Credit Unions For Kids Wine Auction Raises $1.1 Million For Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Online Auction Replaces Live Gala Event Due to COVID-19, Raises More Than $1 Million for Sixth Consecutive Year, Totals $9.8 Million for CMN Hospitals in Fifteen Years


Dana Point, CA, April 9, 2020 – Organizers of the fifteenth annual California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction have announced that the event raised $1.1 million for the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.  This is the sixth consecutive year that the event has raised over $1 million for these hospitals, bringing the total raised since 2006 to more than $9.8 million.

The sold-out live event originally scheduled for March 13th at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California, was transitioned to an all-online auction event in the wake of the recent COVID-19 virus.  The amazing turn-out and support for the online auction reinforced the credit union community’s commitment to “people helping people,” as more than 170 participated in the event.

The auction event was supported by 64 credit unions, business partners and hospitals.

“Eclipsing $1 million in donations for a record sixth straight year in support of the eleven Children’s Hospitals in California and Nevada is an amazing accomplishment,” said John Cassidy, event chairman and CEO of Sierra Central Credit Union.  “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a very important cause for credit unions, and through the hard work and generosity of our sponsors, donors, and volunteers we are very pleased to be helping this great organization and the children of our community.”

John recorded his rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic song ‘Wonderful World’ for the online only event, which raised over $30,000 in pledges alone from online bidders.

During the online auction, Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CU Direct, introduced his daughter, Paris, a previous CMN patient.  “Paris is no stranger to creativity — she’s been a dancer since age 2, and she loves musical theater, playing ukulele, and writing poetry,” noted Boutelle.  “Today, she continues her journey in CHOC’s after-school intensive outpatient program, using her many creative skills to share her mental health story with others, knowing that she is never alone.

Paris recorded a special poem for the online event, to share her experiences with attendees.

Attendees had the opportunity to bid on more than 600 packages that included bottles of fine wine and whiskey, travel getaways, and concerts.

The Wine Auction’s vehicle raffle raised over $105,000 for CMN Hospitals, with the winner having the choice of a new car or new Harley Davidson motorcycle, each valued at $25,000, or $25,000 in cash.  The raffle was sponsored by CU Direct.

The raffle’s winner, Melynda Montano, HELOC Financing Specialist at Clark County Credit Union in Nevada, opted for the cash prize of $25,000. She is planning on using her winnings for home improvements and to take her 4-year-old granddaughter to Disneyland.

The lead Corporate Sponsors of this year’s event were CU Direct, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, CO-OP Financial Services, and CUNA Mutual Group.  As a result of the efforts and contributions of each of these organizations, as well as the event’s other sponsors, 100% of the money raised will directly benefit the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.

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:

  • Chairperson: John Cassidy – Sierra Central CU (UC Davis Children’s Hospital)
  • 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)
  • Todd Clark – CO-OP Financial Services
  • 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)
  • Teresa Freeborn – Xceed Financial CU (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)
  • Geri LaChance – SESLOC FCU (Cottage Children’s Medical Center)
  • 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)
  • Steve O’Connell – California CU (Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego; CHOC Children’s; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)
  • Steve Renock – Valley Strong CU (Lauren Small Children’s Center)
  • Debra Schwartz – Mission FCU (Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego)
  • Keith Sultemeier – Kinecta FCU (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; CHOC Children’s)
  • Robert Trunzo – CUNA Mutual Group
  • Darren Williams – Wescom CU (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; CHOC Childrens’)

The 2021 California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction will take place on March 12, 2021, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California.



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 $185 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].