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The Phi Delta Theta Foundation: For Every Phi — And Why That Matters


LogoLgcBy Joan Schiml, Director of Annual Giving

Established in 1958, the Phi Delta Theta Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Fraternity, meaning that its purpose is to engage alumni and friends of Phi Delta Theta in sharing their time, talent or treasure on behalf of current and future Phi Delts.

What does it mean to give a gift of time?

Although not tax deductible, giving time to the Fraternity is of great value.  Serving in a volunteer leadership capacity, organizing a chapter service event, or helping a Brother through a difficult day are all examples of sharing your resource of time.

What does it mean to give a gift of talent?

Giving a gift of talent means that a person shares a skill he has without receiving the revenue traditionally associated with his work.  This type of gift is often referred to as “pro bono” work and may be tax deductible under circumstances deemed appropriate by the IRS.

Examples of this type of giving are: using your engineering degree to design a water pump for a village without water in Africa, using your business degree to serve on the board of a local non-profit, or using your medical degree to provide medical care to an underserved population.

What does it mean to give a gift of treasure?

Fully tax deductible when given to a non-profit with a 501(c)(3) tax status, a gift of treasure is literally the giving of money, property, or other securities such as stock.  Gifts of treasure can also be made by leaving a portion of an estate in your will.

While the tax benefits associated with the giving of treasure are significant, sociological studies on why people give indicate that this is not a key motivator.  The top two motivators are belief in the mission of the organization and civic pride.

The work of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation benefits all chapters in North America and that makes the Fraternity as a whole stronger and more competitive.

While it is natural for undergraduates and alumni to feel fiercely connected to their alma mater chapters, the reality of the Greek market place is that to be successful, a Fraternity needs to show impact on a large, cohesive scale.  Being able to offer leadership development programs such as the Presidents Leadership Conference and Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute to all Phis is integral to the success of the Fraternity as a whole.  Offering scholarships to students based on merit and need and not on chapter affiliation is also essential.  Having strong central programs which shape undergraduates into leaders also gives the Fraternity the leverage it needs to influence the direction of the future of all Greek organizations through advocacy on Capitol Hill and among peer professional groups as well.

Ways to give treasure to the Foundation:

Phi Delta Theta Annual Fund.

The Phi Delta Theta Annual Fund is the yearly campaign to raise dollars that will be used in the current year in support of activities and expenses incurred.  About $1 million is raised each year at an average gift size of $100.  That means impact is made through the efforts of many people giving at a level that is comfortable for them.

Knights of Pallas.

The Knights of Pallas is the undergraduate giving program in support of the Phi Delta Theta Annual Fund.  Each year, students make gifts of either $18.48 or $30.  The chapter that reaches 100% participation first wins a 3’ statue of a knight to display in their chapter house.  In 2012, $48,000 was raised making Phi Delt undergrads leaders among other Greek student giving programs.

Building on the Bond

This is the fundraising campaign to raise $20 million by December 2020.  All gifts will be directed to the Leadership Academy, student scholarships and the infrastructure necessary to sustain the robust growth of the Fraternity.  In short, the donors who give to Building on the Bond (usually in amounts of $50,000 or more) will set Phi Delta Theta squarely on the path to becoming the best version of itself.

Living Bond Society

The Living Bond Society is the giving club for those who name the Fraternity in their will or estate plan.  In 2012, over $400,000 has been given by members as they have entered Chapter Grand. The majority of these donors wish to set up scholarship funds with their gifts.

Phis are known for their loyalty and pride.  Sharing your resources of time, talent or treasure is one way to show your loyalty and pride.  It also exemplifies the Fraternity motto: “We enjoy life by the help and society of others.”

Ten Things You Can Do To Be Philanthropic Within Phi Delta Theta

  1. Make a gift to the Phi Delta Theta annual fund.
  2. Volunteer to visit Phi Delt donors in your area and thank them for their support.
  3. Become an Iron Phi by accomplishing an athletic goal and raising $1,000 in support of The ALS Association and the Phi Delta Theta Foundation in the process.
  4. Organize a day of service with undergraduate members and alumni in your area.
  5. Serve in a volunteer leadership capacity (General Council, Province President, CAB, etc.).
  6. Endow a Whole Man Scholarship.
  7. Join Knights of Pallas, the undergraduate giving program.
  8. Send a thank you note to the donor(s) who funded the scholarship you received.
  9. Write an article for The Scroll about how giving of time, talent or treasure is an expression of the cardinal principles.
  10. When you notice one of your Brothers in need, do not ignore him.  Ask yourself, “What can I do to help?”  Then do it.