Credit Unions For Kids Wine Auction raises $1.17M for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Virtual Auction raises more than $1 Million for seventh consecutive year Totals $11 Million for CMN Hospitals in sixteen years

DANA POINT, CA (March 22, 2021)

Organizers of the sixteenth annual California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction have announced that the event raised $1.17 million for the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada. One of the largest single fundraising events for Credit Unions for Kids, this is the seventh consecutive year that the wine auction has raised over $1 million for these hospitals, bringing the total raised since 2006 to more than $11 million.

In its first year as a virtual, interactive event, live streaming on YouTube and broadcast live from Seattle, Washington, this year’s auction celebrated sixteen years of helping to make miracles happen for the children treated at the eleven Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.

The event was supported by 57 credit unions, business partners and 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 benefitting hospitals,” said Todd Clark, event co-chair and president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. “Actively supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is important to credit unions, and we are honored to be helping this great organization and the children they serve in our communities.”

The virtual event’s theme “Gala Caisleán [Castle in Gaelic],” a virtual Gaelic experience, set the backdrop for an evening that included live entertainment and both silent and live auctions. Attendees had the opportunity to bid on more than 650 packages that included bottles of fine wine and whiskey, travel getaways, sports events and concerts.

The amazing turn-out and support for the virtual auction reinforced the credit union community’s commitment to “people helping people.” The event has been viewed more than 1,700 times and generated 600 comments during the live broadcast.

“The ongoing support for Credit Unions for Kids and CMN Hospitals over the last two decades has been remarkable,” noted John Cassidy, event co-chair, and president and CEO of Sierra Central Credit Union. The credit union community came out in force for the virtual auction, helping us to once again top $1 million for California and Nevada CMN Hospitals.”

The money that is raised each year has a real impact on many children and families in California and Nevada, providing funding for advanced research, innovative technology, and life-saving care. It also provides these families with assistance from the burden of substantial medical costs.

The event’s very special guest was CMNH 11-year old Miracle Child, Hudson Kent. In March of 2011, Hudson was diagnosed with kidney cancer at the age of 15 months. With the amazing care that he received through CHOC [Children’s Hospital Orange County (CA)], he successfully underwent 4 surgeries and 6 months of chemotherapy before the age of 3.  We are now proud to say that Hudson is 8 years Cancer Free.

The evening included silent and live auctions, and special cameo appearances by CMNH co-founder Marie Osmond and pro-football hall of famer and three-time super bowl champion, Steve Young. Seattle-based Celtic folk band, The Stout Pounders, performed throughout the gala and closed out the evening’s live broadcast with a virtual concert.

“Our fundraising partners and employees are key to positively changing kids’ health and redefining positive outcomes for communities – and The Credit Union for Kids Wine Auction is a great example of what can be accomplished together,” said Teri Nestel, president and CEO, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Through this event, more than $1 million was raised and will provide member hospitals the critical funds needed to advance pediatric healthcare at-large. Congratulations and thank you to all involved in making this event a success.”

During the live broadcast, Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CU Direct, introduced his daughter, Paris, a previous CMNH patient, and shared a personal story around her journey with depression. Paris recorded a special poem for the event to share her experiences with attendees.

“Over the past 5 years, mental health issues have surfaced more than ever before, with one in five children having some kind of diagnosable mental health issue before they turn 18,” noted Boutelle. “This past year, COVID made it even worse for our children — they were isolated from their friends, they weren’t able to participate in their normal activities, and many were affected by financial hardships. In 2018, CHOC Children’s opened the first Mental Health Inpatient Center in Orange County, California, and also developed an Intensive Outpatient Therapy Program for teens.”

The lead sponsors of this year’s event were CU Direct, CO-OP Financial Services, 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 the money raised will directly benefit the 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:

  • Co-Chairman: John Cassidy – Sierra Central CU (UC Davis Children’s Hospital)
  • Co-Chairman: Todd Clark – CO-OP Financial Services
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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’)
  • Nicholas Ambrosini, Valley Strong CU (Lauren Small Children’s Center)
  • Joan Opp, Stanford FCU (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland)

Organizers announced that the 2022 California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction will take place on March 18, 2022, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California.

The event’s very special guest CMNH 11-year old Miracle Child, Hudson Kent.

Wine Auction co-chairs Todd Clark, president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, and John Cassidy, president and CEO of Sierra Central Credit Union (L to R)

John Cassidy, Todd Clark, and CU Direct president and CEO, Tony Boutelle (L to R)

About Credit Unions for Kids and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

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


Nick Coleman, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

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