Masquerade Auction: A Night of Miracles and Magic Raises Over $900,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

When it appeared bidding had hit a record, auctioneer Sean Kelly asked anyone who could “contribute $1,000 more” to come to the stage. Twenty-five people answered the call.


Miracles happen when credit unions collaborate to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

So does magic.

There was no shortage of either when the Northwest Credit Union Association hosted the Credit Unions for Kids Masquerade Auction in Spokane Oct. 16. The event raised more than $900,000 for the eight Children’s Miracle Network hospitals that provide life-saving care for youth in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Hearts melted when a Disneyland vacation, donated by Portland-based IBEW and United Workers Federal Credit Union, was in turn donated by bidders to five-year-old Elliott Naftzger, who served as the auction’s Miracle Child. Elliott was born with a life-threatening heart condition and underwent her first open heart surgery when she was just four days old. Her treatments have been successful and today, she’s thriving. Thanks to the generosity of Masquerade Auction donors, Elliott, her parents Rachel and Carter, and her big brother Edmond, will soon enjoy a trip to the Magic Kingdom.

IBEW and United Workers FCU President and CEO Barb Mathey called on her credit union colleagues to bid high on this very special package and then made the announcement.

Elliott Naftzger, the auction's 2019 Miracle Child

Elliott Naftzger, 5, wowed MAXX attendees as the auction’s Miracle Child.

“Elliott,” she said, “you and your whole family are going to Disneyland.”

Elliott’s mother Rachel cried – along with some members of the audience as the bidding climbed to $30,000.

Hearing about the surprise for Elliott, Joel Schwartz, founder and CEO of Strategic Link business partner DoubleCheck iced the cake with another surprise – tickets for the Naftzger family to visit Warner Brothers studios while they are in Southern California.

Attendees also bid aggressively on wine country getaways, coastal vacations, and other travel packages. Each CMN hospital in the Northwest will receive a toy-filled electric car which will either be donated to a patient or be kept in the hospital to transport little ones from their rooms to their medical appointments. Bidding on the cars set an NWCUA auction record and the traditional Cash for Kids bidding also shattered records.

But auctioneer Sean Kelly wasn’t done.

“Everyone who can donate $1,000 more, please come to the stage,” he said. Twenty-five attendees answered the call.

“We are humbled by the generosity of credit unions,” said Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO. “Credit Unions for Kids is a charity that is making so many miracles possible for children like Elliott, for researchers finding cures, for medical teams that never give up, and for their families who need comfort and resources when their children are hospitalized. We’re proud to be part of this.”

A committee of credit union employees volunteered their time to make the auction a success, starting last spring to secure donations, and working onsite to arrange dozens of silent auction gift baskets. Spokane Valley-based Horizon Credit Union donated the design work for the Masquerade theme.  CUNA Mutual Group was the auction’s premier Venetian Masquerade sponsor.

“As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions truly do have a DNA that drives them to make a difference,” said Holly Miller, NWCUA Director of Programming and Auction Coordinator. “Thanks to the generosity of all of our sponsors, donors, and bidders, Credit Unions for Kids will keep making miracles—and magic.”

Credit Unions for Kids was “born” in 1986 when a group of Northwest credit unions began raising money for CMN Hospitals. Their model was “adopted” by the national Credit Union Movement ten years later, and since then, the charity has contributed nearly $200 million to CMN hospitals across the nation.

Posted in CU4Kids, MAXX Annual Convention.