PrimeSource’s Story: Small Credit Union, Little Red Wagon, Big Heart

Credit Unions for Kids—the credit union movement’s national “charity of choice” — has a special place in the hearts of Northwest credit union leaders. It was founded here in 1986. Today, it is one of the largest sources of fundraising for the 170 hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).

That fundraising isn’t always fueled by the largest credit unions.

Case in point: PrimeSource Credit Union in Spokane. Founded by telephone company workers in a basement back in 1935, the credit union has come a long way, now serving about 6,000 members who live, work, worship or attend school in Washington. PrimeSource isn’t a tiny credit union by any means, but the $1,000 it contributed toward a toy-filled wagon for Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital last year was significant for a financial institution with $53 million in assets.

“PrimeSource is proud to be a part of Credit Unions for Kids, and loves to see it be endorsed by credit unions nationwide,” said Margaret Burkholz, PrimeSource CEO. “This shows cooperation, partnership and caring – all of which are very important to PrimeSource. It includes us in the big picture of credit unions working together and abiding by the philosophy of people helping people.”

The tradition of the “little red wagons” is one of many endearing ideas Credit Unions for Kids founders helped to foster. The wagons are credited with calming nervous children and their families, and are often used to transport children around the hospital to receive medical treatments. When the wagons are presented to the hospitals they are filled with toys and usually accompanied by a fundraising check. For example, the wagon presented to Sacred Heart last year came with a $19,582 check — funds raised by a large group of Spokane-area credit unions.

For PrimeSource, the decision to be “all in” was about giving back.

“Having a CMN hospital in the Inland Northwest is a blessing to thousands of children and families who otherwise would not be able to afford hospital treatment, care and medications,” noted Burkholz. “It’s wonderful to have the Children’s Miracle Network hospital resources there to help families find cures for their children’s illnesses, footing the expense to help save kid’s lives.”

Burkholz shared her thoughts with Anthem as the Northwest Credit Union Association began accepting donations for this year’s auction benefitting Credit Unions for Kids. Heroes of Hope: a Gala in Spokane City will take place October 8, during the NWCUA’s Amplify Convention in Spokane.

“The wagon tradition is a great way for groups of credit unions to collaborate, cheer up the kids and make a difference,” said Jamie Dedmon, NWCUA community manager. “We’re also seeing some interest this year in battery powered vehicles for the hospitals.”

At last year’s auction, attendees were moved to tears when the CU Business Group won the bid on its own donation of a Spring Training getaway trip, and donated it on the spot to Elijah Diggins, the auction’s miracle child and a baseball fan.

“Whether you get behind a group effort like PrimeSource and its neighbors did last year, or you donate a hand crafted quilt or you donate the use of your timeshare in Hawaii, it’s all good,” said Dedmon. “It’s a fun event, but what you’re really left with months and years later, is knowing you made a difference for the kids.”

Dedmon and a team of credit union community volunteers continue to accept donations for the auction. She noted artwork, resort trip giveaways and gift baskets are also popular contributions. Donation information can be found online.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

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