CHARLOTTE, N.C. (9/5/12)--Credit union involvement in the Democratic National Convention (DNC) leave-behind project to benefit Levine Children's Hospital being unveiled here today is an important showcasing of credit unions' dedication to their communities and the long-term benefits brought by the credit union philosophy of "people helping people." And in many ways this week's event, says Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins, is just a small reflection of what credit unions do daily.
Among the highlights of credit union involvement at this national convention, CUNA, the North Carolina Credit Union League, the South Carolina Credit Union League, the National Journal Group, CUNA Mutual Group, CO-OP Financial Services and others wrap up months of work to renovate a rooftop playground at Levine Children's Hospital to provide a stimulating and therapeutic environment for youngsters being treated there.
The Charlotte, N.C., project, to honor the DNC held here this week, mirrors another sponsored by CUNA, state leagues, credit unions and their partners that was unveiled last week at All Children's Hospital to honor the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
At Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, the project has converted an existing rooftop space on the hospital's 12th floor into a dynamic play space that includes a touch-activated light and color "bubble wall," outdoor play equipment, and much needed environmental improvements. More on the project can be seen in the video posted below.
At All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., the playground was designed with special equipment to assist in the rehabilitation of children suffering from a variety of illnesses and accidents.
The two 2012 projects cost a combined $600,000, and credit unions nationwide, as well as the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions Foundation, have raised funds for the projects.
The efforts represent credit unions' tradition of honoring each national political convention city with a "leave-behind" project that will serve the local communities long after the conventions have left town, Hawkins points out.
"This event and the one in Tampa help to spotlight the credit union philosophy to a broad national audience through media coverage. That's important. And sick and injured children and their families will benefit from this project for many years to come. That is significant.
"But these individual projects are not the whole story. The real story is all that credit unions do, day after day, to make a difference in their communities," Hawkins says.
For instance, in total, Credit Unions for Kids, a collaborative effort to raise money for children's hospitals, has raised more than $100 million for Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals across the nation since 1996.
Since the St. Petersburg project, and the similar one in Charlotte where credit unions have worked in conjunction with the DNC, have such a political nature, Hawkins says, it is important to underscore the bi-partisan nature of the credit union efforts.
"Credit union volunteers of all political persuasions have rolled up their sleeves here and in Florida to work to benefit sick children," Hawkins points out.
He adds that that bi-partisan effort reflects CUNA's approach. CUNA is known for having one of the most evenly distributed records of political contributions between political parties.
Currently 48.2% of contributions made through its political action committee--the Credit Union Legislative Action Committee (CULAC)--have gone to Democratic candidates. Republicans have received 50.3% of CULAC donations. And Independent candidates have received 0.5%.