ANN ARBOR — A big-hearted effort recently from United Bank & Trust, (UBT), a presenting sponsor in helping to ensure success for the 2012 Big House, Big Heart Run (BHBH). UBT played a major role in the annual race that starts and ends at the University of Michigan’s Big House. Proceeds from the race directly benefit ALS research; the U-M Cardiovascular Center; and the U-M Mott’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
“We are excited to support the Big House Big Heart race again. It gives us an opportunity to come together as an organization and community to show support for numerous charities and non-profits,” said Todd Clark, president and chief banking officer at United Bank & Trust.
U. S. News and World Report ranks the U-M Hospital 14th best hospital overall and the Cardiovascular Center 11th nationwide. “How lucky are we to have such a great institution in our own backyard,” added Clark.
In addition to being the presenting sponsor, United Bank & Trust, in partnership with Champions for Charity, has developed the United Challenge for non-profits. Through the United Challenge, $2,500 in additional funding is awarded to some of the non-profits participating in Big House Big Heart.
History of the Research Facilities
Since the early 1900s, U-M faculty made discoveries that have influenced cardiovascular decisions worldwide which ultimately save lives. “In fact, Ann Arbor is home to Dick Sarns, a local engineer, who worked with U-M surgeon Herbert Sloan, and developed what is today’s most noted heart lung machine, used in countless complex surgeries of the heart, vessels and brain,” Clark noted.
U-M’s Cardiovascular Center strives to serve patients, push boundaries on research and train tomorrow’s health leaders. On an annual basis, the Cardiovascular Center:
- Treats over 40,000 patients.
- Performs 7,500 studies and procedures.
- Completes 1,500 open heart and vascular operations on adults.
- Perform 600 open heart operations on children.
Clark emphasized that these are just a few of the reasons why it’s important for United Bank & Trust to support Big House Big Heart and for the community to be part of making a difference.
There are numerous ways in which participating non-profits benefit from the United Challenge. UBT gave three teams with the greatest number of registered runners, the following prizes:
- Victor’s 1st Place Team Award- $1,000
- Maize 2nd Place Team Award- $500
- Blue 3rd Place Team Award- $250
Clark said the United Challenge also gave away five $100 sponsorships via the United Bank & Trust Facebook page. “Any non-profit who visited the United Bank & Trust booth on Expo or Race Day was entered to win a $250 sponsorship,” he said.
UBT Becomes a Race Sponsor
Two years ago several United Bank co-workers realized they were all running in the Big House Big Heart, and decided the next year (2011) they would put together a team. While organizing their team, Champions for Charity, founder of Big House Big Heart was looking for sponsors and approached United Bank & Trust.
“As we were putting together our team, and considering the sponsorship we realized the race has deep ties to United,” Clark recalled. “It was originally founded by Mike and Andrea Highfield in memory of our former UBT board member, and Mike’s former law partner, Phil Bowen. Current Washtenaw market board member James Schriemer is also a part of this law practice.”
UBT staff also use the race to celebrate loved ones who have been lost to the causes supported by this event, each registration directly benefits these research facilities. Clark added that the race event has also grown in to a platform for over 100 local non-profits, who have used the race to raise over $1 million for the communities the bank serves.
Brooke Parrish, community banking officer at its Dexter location ran in her second Big House, Big Heart race. “I ran in it both times with my 9 year old daughter and honestly I am in no way a runner or walker,” Parrish explained. “I do it because of the cause. It’s also been a great experience for my daughter to step outside of her own world, to work, give back, and of course have fun doing it.” She said her goal was to finish without walking, which Parrish did. “But I discovered I need to set a goal for next year to not let my 9 year old beat me!”
Parrish started as a UBT teller and moved up to become a personal banker and now community banking officer. “I never intended on a career in banking. It just happened, and it fits. I love it!”
Her thoughts about the success of BHBH are shared both by UBT’s Jim Winslow, VP United Investment Services, and Michael Collins, CIO, United Bank & Trust.
“I am very encouraged that United Bank & Trust chose to sponsor this great community event. My wife and three sons also participated,” Winslow said. It was his second BHBH 10K. “I have run many other local 5K and 10K races; and two marathons several years ago.”
Winslow has been running for about 30 years, since he was 12. “My father ran a lot – he is my role model. Running is a great workout. I try to balance running by also attending a boot camp class three mornings a week before work and a cycling class twice a week at noon. I love being in good shape. Exercise energizes me, and is also a great stress reliever.”
Winslow, who is a senior financial advisor for individuals, has been in the financial services industry for 19 years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree in financial planning from the College for Financial Planning.
For Collins, his commitment to the BHBH run started with the first race in 2007, and his desire to run was personal. “My father had ALS so I wanted to run this race when it first started five years ago. My family was involved and in fact we were able to get my dad into the Big House so that he could watch all of us run through the finish line,” Collins recalled.
His father passed away later that year, so the race has become even more important for him and his family to participate in each year. Collins joined UBT close to two years ago and when management began talking about becoming a sponsor of the Big House Big Heart race, he was a very strong advocate and added his voice to make the decision.
“I think this is an incredible community event promoting an excellent community cause that has a far reaching aspect in the success of research efforts, but a local flavor too.” Collins once lived in Ohio and completed his undergraduate degree at Bowling Green University and a master’s degree from Wright State University.