Organization Awards of Distinction

The Foundation for Fraternal Excellence Awards of Distinction provide the fraternal foundation community an annual opportunity to recognize organizations excelling and innovating in a particular area. Fraternal foundations are often known as the “heart” of our organizations and provide financial support to a variety of philanthropic causes as well as their collegiate and alumni members/local communities. It is an important responsibility of the FFE to recognize this critical role fraternal foundations play and the excellent work produced by our organizations. We also strive to recognize the accomplishments, contributions and influence of the individual men and women who have made a difference in interfraternal fundraising and without whom our industry would not be what it is today.

2021 Honorees

BEST USE OF A FOUNDATION GRANT

Pi Beta Phi Foundation

Each year, Pi Phi organizes grants to local organizations in our communities across North America through First Book, a nonprofit that works with publishers to provide educators access to deeply discounted, to provide children with access to books. On top of the $157,000 grant Pi Phi planned to give in 2020 (resulting in 55,515+ books), Pi Phi granted an additional $480,000 specifically for COVID-19 relief from The Literacy Fund, which supports Pi Phi’s reading initiatives. With those dollars, 415,291 additional books were provided to children in need. Thanks in part to Pi Phi’s grant, books were able to reach an estimated 43,234+ kids, providing immediate relief during a time of complete disruption of our typical educational channels in the United States.

 

BEST USE OF A FOUNDATION GRANT

Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation

In response to Kappa Kappa Gamma’s strategic initiative of increasing engagement and education opportunities for alumnae, as well as our current economy and high unemployment rates as a result of COVID-19, Kappa created CareerAcademy. This program is targeted to young professionals and women changing career paths or re-entering the workforce. The competencies were shared by leadership experts and professional Kappas who have career lessons to share. Through live events, online courses, printable resources, and self-paced podcasts, Career Academy focuses on the five topics while promoting professional development through shared stories of other women’s career successes, obstacles, and tips and tricks for getting started orc ontinuing a career journey.

BEST DEVELOPMENT EFFORT IN ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation

In effort to raise unrestricted dollars while also honoring the 90th anniversary of their historic headquarters building, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation launched a campaign that resonated with chapters as well as individual donors, and the response from donors was sensational. The campaign far exceeded the initial $150,000 goal by raising $420,000 with a total of 1,950 donors, including 400 new donors. The Shrine of Minerva campaign helped the SAE Foundation achieve their most successful year on record in addition to honoring the building, their ritual, immortalizing brothers on the Temple grounds, and supporting undergraduates.

BEST STEWARDSHIP EFFORT

Tau Kappa Epsilon Foundation

The TKE Foundation introduced monthly, peer-to-peer stewardship opportunities through an ambassador program, which saw a dramatic, 155%, increase in thank you messages sent – totaling over 1,700 personalized messages. The Ambassador program spread the organization’s mission through various channels and re-engaged approximately 600 LYBUNT (a donor who gave Last Year, But Unfortunately Not This year) and SYBUNT (Some year but not this year) donors. This represents a 155.11% growth in the number of stewardship messages sent by the group with the top 14% of contributors and gifts being recognizes by Ambassadors.

BEST COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

Phi Mu Foundation

When the pandemic shifted Phi Mu’s convention and campaign launch plans, they discovered opportunities to involve social media influencers. The One Destiny Campaign is a comprehensive, mission-driven fundraising campaign that coordinates the Foundation’s five fundraising priorities into one strategic effort. The 450 collegiate and alumna team helped Phi Mu reach 3,477 members and friends during the live streaming campaign launch event on YouTube and Facebook with the recording reaching 12,377 in the first 12 hours, whereas the in-person would’ve only gathered about 700 members.

BEST COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

Delta Delta Delta Foundation

The Delta Delta Delta Foundation encouraged members to stay active while trying to stay connected during the time of social distancing by logging 132 miles between April and their Founders’ Day in November 2020. To help track progress, view their chapter’s collective progress, and individual leaderboards by member and state, Tri Delta created a website landing page for the mileage—this was great engagement with the members. For additional engagement, they created “Walking Wednesday” where they took to social media to highlight a song, podcast, activities and different ways for members to get their steps in. The initial goal was to have a total of 132,000 organizational miles, which they achieved by September!

BEST MAJOR GIFTS DEVELOPMENT EFFORT

Kappa Alpha Theta

To honor their Sesquicentennial, the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation developed the 150 Giving Clubs at $15,000, $1,500, and $150 giving levels. This gave donors the opportunity to support both initiatives in the way most meaningful to them and allowed the Foundation to position major gifts received to inspire further giving. This year, the foundation quadrupled the number of $15,000 gifts.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation

Every organization has allies outside of their own membership, but how many utilize these allies to further their fundraising goals? The Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation used the support of nonmembers to reach their goal of 1,000 donors at $1,000 per year or more. Their nonmember giving society, Rose Circle of the Crimson and Gold, has monthly planning and progress calls led by these volunteers and bi-weekly new member reports so the new members are appropriately thanked by staff and volunteers.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

Zeta Beta Tau Foundation

This idea developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since in-person identification, cultivation and solicitation was suspended, ZBT developed 13 virtual programs with 1,635 attendees, an average of 126 per program! Programs assisted undergraduate and alumni members maximizing their personal development and prepare them to be leaders of society. The programs have also allowed the Foundation to engage high profile alumni who serve as panelists and moderators.

2020 Honorees

BEST CAMPAIGN/EFFORT IN SUPPORT OF AN OUTSIDE PHILANTHROPY

Alpha Delta Pi Foundation

Alpha Delta Pi is cited as a model partner due to the group’s overall long-term donations of time, unrestricted financial support and in-kind contributions. In 2019, this fraternal foundation celebrated the anniversary of their 40-year partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities by expanding, adding a new endowment to promote collegiate chapter participation as part of their larger $10 million We Believe capital campaign. The foundation was able to make five inaugural grants totaling $25,000 to local Ronald McDonald houses.

BEST USE OF A FOUNDATION GRANT

Alpha Chi Omega Foundation

A strong partnership between the fraternity and foundation has resulted in widespread philanthropic dedication across approximately 150 collegiate chapters. The Alpha Chi Omega Foundation has granted more than $1.2 million to promote domestic violence awareness education and advocacy, including a national partnership with RAINN and ongoing programmatic support. More than 4,100 student attendees at 36 chapters received a 4-hour intensive program on domestic violence awareness and approximately 300 packages of materials for tabling and awareness were provided to collegiate chapters.

BEST DEVELOPMENT EFFORT IN ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation

As part of a campaign to raise $1 million in unrestricted funds yearly, Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation leaders reframed an existing giving society to celebrate the $1,000 plus contributions. Starting in the first year of the program, the Crimson & Gold Society had 270 members; by this year, the fourth of the campaign, the foundation is on pace to reach 800 society members. The organization’s investment in a multi-tiered outreach strategy has resulted in $3.3 million raised total with 80% of donors renewing year-over-year.

BEST STEWARDSHIP EFFORT

Tri Sigma Foundation

The Tri Sigma Foundation thinks outside of the box in creating channels to help their donors feel a sense of love and gratitude. Members of the Steadfast Giving Club who missed the 2019 convention each received a t-shirt, lanyard, booklet, socks and a hand-written thank you note in the mail less than three weeks after the event – generating an emotional connection and celebrating the individual’s commitment.

BEST STEWARDSHIP EFFORT

Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation

Kappa Alpha Order successfully transitioned a reception for members of a high-level giving society to a virtual event in less than three weeks time. The foundation hosted video-streamed remarks from national leaders, a virtual tour of the headquarters building and grounds and engaged patrons with an online toast. Initial expectations were for about 60 attendees, but the Crimson & Gold Society and 1865 Trust Virtual Reception ended up with 150 live participants, including one alumnus who made a $10,000 bequest the following day.

BEST COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

Beta Theta Pi Foundation

Beta Theta Pi invested in celebrating the milestone anniversary of member initiations for 25-, 50- and 75-year brothers, annually reaching about 4,000 men. Each member receives a formal package with congratulatory letter and certificate; 75-year members also receive a commemorative pin. Besides the mailed package, volunteers and current donors receive a personal phone call from a foundation staff member.

BEST MAJOR GIFTS DEVELOPMENT EFFORT

Pi Beta Phi Foundation

This impressive major gifts campaign shined as part of the Pi Beta Phi 150th anniversary celebration. An initial internal goal of $10 million was quickly increased to a public $28 million goal, which was ultimately surpassed. The foundation’s leadership worked to ensure each member and chapter learned the importance of organizational philanthropy and advocacy, and as such reached 7,000 donors over four years.

BEST PLANNED GIVING EFFORT

Beta Theta Pi Foundation

Beta Theta Pi partnered with Freewill.com, an online resource which allows users to create legal wills in a matter of minutes. Freewill’s portal includes an option for members of the fraternity to establish a planned gift. In April 2019, the service was launched through a highly strategized communication plan utilizing email, print, web, and direct mail. In the following year the foundation surpassed its initial goals, with more than 1,000 brothers visiting the webpage, 171 creating a will and 29 committing to the foundation in their plan, resulting in an estimated $1.7 million in new planned gifts.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

Phi Delta Theta Foundation

The leadership at Phi Delta Theta challenged traditional processes and translated careful strategic planning into development impact. The foundation removed all references to chapter-specific giving from their communications with potential donors and this mindset has changed the giving culture to one grounded in a belief of supporting the greater good of the fraternity leading into a 2030 strategic initiative and related capital campaign. Tactically, the foundation is creating giving options linked to the fraternity’s strategic plan, which was influenced by a foundation feasibility assessment and a bottom-up review of the organization by the staff.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

Tau Kappa Epsilon Foundation

Created earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tau Kappa Epsilon created an innovative way to raise funds for affected students. A unique new Day of Giving campaign generated over $100,000, more than double the initial goal, allowing the Foundation ultimately to establish over $70,000 for need-based scholarships. This achievement was reached through a benefit concert over Facebook and Instagram Live that generated $13,000 in contributions during the live program — but also sparked a $50,000 matching gift.

2019 Honorees

BEST COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

Delta Delta Delta Foundation

The Our Kind of Kind campaign was launched at the Tri Delta convention in 2018 and has been an ongoing awareness campaign that permeated all aspects of the organization. The movement is built around honoring those sisters who are kind to each other and included a Founders’ Day appeal to pass kindness along to your sisters. Direct mail appeals during this time raised $65,778, and $20,288 was raised online just during the Founder’s Day time frame. The cost of this campaign was tied to the regular direct mail budget. Since this effort was highly promoted through the Fraternity, the Foundation did not have to invest many extra resources, simply leveraging the marketing and other collateral being created already.

BEST DEVELOPMENT EFFORT IN ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

Delta Gamma Foundation

For more than 10 years, the Delta Gamma Foundation has held a fundraising campaign around Convention. The “Garden of Giving” was an opportunity for attendees to support the Foundation and share a tribute with someone special. This effort typically raised less than $100,000 and included a competition between the eight Delta Gamma regions. In 2018, this campaign was overhauled, renamed “Regional Race,” and incorporated a digitally driven campaign, matching gifts, and enlisted the help of Regional Race ambassadors to invite those not attending Convention to participate. The foundation raise over $275,000 from more than 800 donors with 500 gifts coming from non-attendees.

FarmHouse Foundation

The FarmHouse Excellence Fund is a comprehensive rebranding and alignment of their previous Annual Fund in order to cultivate new unrestricted financial support. The Foundation set a goal to raise $1.3 million per year, with a stretch goal to generate $5.2 million over the next four years. In total, the FH Foundation raised more than $3.8 million. For FY 2018-19 the Foundation raised $790,172 in new gifts and pledge commitments for the Foundation’s FH Excellence Fund. For the FH Excellence Fund, while they didn’t meet the $1.3 million goal for FY 18-19, which was a significant stretch goal, they raised the most ever in unrestricted giving and double from last fiscal year.

BEST STEWARDSHIP EFFORT

Beta Theta Pi Foundation

The Beta Theta Pi Foundation mails approximately 200 named fund stewardship packets annually. The newly redesigned packet conveys appreciation, shares important performance updates, and, most importantly, demonstrates how each donor’s gift is making a transformational difference for today’s young Men of Principle. To accomplish this, the Beta Theta Pi staff designed a lively, full-color folder with six featured photos strategically selected to provide visual context to the donor. Finally, personalized thank you letters written by student beneficiaries are included in each stewardship packet and express the fund’s direct impact in the recipient’s own words.

BEST USE OF A FOUNDATION GRANT

FarmHouse Foundation

As a result of a new endowment fund with the foundation, FarmHouse Fraternity, Inc., created its first Director of Education and Leadership Development position. This is the first Fraternity staff position fully funded by the FarmHouse Foundation. This new role advances the Fraternity’s educational mission through existing and future leadership conferences, new member and total member education, risk prevention, chapter-based educational programming, volunteer training and staff development.

BEST USE OF A FOUNDATION GRANT

Delta Sigma Phi Foundation

Read full details on the Our Brothers. Our Future. campaign on the FFE blog.

BEST MAJOR GIFTS DEVELOPMENT EFFORT

Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation

Read full details on the Giving Tuesday launch of the Theta Forever campaign on the FFE blog.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

The Foundation Chapter of Theta Chi

Prior to the 2018 Theta Chi convention, the Foundation Chapter’s leadership was in need of a tasteful yet significant way to put lifetime giving and planned giving in the spotlight. The idea was born to create a portable — and huge! — donor wall that can be transported. These donor walls made the conversation about giving much less taboo. Alumni were excited to see their names on the banner. Many increased their support in order to match a friend. Countless others made immediate gifts in order to be on the donor wall at the next Convention. This small investment netted over $500,000 in returns.

2018 Honorees

BEST PLANNED GIVING EFFORT

Beta Theta Pi Foundation

The refresh of the Bridge Builder Society included documenting all internal and external processes/strategies aimed at cultivating and securing more planned gifts. In partnering with Gabriel Group, a survey was mailed to roughly 5,000 planned giving prospects. The foundation received 904 survey responses for an 18.04% response rate, which was well above the 10% average response rate for this type of survey.

BEST DEVELOPMENT EFFORT IN ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

Alpha Delta Pi Foundation

Read full details on the We Believe campaign on the FFE blog.

BEST DEVELOPMENT EFFORT IN ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation

Read full details on the Rose McGill Grants Disaster Relief Fund on the FFE blog.

BEST COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

Alpha Chi Omega Foundation

Since its launch in 2015, the Leadership Circle program has recognized donors who give $1,000 or more in unrestricted gifts annually. The purpose of this program is to develop members who are informed, connected and engaged. Foundation staff hosts quarterly webinars for donors to hear from fraternity and foundation leaders about various topics relevant to the Alpha Chi Omega and fraternal experience. Donors also receive an e-newsletter three times a year with impact stories and are invited to join a closed Facebook group where Foundation-supported programs like Leadership Academy are live-streamed.

BEST COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

Delta Tau Delta Educational Foundation

The goal of Foundation Fridays video updates was to create a multi-channel platform to reach a variety of audiences and to build a better understanding of what the foundation does to support the Fraternity and its undergraduates among our audiences. Live broadcasts on Facebook and Twitter were hosted with messages tailored to the age ranges who generally use those vehicles.

BEST STEWARDSHIP EFFORT

FarmHouse Foundation

The FarmHouse Leadership Institute officer training program is fully funded the foundation. Undergraduate attendees attend at no personal cost. In 2018, FLI was expanded to six officers per chapter. This generosity deserves a special stewardship effort, so the Foundation created a specific set of materials for FLI donors.

BEST USE OF A FOUNDATION GRANT

Delta Gamma Foundation

The Hope Serving: Service Learning Experience was created to offer a service learning program connected to Delta Gamma’s Service for Sight mission to collegian and alumnae members. The aid to the blind or visually impaired community has been at the heart of Delta Gamma’s service work since 1936, when Ruth Billow, a member from the Eta chapter at the University of Akron who was blind, made an impassioned plea to her sisters to adopt sight conservation and aid to the blind as our international philanthropy.

BEST CAMPAIGN/PROGRAM IN SUPPORT OF AN OUTSIDE PHILANTHROPY

Delta Gamma Foundation

Read full details on the Service For Sight chapter giving program on the FFE blog.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

Beta Theta Pi Foundation

In the aftermath of the tragic death of Tim Piazza in May 2017, the foundation took the proactive strategy of calling 325 key donors to simply listen and reflect brother to brother on the Penn State tragedy. In the long run our mission to develop men of principle for a principled life is strengthened when we can have honest and authentic dialogue with our donors regardless of how tough it may be.

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT IDEA

Delta Chi Educational Foundation

With a lofty #GivingTuesday goal of $60,000, the development team took a fresh and authentic approach to motivate donors through email and social media. Delta Chi identified seven audience segments and wrote custom content for 13 different emails. They planned to capitalize on the momentum generated from 2017 to launch a Day of Giving in 2018.

BEST MAJOR GIFTS DEVELOPMENT EFFORT

Chi Omega Foundation