Credit unions, including CUNA Board Chair Kris Mecham, join then-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and then-U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman (R) to build a home for Sgt. Marcus Kuboy in Woodbury, Minn. This was done as part of the "leave-behind" project at the 2008 Republican National Convention. (CUNA Photo)

CUs kick off construction for nat'l convention tradition of service

March 28, 2016

CLEVELAND (3/28/16)--Credit unions will join with the Republican National Convention (RNC) and RealClearPolitics Tuesday to kick-off construction on a year-round horticultural therapy suite at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s in Cleveland. This year’s effort represents credit unions’ strong 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.

“National convention leave-behind projects are part of what makes the credit union difference so special and unique,” said Jim Nussle, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “Credit unions live by the philosophy of people helping people. That’s why we’ve dedicated our time and energy since 2000 into leaving a long-lasting impact on communities like Cleveland that have hosted conventions.”

Leave Behind

Click image to enlarge. Credit unions, accompanied by CUNA Board Chair Mike Mercer, break ground on the "leave-beind" project--a therapeutic playground--at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.(CUNA Photo)

The construction kickoff is the first step toward the therapy suite, construction on which will continue through the spring and summer. Volunteer opportunities will be available for credit union employees and convention staff, and a ribbon cutting will take place during the RNC, scheduled for July 18-21.

The horticultural therapy suite will be designed as a restorative patient environment, enabling patients to engage in plant-based activities facilitated by a trained horticulturist.

Nussle will be joined at the groundbreaking by Ohio Credit Union League President Paul Mercer; Jeff Larson, CEO of the RNC; Patti DePompei, president of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s; and Tom Bevan, co-founder of RealClearPolitics.

Ohio’s 308 credit unions, which serve nearly 3 million Ohioans, are the lead contributors to the project, which is expected to cost $325,000.

“Ohio credit unions are proud to be affiliated with this project which, upon completion, will change patient lives for the better, similar to what credit unions do for their members daily,” said Mercer.

A companion project is being undertaken by credit unions at Karabots Pediatric Care Center, part of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in Philadelphia--site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.