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Boulder Dam Credit Union Starts Small and Finishes Big With CU4Kids Fundraising

CU Shares Lessons Learned Along the Way

The $650 million Boulder Dam Credit Union started small when it jumped into supporting Credit Unions 4 Kids when it launched in 1996, but with the support of its employees and community, the fundraising campaign has skyrocketed over the last decade. CU4Kids is the umbrella organization through which credit unions collectively donate to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. All proceeds are directed toward a credit union’s local hospital.

If you have any questions about getting involved, don’t hesitate to contact Nick Coleman, director of Credit Unions for Kids at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, at!

Despite its large asset size, Boulder Dam has just 44 employees, which makes its member service Credit Unions 4 Kids Fundraisingproposition unique, as well as its fundraising abilities. The credit union started out selling local confections from See’s Candies and hosting an annual garage sale, according to Teller Supervisor Mary Beth Clift, who’s been at the credit union for 44 years. The credit union earned $4,200 dollars for CU4Kids in 2009, when the credit union began tracking.

In 2011, Boulder Dam employees began participating in the highly popular Miracle Jeans Day. Employees anted up $5 to CU4Kids to wear jeans to work the six Wednesdays leading up to the official Miracle Jeans Day. Fundraising increased a bit, but really jumped in 2012 to $10,000. By 2014, the credit union hosted a bake sale, receiving contributions from 30 employees and raised an additional $1,000.

In 2019, Boulder Dam raised $23,000 for CU4Kids, exceeding its $20,000 goal, featuring this bake sale, which brought in $3,500 with 30 employees contributing baked goodies again. And, of course, all the employees buy them. “Not everyone can bake,” Teller Autumn Dempsey, who’s taken the reins of the CU4Kids fundraising at Boulder Dam, explained, “but everyone buys. We all show up in our own way.”

Boulder Dam Credit Union CU4Kids Fundraising
Boulder Dam Credit Union presented St. Rose Dominican Hospitals with the proceeds of their fundraising – $23,000 in 2019.
Boulder Dam Credit Union CU4Kids Bake Sale
Boulder Dam CU hosted a bake sale that received confectionaries from 30 of its employees and lots more in donations!
Boulder Dam Credit Union CU4Kids silent auction fundraising
Teller Autumn Dempsey collected contributions from local businesses to create a bountiful silent auction!











Dempsey admitted she loves asking for free things, so she took it upon herself to request contributions from the local business owners, who generously contributed to the new silent auction this year, which raised more than $10,000 of the funds for 2019. “We have a very generous community and members,” she said. Since Dempsey began leading the CU4Kids fundraising, the campaigns really have been kicked up a notch, Clift praised.

St Rose Dominican Hospitals Fundraiser Debi Walsh
St Rose Dominican Hospitals Development Director Debi Walsh

One key to growing Boulder Dam’s fundraising success has been increasing promotion of the events. Everyone in the community (of which they serve 80%), knew when the events were coming. They expected it. But once the credit union started knocking on doors and dressing up the tables for the baked goods and auction, it really blossomed. St. Rose Dominican Hospital Development Director Debi Walsh brought over preemie diapers, which employees pinned to their shirts, so members would ask what it was about, and the credit union displayed a tiny, preemie blood pressure cuff to demonstrate the special needs of the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.

Baby in St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Seina Campus, NICU
Pictured here is a mother and baby receiving essential medical care in St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Seina Campus, neonatal intensive care unit.

“They have just one branch, and they rock it!” Walsh exclaimed. “Boulder Dam’s level of commitment is unmatched.”

Clift commented, “When Debi comes and talks to us, we can’t help but want to do more.” The credit union toured the NICU and PICU to see for themselves the impact Boulder Dam was making; the public can tour at other times as well. When the credit union drives home that the funds go directly to St. Rose (Siena Campus), everyone can literally see the difference their donations make. “I’ll never forget those babies,” Clift said of her first visit.

“Although the efforts we have put forth have benefited hundreds of children over the years, this is truly a win-win for all parties involved,” Boulder Dam CEO Eric Estes chimed in. “The difference we are able to make through the generosity of our membership and community is heart-warming and a great reminder for how much kindness exists in this world today.  We are people helping people build their futures and realize their dreams.”

St. Rose NICU baby
This baby is one of twins born at 24 weeks old. Both are now eight, thanks to St. Rose NICU and CU4Kids support.

CU4Kids Board Member Brandi Stankovic added, “One of Boulder Dam CU’s core values is to be community-based. Providing members the opportunity to engage in the Credit Unions for Kids program is truly serving the community. With all of the funds going to the local hospital, members know that the credit union is invested in the lives of the membership.”

Walsh further emphasized that point, pointing out that all of the funds go toward medical equipment and caring for the sick children and their families. “Not one cent goes toward administrative costs,” so the hospital can “treat the mind, body and soul,” including offering Child Life, which provides specialists who support the families in their darkest times to navigate the medical system and assist with siblings’ homework while parents’ need to be focused elsewhere.

Beyond individuals, “Local businesses are really buying in as well,” Dempsey noted. The credit union is truly part of the community by supporting all types of local events, which helps to make other business leaders want to participate with them. Additionally, the silent auction includes promotion of the contributing businesses, plus those for those that ‘buy’ the various-sized, traditional Miracle Day Balloons that paper the branch. Boulder Dam offers balloons in $1, $20 and $100 increments, which are progressively larger in size. A dozen businesses earned the largest balloons in 2019, bringing the local hospital $1,200 from that effort alone. The credit union also creates fun for employees to ‘sell’ members on donating, making it into a contest so whoever sells the most balloons gets to leave work an hour early.

“We haven’t gotten new members from it, but we have gotten their hearts.”

– Autumn Dempsey

Members appreciate Boulder Dam’s personal touch in their banking and understand it’s truly part of the community. They also like knowing that their contributions will also go to their local hospital, Clift said, adding, “I think it makes for a kinder, gentler membership.”

“We haven’t gotten new members from it,” Dempsey said, “but we have gotten their hearts.”

Clift said community involvement is not a key consideration in her hiring process to ensure the culture of community giving, and CU4Kids in particular, is maintained. She admitted that she does plan to retire someday, but she’s very happy to know, “With great people like Autumn coming on, we will keep going and going.”

Walsh concluded, “Credit unions have been a very strong partner of ours for many years. We appreciate them, because it’s banking and that’s a very trusted. They have a deeper relationship with their members.”