Tom Sargent to Receive 2009 Wegner Award for Individual Achievement

National Credit Union Foundation Presents Credit Union Movement’s Highest National Honors

Tom Sargent, President/CEO, First Tech Credit UnionWhy does First Tech Credit Union CEO Tom Sargent deserve the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement? Ask his granddaughter!

Twenty years after Sargent helped build a new Children’s Hospital facility through his fundraising for the Credit Unions for Kids program, his newborn granddaughter Vivian’s life was miraculously saved in that very same hospital!

Now as the volunteer Chairman for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Board of Trustees, Sargent’s fundraising benefits 17 million kids in 170 Children’s Hospitals across North America. Sargent is the first person from the credit union movement to be elected as CMN Chairman.

For his achievements in helping credit unions land on the charitable fundraising map, Sargent will be honored at the 21st Annual Wegner Awards Dinner presented by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). The gala dinner will take place on February 23 at the Grand Hyatt Washington on the opening night of the Credit Union National Association’s 2009 Governmental Affairs Conference. Online registration will be available this fall.

Local Trail Blazer

Sargent began blazing this trail in 1986 when he made a commitment with six other Oregon and Washington credit union leaders to “make a difference in the lives of local children.” Sargent’s enthusiasm was contagious as he raised more and more funds for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

“Because of Tom’s effective leadership and guidance, the program grew from a local fundraiser to a national program,” recalls Pamela Leavitt, Senior Vice President for the Credit Union Assocation of Oregon.
Tom Sargent at Hank & Moose Open Golf Tournament
To extend the effort nationally, Sargent organized the “Hank & Moose Open” golf tournament and invited credit union vendors, clients and friends from around the country. This tournament is now a nationally recognized event netting $250,000 each year.

National Fundraiser

In the years since, Sargent has exported his local charitable and entrepreneurial skills to credit unions across the nation. Through Tom’s leadership, Credit Unions for Kids became a CMN program in 1997. Today, over 5,000 credit unions in all 50 states support charitable events to help fund Credit Unions for Kids and their local Children’s Hospitals. Some of Sargent’s unique fundraising ideas range from wine auctions to cattle round-ups to motorcycle rides.

“No one could – or can! – refuse Tom Sargent when he asks for assistance in helping kids,” relates Jim Blaine, President of State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, North Carolina. “You always know that Tom Sargent asks for the right reasons; he asks from the heart.”
Tom Sargent with Marie Osmond at the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference
Sargent virtually always makes himself available to lend guidance on how to attract donors, or “simply” to arrange personal visits by CMN Co-founder Marie Osmond (pictured above) and Miss America at credit union fundraisers.

As a result, Credit Unions for Kids is on pace to raise nearly $9 million this year. It’s now the third-largest corporate partner in the entire Children’s Miracle Network.

Credit Union Ambassador

“Through Tom, credit unions have a seat at the table with Wal-Mart, Delta Airlines, RE/MAX, Costco, and 20 other household names,” observes Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, California. “Tom’s quiet hard work for Credit Unions for Kids has done more to create positive visibility for credit unions than hundreds of millions of dollars in paid advertising.”
President George W. Bush with Stan Hollen and Tom Sargent
Hollen's and Sargent's success with CMN fundraising led to a meeting with President George W. Bush (pictured above).
With Sargent as Chairman, CMN grew 19% last year, while the rest of the non-profit sector grew less than 5%.

“CMN is a world-renowned charitable organization that reaches far beyond credit unions,” points out Tom Dorety, President & CEO of Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union in Tampa, Florida. “To have Tom as Chairman and be recognized for his leadership role with CMN is a big boost for the credibility of the credit union movement.”

“Tom’s achievements in fundraising for Credit Unions for Kids transcend even the largest credit unions,” concluded NCUF Awards & Recognition Committee Chairman and Wegner Awards Dinner Emcee Bob Schumacher, CEO of MountainCrest Credit Union in Arlington, Washington. “Inspired by a personal commitment, Tom has achieved what only the most effective national credit union leaders have done throughout our history – uniting credit unions across the country around a single cause. Tom has motivated credit unions of all sizes to do life-changing charity work in communities supporting Children’s Hospitals.”

About the Wegner Awards

The Wegner Awards are named in honor of the late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner, whose tireless dedication, innovative ideas and deeds truly revolutionized the way that credit unions serve their communities. The awards that bear Wegner’s name honor his legacy and recognize his spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking” leadership.
Click here for more information on the gala dinner!