Credit Unions For Kids Wine Auction Raises Record $1.5 Million For Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Annual Gala Raises More Than $1 Million for Eighth Consecutive Year, Totals Over $12 Million for CMN Hospitals in Seventeen Years

Dana Point, CA, March 22, 2022 – Organizers of the seventeenth annual California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction have announced that the gala event raised a record $1.5 million for the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.  This is the eighth consecutive year that the event has raised over $1 million for these hospitals.

The California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction is the largest single fundraising event for Credit Unions for Kids, having raised more than $12 million since 2006 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  After a two-year hiatus from being a live event due to the pandemic, the wine auction was back in-person at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California. The sold-out event, which took place Friday, March 18th, had 450+ attendees, and was supported by 62 credit unions, business partners and hospitals.

“Through the extraordinary efforts and generosity of our sponsors, donors, and volunteers, we’ve eclipsed $1 million in donations for a remarkable eighth straight year in support of the eleven Children’s Hospitals in California and Nevada,” said Geri LaChance, event co-chairperson and President/CEO – SESLOC Federal Credit Union.  “It was a magical evening – I think the first year back in person brought extra excitement to the event for everyone.”

The event’s theme “Flourish, a Time to Bloom,” set the backdrop for an evening that included fine food, dancing, and both silent and live auctions.  Attendees had the opportunity to bid on more than 500 packages that included bottles of fine wine and spirts, as well as travel getaways.

“Supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the children they serve is important to credit unions, and we are very pleased to be helping this great organization,” noted Joan Opp, event co-chairperson, and president and CEO of Stanford Federal Credit Union.  “The continued support for Credit Unions for Kids and CMN Hospitals over seventeen years has been incredible.”

”To see credit unions, business partners, and hospitals come together each year to show their support of the kids and their communities is touching,” added Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CU Direct. “I am truly grateful for their continued generosity the past 17 years.”

The event’s very special guest was 12-year-old Miracle Child Mina Longo, a CMN Hospital patient at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California.  Sharing how the hospital has changed her life, Mina’s charm and her amazing story of strength and courage inspired attendees. Born premature, Mina was diagnosed with a multi-cystic dysplastic left kidney (MCDK) and severe bilateral vesicoureteral reflux (VUR).  Mina began receiving care under both Rady’s Urology and Nephrology departments.

Two years later, Mina’s left kidney was confirmed to have atrophied, leaving her with a single kidney.  She subsequently underwent surgery to correct the VUR.  Since then, she has been closely monitored by Rady Children’s Nephrology and shown normal progress in both function and growth!

As she has grown, Mina has learned the importance of maintaining proper nutrition to help keep her single kidney healthy. Thanks to many people at Rady Children’s Hospital, Mina continues to thrive and enjoy an active life!

“On behalf of the local children’s hospitals in California and Nevada, Children’s Miracle Network says THANK YOU!,” said Jim Richards, Senior Market Director for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  “The Credit Union for Kids Wine Auction has become one of the single largest fundraisers that benefits the CU4Kids program nationally.  Together, CU4Kids, our hospital partners, and CMN Hospitals are changing kids’ health and changing their futures.”

The Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction is directed by an Executive Committee, with the committee’s CEOs representing the benefitting hospital/s in their area:

  • Co-Chairperson: Geri LaChance – SESLOC FCU (Cottage Children’s Medical Center)
  • Co-Chairperson: Joan Opp, Stanford FCU (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland)
  • Elizabeth Dooley – Educational Employees CU (Valley Children’s Healthcare)
  • Diana Dykstra – California & Nevada Credit Union Leagues
  • Eric Estes – Boulder Dam CU (Renown Children’s Hospital; St. Rose Dominican Hospitals)
  • Carrie Birkhofer – Bay FCU (Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System)
  • Tony Boutelle – CU Direct
  • Bill Cheney – SchoolsFirst FCU (CHOC Children’s; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Rady’s Children’s Hospital San Diego)
  • Teresa Freeborn – Xceed Financial CU (retired) (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)
  • Brett Martinez – Redwood CU (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland)
  • Erin Mendez – Patelco CU (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland)
  • Shruti Miyashiro – Orange County’s CU (CHOC Children’s)
  • Nader Moghaddam – Financial Partners CU (CHOC Children’s; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Rady Children’s Hospital)
  • Darren Williams – Wescom CU (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; CHOC Childrens’)
  • Nicholas Ambrosini, Valley Strong CU (Lauren Small Children’s Center)
  • Steve O’Connell – California CU (Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego)
  • Debra Schwartz – Mission FCU (Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego)
  • Keith Sultemeier – Kinecta FCU (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; CHOC Children’s, Cottage)
  • Todd Clark – Co-op Solutions
  • Robert Trunzo – CUNA Mutual Group
  • Chuck Fagan — PSCU
  • Ana Fonseca — Logix FCU, (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)
  • John Cassidy – Sierra Central CU (retired) (UC Davis Children’s Hospital)

The Title Sponsor for this year’s event was CU Direct, Presenting Sponsor was Co-op Solutions, and Corporate Sponsors were the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, CUNA Mutual Group, and PSCU.  As a result of the efforts and contributions of each of these organizations, as well as the event’s other sponsors, 100% of donations received directly benefit the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.

The 2023 California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction will take place on Friday, March 10, 2023, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California.

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Credit Unions for Kids is the brand under which America’s credit unions fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The collaborative effort, which is driven by a “people helping people” philosophy, includes individual credit unions; local chapters; state leagues/associations; two national trade organizations; business partners and several trade publications.

The program was introduced nationally in 1996 and since that time the credit union movement has raised over $150 million for affiliated children’s hospitals. Annually, credit unions are the fifth largest “corporate” contributor to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The credit union community has established a wonderful legacy at hospitals across the country, funding breakthrough research, numerous programs and services and construction of new facilities. Fundraising activities run the gamut from major events to online giving campaigns to paper balloon icon sales.

For more information on Credit Unions for Kids and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, please contact Nick Coleman at 515-339-1723 or [email protected].