By Kathy Isdale
With a focus on families that mirrors Texas Children’s, the Houston Chapter of Credit Unions has supported the hospital’s mission since 2002 with more than $170,000, primarily for charity care. Now the organization has earmarked $100,000 from its 2010 fundraising program to help build Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.
“The mission of Texas Children’s just fits right in with what credit unions are for,” says Clint Hartmann, CEO of the Houston Texas Fire Fighters Federal Credit Union and community involvement chair of the Houston Chapter’s board.
“Working together to support Texas Children’s brings us together to achieve a common goal,” Hartmann says, “which is what a credit union does for its members. A credit union is a nonprofit organization; we’re only here to serve our community of members and their families. But by pooling our efforts we can accomplish so much more for this great resource for our families.”
Of the 105 individual credit unions in the Houston market, most are members of the Houston Chapter of Credit Unions, and most help raise funds for Texas Children’s Hospital through the sale of Children’s Miracle Network miracle balloons and special events.
The chapter’s four major fundraising tournaments throughout the year offer something for everyone to enjoy. Credit union employees and their family members of all ages, financial resources and levels of athletic prowess can choose from bowling in March, golf in April, volleyball in August and the very popular softball tournament and family day in September.
Also in August, about the time most credit union offices are festooned with those signature red and yellow Children’s Miracle Network balloons, the Houston Chapter of Credit unions hosts its annual Business Partner Expo, bringing together the many businesses that provide services to the chapter’s members. Business partners purchase hundreds of “miracle” balloons and frequently sign up for the fundraising events.
“Our partners and credit unions are involved in our events both because they want to be part of the event and because they want to help children and the hospital,” says Hartmann. “As a result, our chapter is known all over the state for our fundraising.”
Hartmann and his fellow leaders have developed a couple of special stratagems over the years, such as the ice cream social catered by Ben & Jerry’s for the credit union that raises the most through balloon sales.
Chapter President James Tuggle, CEO of Transtar Credit Union, reflects, “We’re glad to be able to give as much as $100,000 for a new initiative like the West Campus. We’re just happy to be a part of it. You know, the credit union industry is different from other financial organizations. We don’t do it for profit. We do it because it’s the right thing to do—like this contribution, it’s just the right thing to do.”