‘CUs For Kids’ Wine Auction Raises Over $1 Million for 3rd Year

Left to right: Keith Sultemeier, Chairman of the Credit Union for Kid’s Wine Auction and CEO of Kinecta FCU, speaks to wine auction attendees with Jadyn Skorpanich at his side. Jadyn, 11, is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital patient at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.
L-R: Keith Sultemeier, Chairman of the Credit Union for Kid’s Wine Auction and CEO of Kinecta FCU, speaks to wine auction attendees with Jadyn Skorpanich at his side. Jadyn, 11, is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital patient at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

Organizers of the 12th annual California and Nevada “Credit Unions for Kids” Wine Auction have announced that for the third consecutive year the gala event raised more than $1 million for the 11 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN) in both states.

The sold-out event—which took place March 10 at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, CA—drew more than 500 attendees and was supported by 88 credit unions, business partners and hospitals.

The wine auction is the largest fundraising event for CMN Hospitals, having raised more than $6 million since 2006 for CMN.

“Through the incredible efforts and generosity of our sponsors, donors, and volunteers, we continue to set new milestones of support each year,” said Keith Sultemeier, event chairman and CEO of Kinecta FCU. “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an important cause for credit unions, and we are very pleased to be helping this great organization and the children of our community.”

With the theme “An Oscar Experience,” the evening included fine food, dancing, and both silent and live auctions. Attendees had the opportunity to bid on more than 500 gift packages that included bottles of fine wine, premium whiskeys and sakes, travel getaways, and sporting events.

The evening’s highlight was a very special guest: 11-year-old Jadyn Skorpanich, a CMN patient at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. Jadyn’s energetic personality and story inspired attendees as she shared how her experience at Rady has changed her life. When Jadyn was eight years old, she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain tumor. She had two brain surgeries at Rady to partially remove the tumor.

For the next year she had both radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Her family essentially “lived” in the hospital and also stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for one month. Today, Jadyn continues to meet regularly with her neuro-oncologist and endocrinologist to ensure that all her needs are met. The best news of all is that there is currently no evidence of the disease.

The wine auction also included a vehicle raffle, which raised more than $75,000 for CMN Hospitals, with the winner having the choice of a new car or new Harley Davidson motorcycle, each valued at $20,000, or $20,000 in cash. The raffle was sponsored by CU Direct, with CO-OP Financial Services matching ticket sales up to $25,000. The raffle’s winner, Yvette Llamas, supervisor of loan servicing at SAFE CU, opted for the cash prize and will be using some of the winnings for a family trip to Virginia to welcome her son home from deployment on the U.S. naval carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

The lead corporate sponsors of this year’s event were CU Direct, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, CO-OP Financial Services, and CUNA Mutual Group.

The Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction is directed by an executive committee, with at least one credit union CEO representing each of the benefitting hospitals:

  • Chairman Keith Sultemeier, Kinecta FCU—Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Bill Cheney, SchoolsFirst FCU—CHOC Children’s
  • Jeff York, CoastHills CU—Cottage Children’s Medical Center
  • Nader Moghaddam, Financial Partners CU—Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Geri LaChance, SESLOC FCU—Cottage Children’s Medical Center
  • Teresa Freeborn, Xceed Financial CU—Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Brett Martinez, Redwood CU—UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
  • Darren Williams, Wescom CU—Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Shruti Miyashiro, Orange County’s CU—Children’s Hospital Orange County
  • Carrie Birkhofer, Bay FCU—Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
  • Steve O’Connell, California CU—Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
  • Erin Mendez, Patelco CU—UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
  • John Cassidy, Sierra Central CU—UC Davis Children’s Hospital
  • Hank Barrett, Valley First CU—Valley Children’s Hospital
  • Steve Renock, Kern Schools FCU—Lauren Small Children’s Center, Bakersfield
  • Eric Estes, Boulder Dam CU—St. Rose Dominican Hospital and Renown Children’s Hospital
  • Debra Schwartz, Mission FCU—Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
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