Credit Union Miracle Day Wins Wegner Award for Outstanding Program

In recognition of its efforts raising national awareness of credit unions, building local community partnerships and raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH), the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) announced Credit Union Miracle Day (CUMD) as the winner of the 2013 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Program.

“Credit Union Miracle Day is one of those rare and special events that seems to grown into a level of influence and prominence in such as small amount of time that is hard to comprehend its entirety,” said NCUF Awards & Recognition Committee Chairman Bob Schumacher. “It encompasses not only raising funds for a worthy cause, but also has an impact on credit union advocacy that is almost unmatched in its power. It is certainly a Wegner winner!”

“We are so honored to be recognized and to receive this prestigious award,” said CUMD Chairman Juri Valdov. “It’s been a tremendous team effort, which entails countless volunteer hours from our board and committee members, but it is all worth it for the children, the credit unions and the community.”

CUMD is the largest national credit union event for Credit Unions for Kids, a nonprofit collaboration of credit union organizations engaged in fundraising activities to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. CUMD started with the 2002 credit union sponsorship of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run® in Washington, D.C., which has become CUMD’s flagship event.

Last year, CUMD expanded its efforts to become a family of charity races, adding the new Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run in Sacramento, Calif., and two Freedom Runs for American troops overseas, including one at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait and one at Wiesbaden Army Garrison in Germany. All are held on or around the same day.

To date, Credit Union Miracle Day has generated over $5.5 million for 136 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country.

“The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run is the most successful in terms of dollars raised for a one-day Credit Unions for Kids event benefiting Children’s Miracle Network,” said Tom Sargent, director at First Tech Federal Credit Union and former chairman of the CMNH board of trustees. “The race started with $50,000 raised in 2002 and continues to reach new heights. In fact, just this year, $515,000 was raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide through the Credit Union Cherry Blossom and SacTown Runs.

CUMD’s efforts have spawned collaboration and community partnerships not only at the national level, but at the local level as well. Funds collected during this national event stay in the individual credit union’s community to benefit the kids served by the local CMNH. Many credit unions have used this opportunity to create a community event and partner with their local hospital to raise awareness about the needs of CMNH.

In addition to fundraising, CUMD conducts a special event at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C, and in California, bringing credit union leaders together with hospital personnel and patients to highlight the successes of children’s hospitals.

CUMD also serves to raise credit unions’ visibility on Capitol Hill, giving a leg up to credit union legislative advocacy efforts as well as to charities supported by the movement.

“Building awareness on Capitol Hill is integral to credit union’s future, and CUMD is one of only a few events that highlights credit unions in the mainstream,” said Dan Mica, principal at The DMA Group and former president and CEO of Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run is quite visible in Washington, and having this Capitol Hill connection provides credit unions with a great opportunity to convey to Congress the credit union difference.”

To deepen Capitol Hill involvement that much further, nearly 1,000 runners this year from Capitol Hill with 43 Senate teams and 37 House teams took part in the Capitol Hill Competition. Also in 2012, a record-breaking 188 members of Congress—including 32 U.S. Senators—signed up to serve as honorary Cherry Blossom race chairs. The run is also featured in widely read and circulated Capitol Hill publications.

“The outpouring of support by credit unions for the race and children’s hospitals across the nation—combined with the highest-ever participation from the Hill—ensures that the impact of event will resound throughout credit unions and Washington,” said CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney.

Aside from the visibility on Capitol Hill, CUMD helps bring national exposure of credit unions to consumers in many ways as well. The races are nationally recognized, and the partnership with CMNH adds to the national recognition and credit unions’ positive impact on communities.

“CUMD has brought awareness to consumers that credit unions are an alternative financial institution,” said Tom Dorety, president and CEO of Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union.

Each year, the website, promotional material and signage for the races prominently note the credit union connection, furthering the credit union message. Media exposure extends beyond Capitol Hill publications and there is live video streaming which portrays credit unions in a very positive light. The races are covered by national media, giving credit unions a further boost.

“This nationwide collaborative effort showcases the cooperative nature of the credit union movement, the benefits of credit union membership, and a commitment to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” said John Lauck, President and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run and Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run draw together 93 credit unions, 56 business partner organizations, 16‚000 runners and more than 700 volunteers who are credit union members from across the country in support of children in need. Credit unions from 13 states participated in this year’s race activities, helping the race become more than a regional event. It is also estimated that about half of the runners are credit union members.

“This race isn’t just about the runners,” said Gerrianne D. Burks, president and CEO of Northwest Federal Credit Union. “It’s an opportunity for credit unions across the country, like Northwest Federal, to volunteer in support of the run to show our cooperative spirit and commitment to providing hope to children and their families.”

CUMD’s award will be one of three Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at a special dinner hosted by the NCUF at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 25, 2013, in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on the NCUF website.

The awards are named in honor of the late CUNA CEO Herb Wegner and recognize his spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking” leadership. View past award recipients online, including Strategic Link business partner Invest in America, which won the award for Outstanding Program in 2011.


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Posted in Awards, Events.