Philanthropy Fundamentals: Greek members contribute to charities

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Philanthropy Fundamentals: Greek members contribute to charities

CW | Belle Newby

Katie Shepherd

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“This is due in part to their unwavering commitment to philanthropic endeavors, charity events and fundraisers,” McBrayer said. “Philanthropy is one of the pillars of our Greek system and is an important part of what makes our chapters the best in the nation.”

McBrayer said, Delta Delta Delta, more commonly known as Tri-Delta, raises the most money out of all Greek organizations on campus for their charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude’s, located in Memphis, Tennessee, works to create and 
provide treatment for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Patients at St. Jude’s are treated regardless of their family’s ability to pay, so the hospital relies heavily on donations.

Taylor Lawhon, Tri-Delta philanthropy chair and a junior majoring in anthropology, said the University’s chapter of Tri-Delta raises more money each year than any other chapter nationwide.

Lawhon said it is rewarding to know that her and her sorority’s efforts could make a difference in the lives of children who are diagnosed with debilitating diseases.

“I think it’s cool to see how big of an impact all of the chapters make nationally,” she said.

Last year, the University’s chapter of Tri-Delta was able to raise over $204,000 for St. Jude’s, well surpassing their goal of $120,000.

“It was so exciting,” Lawhon said. “We are the first chapter ever to hit $200,000.”

Lawhon said the sorority had previously aimed to raise $15 million nationally in five years, but they reached their goal in three and a half. She said they now hope to raise $60 million in 10 years.

Tri-Delta hosted a charity event this past Saturday called Gameday Giveback. During the event, attendees ate barbecue and listened to the sounds of The Park Band. Lawhon said the event was a success, and they raised $14,600 from Gameday Giveback alone.

Lawhon said that Tri-Delta’s largest fundraising event is their letter-writing campaign, which occurs in the spring. For this event, each member of the sorority writes letters to friends and family asking for donations to St. Jude’s. She said that Tri-Delta typically raises over $100,000 through this campaign alone.

Nika Longo, president of Zeta Tau Alpha and a junior majoring in business management and restaurant hospitality, said she feels ZTA’s focus and dedication to their philanthropy events is especially meaningful to her because of the charity they support, Breast Cancer Awareness.

“It’s important because we are an organization of women helping women,” she said. “It’s really cool for me to know that we are doing something to help our members and their families.”

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so Zeta Tau Alpha has many fundraising events planned for the coming weeks. Every Wednesday during October, Zeta Tau Alpha hosts a lemonade stand in front of their house on Magnolia Drive, for which all proceeds are donated to Breast Cancer Awareness.

Longo said getting donations is not the only thing they try to do.

“It’s a dual process: awareness and donations,” she said. “We are doing our best to satisfy both sides of it.”

Longo said the sorority donated $20,000 to Breast Cancer Awareness last year, and hopes to double that by raising at least $40,000 this year.

McBrayer said Chi Omega set a goal to raise $50,000 this year for the Make a Wish Foundation after they raised over $43,000 last year for the charity a through their annual fall event, Wake Up for a Wish.

This year’s Wake Up for a Wish also took place this past Saturday at the Chi Omega house. The event featured an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, a pancake eating contest and live music.

Lexie Lawhon, a sophomore majoring in public relations and business, said she attended Wake Up for a Wish because she is familiar with the organization and thought the event would be a great way to support it.

“Make a Wish is actually my favorite charity,” she said. “I worked a lot with it in high school. Also, we got free pancakes.”

Brandyn Dupree, philanthropy chair for Chi Omega, said Wake Up for a Wish has raised over $41,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, and they are continuing to receive donations.

In addition to their national charities, some UA Greek organizations turn their attention to local causes.

After every home game or meet for football, basketball and gymnastics, McBrayer said, members of Alpha Gamma Delta collect leftover food from box seating and package it through the Fifth Quarter Initiative, which works with the West Alabama Food Bank to distribute food to those in need of a warm meal.

Though members of Greek organizations must go through a selection process to join, McBrayer said most philanthropy events are open to the public, and all are encouraged to participate.

“Almost all chapter philanthropy events are held in a public setting and we encourage all students to attend,” McBrayer said. “Not only does this increase awareness for the cause or charity the organization is supporting, but you are also having a direct impact on their mission to raise money and make an impact in the world.”

McBrayer said Greek philanthropy events can not only make a positive impact on the community, they can also be fun.

“This is a great opportunity for students to meet others in support of a common cause,” she said.