Executives from across the nation are putting their best foot forward ¾ literally. Joe Barry, Dick Cochran, and Diane Furnas are among the executives participating in the 2006 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run April 2 in Washington, D.C. Barry, President of the Credit Union Eastern Region for Fiserv, and Cochran and Furnas, credit union CEOs from First U.S. Community Credit Union (CA) and Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union (TX), respectively, explain why their participation in and support of this annual event is so important to the credit union movement.
Joe Barry, Fiserv
“I’m not a runner! When a client first challenged me to participate, he told me this was a ‘10M run’ – I thought that he meant 10 minutes,” quipped Barry. “When I say I’m leading the way for Fiserv to get more involved with this cause, I’m using the word ‘lead’ very loosely.” Barry is heading up a team of 15 runners and volunteers, all Fiserv employees.
“At Fiserv, we consider our relationship with credit union clients to be more than just a business venture but rather a true partnership. As such, we are passionate about supporting their efforts – both on Capitol Hill and in their local community – as we all benefit from continued prosperity of the credit union movement. Participating in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run provides a platform to address both audiences, helping local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and sending a message of support to Congress,” Barry explained. Fiserv and its credit union business units have been supporting the run since 2002, and this will be the second time that Barry himself has run the 10-miler.
Diane Furnas, Southwest Airlines FCU (TX)
For Furnas, support of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run was a natural extension of the myriad other ways in which Southwest Airlines FCU supports the Children’s Miracle Network and their local Children’s Hospitals, which number 18 in the state of Texas. A firm believer in giving back to the community, Furnas feels sponsorship of this event does that and so much more.
“During a time of heightening attacks from banks and related associations, it’s critical that credit unions cooperate to protect members’ best interests and show Congress what credit unions are about – people helping people,” explained Furnas. “It’s exciting to see credit unions from outside of the D.C. metro area as well as our vendors supporting this event.”
Personally volunteering on race day is just one way that Furnas motivates Southwest Airlines FCU employees to get involved. She and Southwest Airlines’ VP of Marketing, Nanette Stracener, come to the nation’s capital together, Furnas as a volunteer and Stracener as a 10-mile runner. In fact, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has been so effective in raising money and awareness that three years ago, Furnas created The Credit Union Texas Twister in Austin, TX, as a sister run to the D.C. 10-miler.
Dick Cochran, First U.S. Community Credit Union (CA)
Cochran, on the other hand, is an avid runner. “I’m excited to participate in this race. You get a real sense of pride when you see sponsor credit union logos posted along the race course, and it makes you feel good to support such a great cause. I want to be a part of that.” Cochran shared.
He added, “I think that it’s critical for west coast credit unions to become more involved in this event. It’s not ‘just a D.C. thing’.” He echoed Furnas’ sentiment about the value of a united presence on Capitol Hill and the benefit to children nationwide. “The run raises awareness of credit unions in general and helps illustrate our members-first difference right at the doorstep of our lawmakers. And with so many tandem fundraising opportunities, we can raise money for the children’s hospitals in our own backyards.”
More than $1 million has been raised for Children’s Miracle Network since the 2001 title sponsorship of the event; this year, the goal is to bring that total to $1.5 million and secure representation in all 50 states.
Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) is comprised of 170 premier children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. These facilities treat millions of children annually with first class pediatric and critical care, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. CMN relies upon more than $2.5 billion in charitable contributions to accommodate uncompensated care each year.
There are many ways that credit unions and related vendors can get involved with this cause. Sponsorship opportunities for 2006 are still available. Help ensure the survival of the credit union movement and millions of children across America. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.miracleday.org for details.