Nearly 20 years ago Dave Davis, Theta Delta 1973 proposed what was considered to be a radical idea for the Chi Phi Educational Trust. Dave asked the Trust to consider establishing special endowment funds for Chi Phi Chapters. He suggested naming the funds Chapter Excellence Funds (CEF) and thought alumni around the nation would jump at the chance to make a tax-deductible gift for their Chapter.
“I really viewed the CEFs as a win-win situation,” said Dave. “Local organizations can work with the Trust, provide their donors with tax-deductible giving options and then use those funds for educational purposes or borrow them, repay their CEF and the Trust, and have those funds available for educational purposes in the future. How can you lose?”
The Trust decided to test this concept with Daves Chapter at the University of Florida. The Theta Delta Chapter Excellence Fund was an immediate success. Slowly these funds spread to more and more Chapters. In 2011, as part of the Changing Lives Campaign, the Trustees decided that it was time to establish a fund for every Chi Phi Chapter.
“Our goal is to create a Chapter Excellence Fund of at least $25,000 for every Chi Phi Chapter,” noted Trust Chairman Christopher Shuler, Alpha Zeta 1984. “We want each Chapter to have resources available to them, through the Educational Trust, to award scholarships, conduct leadership retreats and send their promising members to educational programs.
Shuler continued, “We’re making the investment in staff to help our Chapters raise money. We have true development professionals from OmegaFi that we’re working with, and they stand ready to work directly with local Alumni and student leaders to enhance and maximize Chapter fundraising efforts.”
Directors of Development, Elizabeth Knott and Nick Holmes, Theta Delta 2010 have already worked with several Chapters to help fund a variety of programs and scholarships. Gamma and Iota Colonies worked with the Trust to raise funds as they prepared to return to campus. Gamma raised $85,000 to fund scholarships and educational programs for future Chi Phi Brothers. Iota raised nearly $50,000 to assist with educational training provided by CAMPUSPEAK for new Colony Brothers.
Eta Chapter at the University of Georgia has raised nearly $1.5 million through their CEF to build educational space in a new Chapter House. Alpha Chapter has raised over $250,000 to provide scholarships to Brothers. The CEF can only be used for members of the Chapter.
Each year Alumni and Actives work together to determine how to best spend the money. CEFs help provide local scholarships, send Brothers to educational programs and build or renovate educational space in Chapter Houses. In the 201213 academic year CEFs provided $484,550 in grants and scholarships.
Chi Phi recognizes that to build better men, we must build better Chapters. Chapter strength has a direct impact on the quality of the undergraduate experience, stated Grand Alpha Jim Soderquist, Alpha 1967.
Many Alumni often ask, why should I make a gift to my Chapters Chapter Excellence Fund when I can make a gift directly to my Chapter or alma mater? There are four key reasons:
- Your gift will be handled by responsible Trustees to ensure the money is used for its intended purposed and invested wisely.
- Your gift establishes a long-term reserve for your Chapter to draw upon for educational purposes and future house construction and renovation loans.
- Your gift is not held hostage or subject to intense bureaucracy the way it might be if it is subject to fickle rules and management styles of changing Alumni Advisors or university administrators.
- Your gift is tax-deductible. Gifts to a chapter house corporation or Alumni Associations do not enjoy similar tax benefits.
The Chi Phi Educational Trust is committed to assisting each Chapter build their CEF through the Changing Lives Campaign. We have already exceeded the $2.1 Million goal for Chapter Excellence Funds set through the Changing Lives Campaign,” explained Senior Director of Development Elizabeth Knott. “But we know the impact a CEF can have on the success of a Chapter. The Trust is committed to helping all Chapters raise at least $25,000 for their CEF.”
Chapters interested in learning more about how they can work with the Educational Trust and Changing Lives Campaign to expand their local fundraising efforts should contact Senior Director of Development Elizabeth Knott at 800.849.1824 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Features of a Chapter Excellence Fund
$5,000 – minimum balance to begin spending
501(c)(3) IRS section governing the CEF and tax-deductible advantages provided to CEF donors
5.0% – annual fund balance available for spending
2.5% – annual administrative fee
5.0% – per donation administration fee
May 31 deadline to make spending recommendations to the Trust
$2,170,032 raised for Chapter Excellence through the Changing Lives Campaign, exceeding the original goal by $70,000.