit Union League. Smith said Oklahoma ranks 15th in the nation in CMN fund raising. Neighboring Texas, which started Credit Unions for Kids in 1985, has raised nearly $930,000 in 2001. Alison Wolf, marketing specialist at WEOKIE Credit Union in Oklahoma City said Oklahoma CUs first became involved in the Credit Unions For Kids campaign in 1998 raising $2,000 the first year. That number has since grown to the $100,000. Among the most active in the Oklahoma program have included Tinker Federal Credit Union, FAA Employees CU, Municipal Employees CU, OU Federal CU and Oklahoma Health Services CU. Vic Thate, executive vice president of FAA Employees CU and chairman of the Oklahoma CMN program, credits active support by area CEOs and diligent committee work with creating a successful fund raising program. “We have very committed committee members who work from the heart,” said Thate noting the “standing committee” has reps from all size CUs in the state with “most of the same players each year.” Also active has been the Boomer Sooner Chapter of the Oklahoma CU League. CUs “are very supportive of each other and generous in their time,” he said noting the overall effort has paid off in winning plaudits from local members and from public agencies. Other winners of the Governor’s Corporate Volunteer award in the past have been the Wal-Mart chain, Marriott Hotels, and the Express Personnel temp agency. “We consider this a pretty big honor,” said Wolf of WEOKIE who also cited commitment of individual CUs in the state. One of her specific marketing duties is to arrange fund-raising events during the year for Children’s Miracle Network. She said she knew of no other marketing official at other CUs or at other firms where a specific job is handling CMN. – [email protected]

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