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INDIANAPOLIS – Bigger than ever, the Indiana Credit Union League’s reliance this month on eBay, the online auction service, to raise funds for Credit Unions for Kids has now become a worldwide event and “doing good things for the credit union message.” That was the word from the League as it conducted for the third year in a row its annual charity auction on eBay with an estimated 150 items being donated for sale by Indiana CUs and vendors. “I certainly hope we can raise $20,000 this year which would top last year’s $15,000 and be above the $5,000 when we first started,” said William Connors, president of Purdue Employees FCU, of West Lafayette whose own local online fund-raising helped generate interest across the state. Like other Indiana CUs, Purdue Employees has long been a benefactor of Riley Memorial Hospital, one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, and which now receives CU for Kids contributions. Purdue had been using a charity firm that does online auctions for nonprofits and which got bought out by eBay and thus “the merger of Mission Fish into eBay was very fortunate for us since it got us into online fund-raising,” said Connors. Gifts being donated this year by both big and small CUs range from an autographed Willie Mays baseball to weekend golf outings and Broadway show tickets and diamond earrings. The League estimates the value of the merchandise at $18,000, all available to bidders throughout May. Three auctions will run on eBay between May 3-22 and each will be five days long and will contain unique items. “Last year we got a bidder from Great Britain and we’ve had several bids from the West Coast,” said a spokeswoman. Among the donated gifts are autographed photos of Hollywood actors Bruce Willis and Jack Nicholson as well as those of Indy race car driver Tony Stewart and Indianapolis Colts football stars. “One special thing we’ve done is to extend the auction for five days, Tuesday through Sunday, so credit union employees can submit bids while they are at home on Sunday,” said the spokeswoman. Including the $15,000 raised in the online auction, the Indiana League brought in $92,000 for CUs for Kids during 2004 with the League expecting to top that figure this year. “Riley is the premiere children’s hospital in our state,” explained League President John McKenzie. “And since there is such a solid partnership between the hospital and Indiana’s credit unions, we’re proud to have an event that can make that relationship even stronger.” A full list of items, including each one’s value and the name of the organization that donated it, can currently be viewed at http://www.icul.org/Auction /2005/2005DonatedItems.asp [email protected]

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