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From Northwest Credit Union Association

Bend Credit Unions Join Forces for Charity

A group of Bend credit unions demonstrated the “People Helping People” philosophy this month, setting aside competition to collaborate for charity.

Duck RaceOver the past 23 years, the annual Duck Race in Bend, Ore., has raised more than $1 million for youth charities. A new tradition, the Great Drake Park Duck Race, took flight in this year’s event thanks to five Bend-area credit unions.

Mid Oregon, Northwest Community, OnPoint, SELCO and Southern Oregon Federal credit unions demonstrated “co-opetition” by working together to raise nearly $20,000 for eight youth charities selected by the area’s Rotary Clubs. The credit unions’ combined sales effort was the second-largest group contribution to this year’s event.

“Credit Unions Working Together” raised awareness of the “People Helping People” philosophy after extensive media coverage. The almost-unheard-of approach of bringing competitors together under one fundraising umbrella turned heads, said Kyle Frick, vice president of marketing at Mid Oregon.

“The credit unions really differentiated themselves by being able to work together in a cooperative way,” Frick said. “That builds awareness in communities.”

“This cooperative effort is something we can continue to grow and will help to raise the tide of credit union awareness and market share in Central Oregon,” said Bill Anderson, president and CEO of Mid Oregon. Anderson last year challenged Frick, his marketing director, to take fundraising for the Duck Race to a higher level. Frick found that other credit unions in the region were having the same conversation internally and were enthusiastic about a group effort.

“The ‘Credit Unions Working Together’ theme brings a spotlight on what credit unions do for the community and how we work differently from banks,” added Northwest Community Bend Branch Manager Kim Luckman.

Credit union branches proved to be convenient locations for enthusiasts to purchase tickets, which represented rubber duck “contestants.” The ducks were launched into the Deschutes River on Sept. 9 and “raced” toward a finish line at the Mirror Pond foot bridge.

Prizes included jewelry, a skydiving adventure, a resort vacation, golf clubs, gift certificates and a $20,000 voucher toward the purchase of a new car.

“The proceeds from the Great Drake Park Duck Race benefit important organizations in Deschutes County where our members live and work,” said Rob Stuart, OnPoint’s president and CEO. “OnPoint is proud to stand together with these other credit unions and support the Rotary Club and their service in the community. We firmly believe that when we build strong communities, we all win.”

And the growth and the giving will hardly stop after this year.

“We’re already debriefing now for next year,” Frick said, adding that the “Credit Unions Working Together” program could easily sprout into other outreach efforts as well.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

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