In 2021, the Grand Chapter Conclave voted to convey all undergraduate chapter investment fund (CIF) assets to the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation to support various educational initiatives and advance SigEp’s learning community vision. CIFs provide access to the following types of grants:
- Housing facilities, land, furniture and fixtures for the educational portions of a chapter facility
- Capital improvements to the educational portions of a chapter facility
- Equipment to facilitate learning
- Venue or facility rental, when used for educational purposes
- SigEp Learning Community events and programming
- Regional Director & Volunteer Specialist service costs
- Resident Scholar stipends or honorariums
- Registration fees for SigEp programs and events, e.g. Ruck, Conclave, etc.
- Lodging and transportation costs for SigEp programs and events, e.g. Ruck, Conclave, etc.
- BMP programming and events
- AVC/Mentor Committee sponsored retreats and programming activities
- Chapter leadership retreat and related officer transition activities which are educational in nature
- Purchase of SigEp Ritual equipment.
Instructions for AVCs: The chapter president and AVC president should collaborate to agree on the purpose and need for disbursement. Then, the AVC president can complete requests via mySigEp. Instructions to request funds can be found here.
Below are additional frequently asked questions:
Why did these funds move to the Foundation?
These funds are still chapters’ funds, and the chapter has access to them for even broader use than before. Now that chapter investment funds (CIFs) are housed under the SigEp Educational Foundation, chapters can now use CIF funds for educational purposes, such as SigEp Learning Community events and programs, Balanced Man Programming, resident scholar stipends, registration and travel costs for SigEp leadership programs, and chapter leadership retreats. For housed chapters, improvements, equipment and maintenance of educational portions of a chapter facility, or rental fees for educational purposes also qualify if the chapter’s AVC has an opinion letter executed.
Prior to the transition to the Educational Foundation, many chapters struggled with tax filing and compliance requirements for their CIF, which could incur significant tax penalties for the chapter. So in addition to the ability to use CIF funds for educational purposes, this undergraduate-led, Conclave-legislated transition lessens the complexity of each chapter’s annual tax filing and positions the Headquarters staff to provide more financial services support to chapters. Funds were transferred on Dec. 31, 2021.
How and when did this change happen?
At the 57th Grand Chapter Conclave, SigEp’s legislative delegates passed Resolution 18, conveying undergraduate CIF assets to the SigEp Educational Foundation. The Conclave resolution required that the Headquarters staff draft a fund agreement and share it with chapter and AVC leaders. That fund agreement can be found here and describes the unique purposes for the funds.
How can we request a disbursement of these funds?
The AVC President and Chapter President will co-sign this form developed by the staff to access a distribution from the new CIF endowment fund.
What uses are not qualified?
- Non-educational recruitment events
- Tuition scholarships
- Scholarships are omitted because they are the easiest thing to raise funds for and chapters may easily default to requesting scholarship money, which undermines the intention of increasing focus on programming enhancements that affect member recruitment and retention.
Who determines whether a chapter submission qualifies for a grant?
Staff will determine whether a chapter’s submission is educational in nature and meets the qualifications so as to not jeopardize the Foundation’s 501c3 status with the IRS.
Can anyone donate to contribute to the CIF?
While we would certainly promote alumni contributions to support similar objectives, to avoid
accounting complexities we recommend donors utilize or create other funds for voluntary contributions. This ensures the SigEp Educational Foundation is able to do two things:
- Provide excellent donor-centric stewardship and ensure donor intent is not compromised by any future Grand Chapter changes to the structure of these funds.
- Retain the Foundation’s ability to charge minimal fees to endowment funds, because of accounting processes can be streamlined since required undergraduate contributions are not “mixed” with other volunteer contributions in a single fund.
What fees are applied to a Chapter CIF Endowment Fund?
The Foundation is waiving its typical program allocation fee of 8% for all initial and future contributions by chapters to their CIF Endowment Fund.
The Foundation will utilize its standard invested endowment fund expense policies which include two fees: a .50% fee utilized to pay for managing the fund and the actual fee of the Foundation's investment manager.