OMAHA – In a new twist on fundraising for Children's Miracle Network, the Nebraska Credit Union League last week began a public eBay style Internet auction using a $1 bill autographed by Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett as one of its celebrated items. But hours after the auction started July 5, the Buffett bill, obtained by the league and described as an item of "priceless value" was only fetching a high bid of $55 though it was expected go higher once word goes out via a special league Web site. "We know other leagues have been successful with e-bid auctions and so we thought we'd try it, too and have been able to get some worthy donations including the Buffett signature," said Laura Polak, marketing director and coordinator of "eBid for Kids" The Buffett dollar bill is "framed between two pieces of glass in a black free-standing frame," said the league. Bidding for the dollar bill as well as other items including a Washington lunch with U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D. Neb.) and a dinner with Rep. Lee Terry (R. Neb.) plus a $400 balloon ride and artwork by a Child Miracle child, ends July 21. In a new approach as compared to other leagues, the Nebraska trade group is promoting its auction on six local Nebraska radio stations and plugging the Web site, www.ebidforkids.com. The league said it hopes to raise $10,000 from the fundraising. In the past, fundraising events have been targeted to Nebraska CUs with more than $60,000 raised in 2005. Nebraska CUs, businesses or the league donated all of the 40 auction items. Individual CUs will also be promoting the CMB auction through Web site links and in CU newsletters. "In addition, through a partnership with NRG, an Omaha radio conglomerate, the auction is being promoted on the radio stations," said the league noting also that "100% of the auction proceeds will benefit Children's Miracle Network." In listing the other auction items the league said they include an original piece of artwork created by "Miracle Child" Kim Patterson. Patterson is recognized as the inspiration of Nebraska credit unions' efforts since it first became involved with CMN in 1998. Patterson "has spoken at every annual meeting" of the league is a brave young woman who has "successfully fought leukemia twice in her 15 years," said Polak. Regarding other auction items, the league said the dinners with Rep. Terry and Sen. Nelson represent a great opportunity for a one on one with a Nebraska lawmaker and includes airfare and hotel. Another auction item is an expense-paid trip to Orlando next April for the annual CMG annual meeting at which league officials attend. That is being donated by the National Credit Union Foundation. [email protected]

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