When SigEps come together around a common goal, amazing things often happen. And the 2020 edition of Founders Day of Giving — super-sized over two days, Nov. 1-2 — was a shining example of that collective success. 2,752 brothers and friends came together for the celebration, with an incredible outcome: $552,597 raised for the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation’s Annual Fund. This outstanding show of support will give our undergraduates the critical resources they need to thrive in college, even amidst a pandemic. Because of Founders Day of Giving, more men will be able to experience the life-changing programs that SigEp provides.
Founders Day of Giving began in 2016 as an opportunity for SigEp brothers and friends to celebrate the Fraternity’s origins and enable the founders’ vision to flourish in our chapters today. Since raising $61,000 in 2016, more and more brothers have joined in to fuel exponential growth year-over-year. It has become an important element in the Fraternity’s efforts to provide relevant, valuable programming to our undergraduates.
National Advancement Council Chairman Tom Barton, Loras ’89, explained why raising money for the Annual Fund is so important. “We intentionally under-charge our undergraduate brothers by more than a million dollars a year of what it really takes to run a Fraternity. We fundraise to keep our undergraduates’ cost down, so more men can benefit from SigEp.”
As the event approached, Brother Barton issued a challenge: “How good could we be?” Over the two days of the event — extended because of the unique needs of 2020 — the world would find out. By the end of Nov. 1, brothers and friends had blown past our goal of $350,000 with a full day to go.
Founders Day isn’t just about the amount of money raised — it’s a day of fun and celebration while making an impact. More than 50 team captains, who’d signed on prior to the day in a new initiative this year, motivated their chapter brothers to give. The efforts of these team captains propelled their chapters forward to success in the Chapter Challenge, which recognizes the chapter with the most donors and the chapter that raises the most. Leading up to Founders Day and throughout both days of the event, chapters battled to engage more brothers and outdo one another in their generosity.
When the dust settled, Tennessee Gamma at East Tennessee State finished #1 with $24,318 raised, earning the Founders Day of Giving championship belt — due largely to the efforts of team captains Mike, East Tennessee ’81, and Barb Elliott. Meanwhile, Michigan Theta at Lawrence Tech, led by captain Sam Moschelli, Lawrence Tech ’00, topped the final donor leaderboard with an even 300 donors; its name will be engraved on the Founders Day of Giving trophy and its flag flown over SigEp Headquarters in Richmond. You can view the full Top 25 leaderboards, and previous year’s winners, here.
As the world adapts to a new normal of COVID-19, the dollars raised on Founders Day give SigEp the ability to provide relevant and valuable opportunities for our men. These efforts include:
- A new, enhanced Balanced Man Program App to help our chapter leaders deliver life-changing personal growth and development to each undergraduate brother, even if their campus has gone “virtual.”
- On-demand career coaching by alumni, available to all undergraduates.
- Monthly, interactive training for chapter executive officers that connects them with their peers, empowering them to problem-solve together.
- Rolling virtual sessions of our Ruck Leadership Institute that engage hundreds of undergraduates, more than quadrupling its typical reach and impact.
- Weekly coaching calls from staff with chapter leaders and volunteers to support and empower them to successfully navigate the unique circumstances facing their campus communities.
Founders Day of Giving represents an outpouring of support for these initiatives that will continue to cement the SigEp experience as one that is far and away better than anything else on college campuses. And as 13,000 SigEps in college go home to their families and friends on break, they’ll be able to share how the Fraternity was a source of strength this semester — and how they’re looking forward to the spring semester because of the support of so many brothers and friends around the world.
Want to make a gift to the Fraternity’s Annual Fund and support SigEp undergraduates before the end of 2020? Click here.
Don’t forget! Under the CARES Act, the federal government is incentivizing charitable giving before the end of 2020. If you’re itemizing, there is no limit on the amount of tax-deductible charitable donations. And if you’re taking the standard deduction, $300 in 2020 charitable donations are tax-deductible.