Making a Splash with Record Donations for Special Olympics

Four People in Blue Shirts Jumping into Water for 2023 Special Olympics Polar PlungeSixteen Community First Credit Union employees opted to ‘Go Polar’ in February and we couldn’t be more proud of the support offered on their behalf by our generous member-owners for Wisconsin Special Olympics.
Member-Owners Buy Icons for a Great Cause

Collectively, we raised a record $40,378 in one month to help provide crucial support to Special Olympic athletes across Wisconsin this year.

From brave front-line tellers to our fearless Chief Financial Officer, our Polar Plunge teams motivated us to far exceed our fundraising goal ($35,000). Employees raised money in many creative ways – selling polar bear hats and plushies, icons for decorative branch wall displays, making delicious cake pops (as a bribe for a donation), jeans (casual) day stickers, bake sales and a variety of chances to win an extra day off or special gift baskets (featuring employee-donated flowers, chocolates/sweet treats plus restaurant and movie gift cards).

We are so grateful to Community First Credit Union for its sponsorship support and creative fundraising,” said Chad Hershner, President/CEO, Special Olympics Wisconsin, Inc. “Thanks to all the Community First member-owners who generously donated to support the Polar Plunges. 100% of all contributions remain in Wisconsin and directly support more than 8,000 athletes of Special Olympics Wisconsin and our sports and health programs.”
Brandon Post-Plunge Feb.10 in Oshkosh

Funds raised go directly to help athletes train and compete at the state, national and international level while also supporting year-round health and wellness programs, leadership development and other initiatives that enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Brandon Coumbe, Darboy Assistant Branch Manager, was pleased to plunge again to help Special Olympians make their dreams to compete come true. “It’s humbling and motivational to have some of the athletes there watching and cheering us on,” he said. “It’s always fun coming out of the water and seeing the ‘judges’ giving us a rating on our jumps and just having an amazing time.”

Special invite

Hailey and Keegan Pose Pre-Plunge
Hailey Brick, a part-time teller at our Oneida branch and a senior at Appleton East High School, invited her classmate with intellectual disabilities to join her in doing the Polar Plunge. “My best friend Keegan is an athlete for Special Olympics and participates in many sports they offer. Keegan has always been the type to try new things, is so kind-hearted and loves helping others. We had a blast plunging together!”

Lauryn Schmudlach, a Member Service Representative at our Richmond Street branch, started plunging four years ago on a challenge from her manager. “Before coming to CFCU, I worked for Fox Valley Autism Treatment Program, and worked with kids that have autism. I saw how much Special Olympics does for kids and adults with disabilities. I love that Community First is so engaged and supportive of Special Olympics. I am already excited to jump next year!”
Tellers Volunteer to Handle Money/Registrations

“I try to get involved to help raise funds for this incredible organization anytime I can,” said Jenna Tourville, Branch Support/Travel Team Teller, who plunged and assisted as a registration volunteer the past two years. “My mother worked as a nurse at facility that housed adults with special needs and we volunteered many times for the summer Olympics, handing out medals and cheering on the athletes. I also volunteered as a coach for my cousin’s swim team for a few years. Special Olympics events have always been such a liberating and rewarding experience.”

Many thanks to all who supported, promoted and donated to Polar Plunge 2023!