The Democratic National Convention Committee, in conjunction with credit unions in the Carolinas and nationwide, and the National Journal Group, kicked off the rejuvenation of the rooftop children’s playground at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte on Wednesday.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) CEO Steve Kerrigan were joined at the kickoff celebration by National Journal Group Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier and credit union representatives, including North Carolina Credit Union League President/CEO John Radebaugh and Local Government Federal Credit Union President/CEO Maurice Smith, on behalf of Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
In the months leading up to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in September, credit unions and National Journal will work with the DNCC to convert existing outdoor rooftop space on Levine Children’s Hospital 12th floor into a dynamic play space. New features will include a touch-activated light and color “bubble wall,” a deck and pavilion, outdoor play equipment, and much-needed environmental improvements.
Charlotte media gave extensive coverage to the credit union project, including WCNC-TV and other outlets.
The participants formally kicked off the project with a “ceremonial water sprinkling” of freshly planted seeds that will grow into flowers in the refurbished playground.
“I am grateful to all involved for making this possible,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. “An opportunity like this is a perfect example of why we worked to bring the convention to the city of Charlotte. After all the crowds are gone, projects like this and the impacts they have on Charlotte’s families, will define the legacies that the convention will leave.”
“From day one, the DNCC has made it a priority to be a part of the Charlotte community and to give back to the city through service,” said Steve Kerrigan, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee. “Upgrading the rooftop space at Levine Children’s Hospital is a great way to aid in a child’s recovery. We’re honored to participate in this project, which will impact so many families not only in Charlotte, but across the region.”
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and National Journal Group are honoring the Democratic National Convention by taking on the project. This year’s effort represents credit unions’ 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.
John Radebaugh, President and CEO of the North Carolina Credit Union League, said, “We’re excited to put the credit union philosophy of people helping people into action by helping with this worthy project, and in the process join with the Democratic National Convention to shine a light on the amazing work that Levine Children’s does for the communities it serves.”
The overall project is expected to cost $300,000, which will be paid for with funds raised by credit unions nationwide. The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, representing credit unions belonging to the North Carolina Credit Union League and the South Carolina Credit Union League, are spearheading the fundraising efforts for Levine Children’s Hospital. CUNA Mutual Group, an insurance and financial services provider for credit union members, and COOP Financial Services, a credit union-owned payments and card processing network, are also providing support for the undertaking.
“This project represents the real good that can come when groups as diverse as credit unions, media companies and political convention organizers come together to help the children of this community,” said National Journal Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier, who emceed Wednesday’s kickoff celebration on the Levine Children’s rooftop.
Levine Children’s Hospital welcomed the efforts from all of the partners. “It is our mission to ensure extraordinary healthcare for children and their families, and part of that involves creating a sense of normalcy during their hospitalization,” said Martha Whitecotton, President of Levine Children’s Hospital. “The improvements being made by the Democratic National Convention Committee, National Journal, and credit unions will help provide a special place where patients become regular kids… and where they can play, which is an essential tool in the healing process.”
Construction of the playground will unfold over this spring and summer. Volunteers from credit unions, the Democratic National Convention Committee and National Journal Group will lend a personal hand in the building. The project is part of the Democratic National Convention Committee’s “2,012 Hours for DNCC 2012” campaign, in which the DNCC staff has committed to performing 2,012 hours of service to the Charlotte community before the convention. A ribbon-cutting event marking the end of construction, and opening of the playground, is planned for the week of the Democratic National Convention September 4 – 6 in Charlotte.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and National Journal are also sponsoring a companion playground construction project at All Children’s Hospital in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, site of the Republican National Convention. CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney noted that CUNA has sponsored leave-behind projects at each national party convention since 2000.
“Credit unions really see this as an opportunity to leave something positive behind that will continue to benefit the Charlotte and Tampa communities long after the balloons have dropped and the convention ended,” said Cheney.