The first board of trustees meeting for the newly formed LiveLikeLou Foundation was held February 27–28 at Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters in Oxford, Ohio. It was a very exciting moment in the life of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s longtime fight against ALS. Officers were elected, bylaws adopted, and major commitments were made to ‘Leave ALS Better Than We Found It.’ The challenge to raise $4 Million in 1848 Days that was announced in January guided the conversations and decisions.
Newly elected board members include WL Gray, Texas Christian ’70, chairman; Gaylon Morris, Southwestern ’87, vice chairman; Greyson Geiler, Nebraska ’93, treasurer; Director of The LiveLikeLou Foundation Suzanne Alexander, secretary; and Chris Brussalis, Allegheny ’87, member-at-large.
The board adopted its statements of purpose for The LiveLikeLou Foundation:
- Raise awareness of ALS
- Raise funds to support ALS patients and their families
- Raise funds for a treatment or a cure
Board members reviewed the impact Phi Delts have already had on the disease over the past several decades. Millions have been raised through Iron Phi efforts and philanthropic events for patient care and research to find a cure, and thousands of volunteer hours have been dedicated to ALS families. With the challenge to raise $4 Million in 1848 Days before them, the board agreed that the Fraternity’s impact on ALS would continue to grow.
A new ‘Ideal Chapter Engagement’ model clarified the objectives for Phi Delta Theta chapter-level support to include:
- $100/man to be raised each year through philanthropic events
- 10% of a chapter’s undergraduate members to become Iron Phis each year
- Participation in The LiveLikeLou Foundation’s ‘Adopt and Serve an ALS Family’ program to be rolled out at a later date
Engaging alumni and alumni clubs in these endeavors will also be a part of the strategy to increase the Fraternity’s impact on ALS.
Increasing the Impact That Phi Delta Theta Has on ALS Starts Now!
The LiveLikeLou Foundation board made some very exciting financial and service commitments that will create immediate impact.
Supporting ALS patients and their families:
- The LiveLikeLou Foundation board made a three-year, $60,000 pledge to Hope Loves Company, a free-of-charge regional summer camp program. Hope Love Company camps are designed for the children of ALS families, delivering much-needed summer fun as well as a special curriculum for the kids who often must serve as caregivers in addition to living with the stigma and economic challenges of ALS.
- Board members committed to identify three to five brothers to volunteer at each of the five Hope Loves Company summer camps this year:
- April 20–22 – Circle F Dude Ranch, Florida
- May 18–20 – Camp HLC at Fairview Lake YMCA, New Jersey
- June 17–23 – Camp HLC at Flat Rock River YMCA, Indiana
- August 17–19 – Camp HLC at Frank A. Day YMCA, Massachusetts
- November 16–18 – Camp HLC at YMCA Camp Campbell, California
To learn more about The LiveLikeLou Foundation’s commitment to Hopes Loves Company or to apply for a volunteer opportunity, visit this link.
- The LiveLikeLou Foundation will expand its ‘Iron Horse Scholarship’ program to provide financial scholarships for the post-secondary education expenses of any child or dependent of ALS families throughout the United States and Canada. This will be the only scholarship program of its kind, providing real financial relief to ALS families and enabling young adults to realize their dreams of going to school despite the extreme expense of the disease. The application process for Iron Horse Scholarships will be introduced in Spring 2019.
Supporting research for a treatment or a cure:
Finally, the board made significant commitments to ALS research that will have a lasting impact on everyone’s hopes for a treatment or a cure:
- In fall 2018, The LiveLikeLou Foundation will host the ‘LiveLikeLou Emerging ALS Investigators Forum’ hosted by Dr. Chris Donnelly from the LiveLikeLou Center for ALS Research at The University of Pittsburgh. The Forum will be an invitation-only and closed door event where 30 investigators from institutions across the United State will share their yet unpublished best ideas for better understanding ALS. These types of events are rare and vital in the disease research process, because most researchers are confined to their institutions and financially restricted from attending such events.
- Throughout 2018, a committee will work to propose a long-term vision for ALS research by building relationships with four to six institutions around the country to receive significant support from The LiveLikeLou Foundation and Phi Delta Theta, with a focus on attracting and sustaining young researchers to the field.
Meet The LiveLikeLou Foundation Board of Trustees:
We asked members of The LiveLikeLou Foundation Board for their thoughts about their philanthropic experience as an undergraduate and about volunteering for The LiveLikeLou Foundation today.
WL Gray, Texas Christian ’70, chairman of the board
“As a member of the Texas Zeta Chapter (Texas Christian) we had an annual community service week where we volunteered for various charitable events. We always came away with a great feeling that we’d helped others. I’m very excited to bring more visibility to this horrific disease and its effects on patients and their families—to not only members of Phi Delta Theta but also to the general public—so we can succeed in making a difference in peoples’ lives.”
Gaylon Morris, Southwestern ’87, vice chairman
“I don’t recall us having any major chapter philanthropic activities when I was an undergraduate. Most philanthropy at that time was associated with individual efforts or was more community service-oriented. For instance, we adopted a stretch of highway and sponsored a toy drive for a local youth home. This role offers me a unique opportunity to give back to the Fraternity in a more personal way than I have previously, and I can draw on my professional experience working to advance health policy and scientific research in both the public and private sector. ALS is an insidious disease for which there is no known cure and treatments are limited. Tremendous strides are being made in neuroscience research and the Phi Delta Theta/LiveLikeLou Foundation partnership offers great potential to make a significant difference.”
Greyson Geiler, Nebraska ’93, treasurer
“As an undergraduate, I was philanthropy chairman for one semester and volunteered for ALS during other semesters as well. I have continued to volunteer for ALS, even serving on the board of directors of the local association. With The LiveLikeLou Foundation we are a small group making important decisions for assisting afflicted families as well as funding cutting-edge research. We are truly on the front lines of the fight against ALS! There is nothing worse on this planet than ALS, and as Phis, if we can make a difference in ALS, the nature of the disease may lead to progress in defeating other degenerative diseases. As a Fraternity, that is a noble cause!”
Suzanne Alexander, director of The LiveLikeLou Foundation, secretary
“I wasn’t a member of the Greek community as an undergraduate and wasn’t exposed to philanthropy until I was in my thirties. I am so impressed by the Phi Delta Theta culture to focus on philanthropy with volunteering and raising money for important causes. This focus will make the world a better place for future generations! As for working with The LiveLikeLou Foundation— I never imagined the grassroots effort my husband Neil and I started in Pittsburgh would become a national foundation and the focus of his Fraternity’s philanthropic efforts. Neil would be so proud and grateful to see the brotherhood working so hard to make a difference for ALS—the disease that took his life.”
Chris Brussalis, Allegheny ’87, member-at-large
“As an undergraduate, we typically performed service volunteer work in our local community. My experience then was nothing like the opportunity that our undergraduate Phis have today. I have had the opportunity to serve on dozens of boards at the regional, national, and corporate levels. Serving on The LiveLikeLou Foundation board provides a unique opportunity to mix two of my passions. I can lend my talents to the fight to find a treatment and cure for this devastating disease, named after our brother Lou Gehrig, while having an opportunity to work with my talented and dedicated brothers as we mobilize to fund research and improve the quality of life of ALS families. ALS is a tragic disease that can affect anyone, really at any time in his or her life. It not only destroys the individual afflicted but their entire family. What we do as a Fraternity to fight for a treatment and cure and to improve the quality of life for ALS patients and their families can have tremendous and lasting impact.”