Credit Unions Help OHSU Net $1 Billion to Fight Cancer

Credit unions helped OHSU raise $500 million to fight cancer and qualify for another $500 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight. Click the image above to watch.

Last week, Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Dr. Brian Druker, Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, announced on national television that OHSU raised $500 million to fight cancer, triggering Phil and Penny Knight’s matching gift of $500 million.

Northwest credit unions, with their support OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital through Credit Unions for Kids, helped OHSU reach the $500 million goal to trigger the additional gift. During a May meeting of the Doernbecher Credit Unions for Kids Ambassador Advisory Board, which is chaired by OnPoint Credit Union COO/SVP/Risk Officer Kelly Schrader, credit unions were informed that their fundraising would help OHSU cross the Knight Challenge finish line.

Jim Ervin, executive director of the Doernbecher Foundation, told credit union, “You’re one of the most generous donors to the Knight Challenge.” The credit union in Doernbecher’s region raised over $1.4 million towards the challenge, and continue to earmark donations towards a $3 million endowment for clinic trials in pediatric cancer.

Druker and his team now have a $1 billion war chest in the fight against cancer.

“This gives us the opportunity to bring a team of researchers together and focus them on the issues of early detection of cancer,” said Druker on Good Morning America. “But we want to do this very differently than typical cancer research, which is a lot of individuals working on a small part of the puzzle. We want to bring a team of top notch researchers together and focus them as a team on solving a problem. And we think by doing that we can accelerate progress and get to solutions more quickly.”

Druker will recruit 250-300 scientists to work on the first large-scale program to overhaul early detection of lethal cancers. The program has the potential to save millions of lives.

“Northwest credit unions are thrilled that OHSU met the Knight Challenge, and honored to be part of this historic campaign to end cancer as we know it,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association. “Through our decades-long support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals like Doernbecher, we have long been in the trenches against cancer. This announcement marks a turning point in that war, and we are proud to continue the fight.”

Credit Unions for Kids began in 1986 when several credit unions in Oregon and Southwest Washington began raising funds for Doernbecher and other regional children’s hospitals. Their success was so impressive that  Credit Unions for Kids was adopted as the national credit union movement’s charity of choice, and has since raised over $130 million for 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Northwest credit unions continue to champion Credit Unions for Kids through events such as bake sales, golf tournaments, concerts and more. Several marquis events are planned for this summer including Ride and Rock, primarily sponsored by Fibre Federal Credit Union, on August 22, the Dave and Dan Classic golf tournament founded by First Tech FCU on July 13, and Unitus Community Credit Union’s Wine on the Willamette on September 18.

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

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