It took John Pamer one trip to the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run® to realize he needed to return and bring other California credit union runners with him.
"The Cherry Blossom Run is a phenomenal event and not enough West Coast credit unions are represented," the Diablo Valley Federal Credit Union CEO said. "This is not just an East Coast event. It's a national event that benefits credit unions everywhere and kids, through the Children's Miracle Network."
Pamer will be participating in the 38th Annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, D.C., on April 11. Through its sponsorship and the support of industry business partners, credit unions have donated more than $4 million to Children's Miracle Network hospitals nationwide in the nine years they have sponsored the run. Up to 15,000 runners from across the country will participate this year, including many lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill.
Pamer and the Diablo Valley FCU ($34 million assets) employees who participated in the 2009 run were so impressed with their experience that Pamer went to the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues seeking a way to increase involvement by league affiliates this year.
League staff -- including Cathy Arra, manager of Credit Union Growth -- have worked with Pamer in recruiting system business partners to provide grants for credit union runners and volunteers to make the trek to Washington this year.
"We're shooting for a group of 10 to 15 runners and volunteers at this year's run," said Arra. "The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are working with system affiliates toward that end. Of course, it's all dependent on sponsorship."
"It's a unique event that can't be held anywhere but Washington and it offers so many rewards as a competitor and for credit unions' image – nationally and locally," said Pamer. "First, it benefits sick children through Children's Miracle Network. All fund-raising is tracked, so what is raised by California and Nevada credit unions comes back to CMN hospitals in our communities." Last year, the event raised $1 million for CMN -affiliated children's hospitals nationwide that treat more than 17 million children annually.
"It's also a great opportunity to get face time with our members of Congress and their legislative staffs," Pamer added. "The California and Nevada Leagues coordinate Hill visits with your legislators and their staff. It's a great ice-breaker when staffers know you'll be running side-by-side with them in Sunday's race."
Capitol Hill interest in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has grown in recent years. This year, more than 35 members of Congress and hundreds of staffers – including more than 110 from California representatives – are competing and supporting credit unions' sponsorship of the annual run.
"The Cherry Blossom Run is a great opportunity for our industry to run or walk alongside our nation's decision makers and shine a positive light on credit unions, while at the same time making an enormous difference in the lives of children in our own communities," said Pamer.
Business partners and credit union affiliates of the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues wanting more information on sponsorship, involvement in the run, or CMN fundraising, should contact Cathy Arra (800) 472-1702 x6025 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Credit unions or leagues elsewhere wanting more information on sponsorships or participation in the Cherry Blossom Run should visit www.cucherryblossomrun.org or send an email to email@example.com.