Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction Raises Over $1 Million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for Third Consecutive Year

Annual Gala Event Has Raised Over $6 Million for CMN Hospitals in Twelve Years

Dana Point, CA | March 17, 2017

Organizers of the twelfth annual California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction have announced that for the third consecutive year the gala event has raised more than $1 million for the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.

The sold out event, which took place Friday, March 10th at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California, drew more than 500 attendees and was supported by 88 credit unions, business partners and hospitals.

The California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction is the largest fundraising event for CMN Hospitals, having raised more than $6 million since 2006 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“Through the incredible efforts and generosity of our sponsors, donors, and volunteers, we continue to set new milestones of support each year for the eleven Children’s Hospitals in California and Nevada,” said Keith Sultemeier, event chairman and president and CEO of Kinecta Federal Credit Union. “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an important cause for credit unions, and we are very pleased to be helping this great organization and the children of our community.”

With the theme “An Oscar Experience,” the evening included fine food, dancing, and both silent and live auctions. Attendees had the opportunity to bid on more than 500 gift packages that included bottles of fine wine, premium whiskeys and sakes, travel getaways, and sporting events.

The evening’s highlight was very special guest, 11 year old Jadyn Skorpanich, a CMN Hospital patient at Rady’s Children’s Hospital San Diego. Jadyn’s energetic personality — and her story — inspired attendees, as she shared how her experience at Rady has changed her life.

When Jadyn was eight years old, she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain tumor. She had two brain surgeries at Rady Children’s Hospital to partially remove the tumor. For the next year following the surgeries, she had both radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In February 2015, right before her 10th birthday, Jadyn finished her chemotherapy.

During her treatment, her family essentially lived in the hospital, and also stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for one month.

“It totally is a home away from home. We can’t speak highly enough about everyone at Rady’s — not only the doctors, but the nursing staff. They are so helpful, so accommodating. The child life specialists are just incredible,” shared Jadyn’s dad, Kirk.

“The staff and care she received at Rady Children’s Hospital is world-class. We know she is here today, because of the hospital staff,” added Kirk.

Today, Jadyn continues to meet regularly with her neuro-oncologist and endocrinologist to ensure that all her needs are met. The best news of all is that there is currently no evidence of the disease!

The Wine Auction also included a vehicle raffle, which raised over $75,000 for CMN Hospitals, with the winner having the choice of a new car or new Harley Davidson motorcycle, each valued at $20,000, or $20,000 in cash. The raffle was sponsored by CU Direct, with CO-OP Financial Services matching ticket sales up to $25,000.

The raffle’s winner, Yvette Llamas, supervisor of loan servicing at SAFE Credit Union, opted for the cash prize, and will be using some of the winnings for a family trip to Virginia to welcome her son home from deployment on the U.S. naval carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

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 Corporate Sponsors, these organizations paid all overhead costs associated with the auction. 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 at least one credit union CEO representing each of the benefitting hospitals:

  • Chairman Keith Sultemeier, Kinecta Federal Credit Union – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Bill Cheney, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union – CHOC Children’s
  • Jeff York, CoastHills Credit Union – Cottage Children’s Medical Center
  • Nader Moghaddam, Financial Partners Credit Union — Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Geri LaChance, SESLOC Federal Credit Union – Cottage Children’s Medical Center
  • Teresa Freeborn, Xceed Financial Credit Union – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Brett Martinez, Redwood Credit Union – UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
  • Darren Williams, Wescom Credit Union – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Shruti Miyashiro, Orange County’s Credit Union – Children’s Hospital Orange County
  • Carrie Birkhofer, Bay Federal Credit Union – Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
  • Steve O’Connell, California Credit Union – Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
  • Erin Mendez, Patelco Credit Union – UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
  • John Cassidy, Sierra Central Credit Union – UC Davis Children’s Hospital
  • Hank Barrett, Valley First Credit Union – Valley Children’s Hospital
  • Steve Renock, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union – Lauren Small Children’s Center, Bakersfield
  • Eric Estes, Boulder Dam Credit Union –St. Rose Dominican Hospital and Renown Children’s Hospital
  • Debra Schwartz, Mission Federal Credit Union – Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego


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 $160 million for affiliated children’s hospitals. Annually, credit unions are the third largest “corporate” contributor to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals behind only Wal-Mart and Costco.

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 Joe Dearborn at (480) 614-9673 or [email protected].

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