Credit Unions for Kids Brings Wagon, Cash Contributions to Seattle Children’s Hospital

The “people helping people” credit union philosophy played out for Seattle Children’s Hospital in big measure this month in the form of two rich traditions.

First, another Boardwalk of Miracles Radio Flyer wagon rolled in — compliments of high bidding by Unitus Community Credit Union and Peninsula Credit Union. Their contribution was one of numerous wagon gifts bid on at the Boardwalk of Miracles auction in October, resulting in toy-filled wagons for all six of the Northwest Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Unitus CEO Pat Smith and Peninsula President/CEO Jim Morrell made the trip to Seattle Children’s Hospital, along with Northwest Credit Union Association President and CEO Troy Stang. The CEOs also presented the hospital with a cash contribution of nearly $20,000.

Then the credit union community again stepped up on Sunday, Dec. 8, when KOMO-TV presented its annual Miracle Season telethon to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital.   A spokeswoman for Seattle Children’s said 284 viewers called in pledges totaling more than $151,000 – a 25-percent increase over 2012.

Phone pledges were answered by community volunteers, including several from the Northwest credit union community. Connection Credit Union’s Claudette Tulp and Peninsula Credit Union’s Nicole Norris quickly found out how fast $10,000 could double. They accepted pledge calls during the Credit Unions for Kids matching-fund segments.

The Seattle Children’s match was made possible by the regional Credit Unions for Kids Ambassador Advisory group, chaired by Cindy Fry, vice president of branch administration, Washington division, at Alaska USA. Alaska USA staff has been instrumental in facilitating the Credit Unions for Kids relationship with the KOMO telethon.

“I spoke with one caller who had such an amazing experience with Seattle Children’s for her nephew that she donated $10,000 to the cause,” Norris says. “Just knowing that being there and answering those phone calls for people who either are or have been affected by the efforts at Seattle Children’s really gave me a strong sense of family and hope for the kids.”

Credit union volunteers worked the phone lines during the Miracle Season telethon for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The event raised more than $151,000.

Echoed Tulp, “How exciting — $20,000 in one phone call! It’s gratifying to know I am part of a group of cooperatives that give back to our communities in such personal, tangible ways. I would be honored to participate again next year.”

For Katie Shrum, a compliance assistant at Peninsula, the opportunity to volunteer for a second year was gratifying. “I am impressed, encouraged and humbled by the amounts — big and small -– that callers pledged,” she says.

“My godson is alive today thanks to Seattle Children’s, and  to hear the stories of others brings that all back and reminds me how precious life is,” says Mary Ellen Garcia, another volunteer.

Kandice Clouatreenjoys interaction with members on the job at Peninsula every day, but she says the experience on the phone lines was especially fulfilling. “Each pledge was a different story,” she says, “and with each story came mountains of gratitude.”

Likewise with Kimberly Ingham, AVP of branch operations at Peninsula, who noted at least one remarkable call. “I spoke to a lady who’s still so grateful to Seattle Children’s for saving her daughter’s eyesight over 40 years ago. I was the ‘connector’ between the people who have been impacted and now want to give back to the hospital that helped them.”

In addition to the high-profile visibility answering pledge calls and providing matching funds during the telethon, the efforts of credit unions to benefit Seattle Children’s were showcased in a public service announcement produced by the NWCUA and Michael Calcagno of Calcagno Media.

*In the photo above: Raising money for Seattle Children’s Hospital, front row from left: Claudette Tulp of Connection, Sheri Anderson of Alaska USA and Eileen Gomez of Alaska USA. Middle row from left: Magdalena Green of Alaska USA, Kristina Williams of Alaska USA, Kim Ingham of Peninsula, Kandice Clouatre of Peninsula, Mary Ellen Garcia of Peninsula and Nicole Norris of Peninsula. Back row from left: Mandy Rogers of Alaska USA, Katie Shrum of Peninsula, Todd Deck of American Lake and Lisa Deck of American Lake.


Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

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