WASHINGTON-Of all the fundraising credit unions do for Children's Miracle Network, no event is more high profile than the annual Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.

As the name implies, the 10-mile run takes place each spring when the capital's famed cherry trees are in bloom. The credit union brand brand receives significant exposure, hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised for the charity, and the event also helps to galvanize local credit unions.

Theresa Mann, CEO at The Partnership FCU here and a board member for CU Miracle Day, which oversees the event, said it "helps my individual CU have a purpose, and it not only allows (people) to be philanthropic and raise money, but allows them to participate in a local event so that they can go and see the good work that's being done and feel the energy. It's not just about raising money, it's more than that-it's about being a part of something bigger."

While the Run draws thousands of participants, Mann noted its location is key, getting the attention of Capitol Hill and illustrating credit unions' good work to members of Congress and their staff.

One major hurdle with the race each year comes with funding, and Mann explained that every effort is made to ensure that vendor partners cover all costs associated with the Run and associated events "so that every penny credit unions give goes back to a local children's hospital in their local neighborhood."


Ninety CU Partners

Much of the funding also comes from more than 90 CUs that have signed on as partners, but Sarah Turner, CU Miracle Day director and director of public affairs for the Maryland and DC CU League, noted that the recession has not led to a reduction in support for the event.

Online giving led to $120,000 in 2012, down from the record high of $170,000. That reduction did not cause budget problems, as Mann noted CU Miracle Day is conservative in its forecasts.

One change that has helped increase participation and keep donations up is the addition of more events as a part of CU Miracle Day. Events now take place in Sacramento, Calif., with the SacTown Ten Mile Run, and at U.S. military bases overseas, with the Credit Union Freedom Ten Mile Run.

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