How a Baby Boy in Portland Sparked a Movement
2016 marks an incredible milestone: the 30-year anniversary of the nationally acclaimed Credit Unions for Kids program. But did you know that this movement all started here at Unitus?
It’s true, and for those of you who don’t know this story, please allow me to share how it all came to be…
Let’s flash back to 1986 when Mollie Coe, a hardworking loan processor at Oregon Telco Credit Union got the wonderful news she was expecting her first baby.
Soon after, unfortunate complications caused a severely premature birth of her baby boy on July 8. It was a blessing Jordan was cared for at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital because Mollie and Hal’s son got the best possible treatment.
As you can imagine, the medical bills were staggering for these brand new parents, who were solely focused on getting through the pivotal weeks in which their baby was fighting for his life.
Little did they know, during this time Mollie’s coworkers at Oregon Telco were working furiously to help alleviate the family’s financial burden. Bake sales, car washes – you know, good old fashioned fundraisers of the like – were happening behind the scenes to raise much-needed dollars to help pay for the neonatal expenses.
Jordan made it through his first months of life thanks to the heroic efforts of the Doernbecher staff. What’s more, Oregon Telco employees realized there were more families like the Coes that needed help. So the fundraising didn’t stop and the credit union employees adopted Doernbecher as their ongoing charitable organization.
It wasn’t long before their efforts were noticed by other credit unions in Oregon. So the Oregon Credit Union League (now known as Northwest Credit Union Association) took on the fundraising initiative and Credit Unions for Kids (CUFKs) was born.
Since 1986, credit unions in Oregon and Southwest Washington have raised over $12 million. In 1996, CUFKs became affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). Collectively, Credit Unions for Kids has raised over $120 million for CMN affiliated children’s hospitals across the nation.
As a Children’s Miracle Network hospital located right here in our community, each year more than 97,000 children turn to Doernbecher for its breakthrough therapies and treatments saving young lives. Over the years, thanks to the funds raised by credit unions Doernbecher has been able to:
- Add beds to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
- Fund four additional pediatric intensive care unit rooms
- Underwrite one parent kitchen and one exam unit in the cancer center expansion
- Fund two procedure rooms in the Biomedical Research Building
- Fund the 7th floor which has been named the Credit Unions for Kids Outpatient Clinics
- Endow a position for the Credit Unions for Kids Chair Physician-in-chief held by H. Stacy Nicholson, M.D., MPH
- Endow a professorship for the Director of Pediatric Neurology held by Thomas K. Koch, M.D.
- Endow a professorship in Pediatric Research held by Robert D. Steiner, M.D.
Beyond Doernbecher, the funds were also used to add a Neo-Natal Parent Lounge at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene and create a family waiting room at the Family Birth Center at Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford.
Community involvement is at the core of our existence and it’s a privilege to be aligned with a number of remarkable charitable organizations, but perhaps the one most near and dear to our hearts is Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Congratulations on our 30-year milestone, Unitus. What a proud moment indeed!
Posted by: Lori Fink
About the author: Lori has been with Unitus Community Credit Union for 22 years. She oversees Unitus’ marketing endeavors. In her spare time, she enjoys watching her son play basketball – and is especially looking forward to the transition from HS to college where he’ll attend OIT in the fall. She is excited to welcome a daughter into the family as her oldest son just got engaged. Lori and her husband have been married 27 years and as soon-to-be empty nesters, they plan to travel and enjoy more time with friends and family!