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.

Philanthropy In The Phi Delt World – What It Looks Like And What You Can Do To Be A Part Of It

joan_schimlBy Joan Schiml, Director of Annual Giving, Phi Delta Theta Foundation

In this blog series, we’ll look at the world of philanthropy (aka — giving away your time, talent and treasure). Both the United States and Canada have strong histories of generosity toward others. In 2010, $211.8 billion was given away by Americans and Canadians gave away $10.6 billion (individuals only).  Key words: given away. Over $222 BILLION dollars that people could have spent on personal items or saved in a bank or invested in the stock market were given away to a person or organization in need.

In the Greek community, this trend toward generosity is also strong. Last year, overall giving in the U.S. grew by just 4% and has not yet returned to pre-recession levels. Within the Greek community, giving grew by 11%, with the average Phi Delt supporting six organizations or causes.

But, why? At a time when resources are tight, why is giving on the rise?

If we look at the top ten reasons people give, it may surprise you that it is not at all about receiving something tangible or a tax benefit. It is about strengthening an organization that means a lot to them. In short, giving stems from the heart, not the mind.

The top ten reasons people give are:

  1. Belief in the mission of the organization.
  2. Civic pride.
  3. Organization is fiscally sound and manages its money well.
  4. High regard for volunteer leadership.
  5. High regard for the professional staff.
  6. High regard for the organization’s leadership.
  7. Access to special events.
  8. Receive a tax benefit.
  9. Slick brochures.
  10. Guilt or obligation.

In the articles that follow, you will read about how Phi Delta Theta is active through its Foundation and hear from some alumni who have chosen to make careers out of the business of philanthropy.  The topics covered are:

  • An overview of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation — why it exists and how it helps
  • Top 10 things you can do to be philanthropic within Phi Delt
  • Alumni Career Profiles:  What does a career path in philanthropy look like?  Three Phis share their experiences in and motivation for working in the field of giving
  • Live like Lou.  How one Phi Delt turned a diagnosis of ALS into a life’s mission

Two Men Who Believe In The Power Of Sound Learning Are Helping Me Succeed

This week our blog series will feature a variety of Phi Delta Theta Foundation Donors, highlighting various categories and opportunities Phi Delta Theta has for members and alumni to give back.

Today, we feature Wisconsin Beta (Lawrence) Phi, Jeff Ramsey, a graduate fellowship recipient. Each fellowship is awarded in order to further the education of a deserving graduate student.

“I am a doctoral candidate in history at Marquette University and I would not be here without Phi Delta Theta. I have had the great privilege to receive two graduate fellowships from the Phi Delta Theta Foundation: The Rusty R. Richardson award in 2007 and most recently, the Marvin J. Perry fellowship. Both awards have provided me with necessary financial support to pursue my studies. These fellowships remind me about how amazing Phi Delta Theta really is. I am benefiting from the generosity of two of the great men in our organization who believe in the power of Sound Learning and set up these fellowship endowments to help others pursue their educational goals. It makes me want to work that much harder to prove that I am worthy of these awards. I then want to use my knowledge and resources to donate to the Foundation so I can help someone else achieve their dreams as well.”

“Beyond this financial contribution, Phi Delta Theta lead me to this career. I had the great honor to work as a Leadership Consultant for the Fraternity from 2000 to 2003. This position helped me discover my passion for working with college students. Spending three years on the road, meeting with students, planning and participating in conferences, getting to know our outstanding alumni, and learning more about the fraternity’s commitment to its Three Cardinal Principles, helped me become the man I am today and helped guide me towards my life’s work. As an undergraduate member, I got a glimpse of what it meant to be a Phi. Now, as an alumnus, I am often reminded of how deep and special being a Phi really is. I am proud to say that I am a lifelong Phi, and I strive in all areas of my life to live up to that title by adhering to the Three Cardinal Principles. I relish the opportunity to spend the rest of my life teaching college students and setting good examples of the kind of people they should be. Regardless of whether my students are Phis or not, I know they will see what it means to be a member of Phi Delta Theta. My ability to positively influence my students is directly connected with Phi Delta Theta, and I can’t thank the Fraternity or the Foundation enough for not only putting me on my path, but for continuing to support me. I can only hope that throughout my life, I live up to the examples set by the six founders and men like Rusty Richardson and Marvin Perry.

Learn more about the graduate fellowships Phi Delta Theta has to offer.  The applications for these fellowships will be live soon.

A Positive Experience Led To Involvement As A Foundation Trustee

This week our blog series will feature a variety of Phi Delta Theta Foundation Donors, highlighting various categories and opportunities Phi Delta Theta has for members and alumni to give back.

Today, a Phi Delta Theta Foundation Trustee will share his story. Foundation Trustees are individuals who have shown their dedication to Phi Delta Theta throughout the years and are invited to sit on the Board of Trustees. They provide the vision for the Phi Delta Theta Foundation and bring their shared expertise and knowledge to the table. Brother Mike Fimiani, South Florida ’89, became a Phi Delta Theta Foundation Trustee in July of 2006.

“The Fraternity has been a major part of my life since the day I pledged in the Fall of 1985.  I was active in my chapter and served in several roles including president.  Upon graduation, I volunteered as a chapter adviser, province president and eventually now as a Foundation Trustee.  Most of my extremely close friends are from my days at Florida Epsilon.  In addition, as a volunteer I now have many more close friends that serve the Fraternity as General Council members, volunteers and headquarters staff.  The Fraternity shaped my college experience in the most positive way possible through the friends I made and the leadership and management skills I developed while running the chapter.  To this day I stay in touch with dozens of chapter brothers and at most events back on campus my pledge class usually has the most in attendance.  It was and still is a very tight group of guys.”

“Because I had such and positive experience in school and now as an alumni volunteer it causes me to want to give back both with my time and donations to the Fraternity.  Phi Delta Theta ranks as the highest priority in my philanthropic giving.  I see how hard the headquarters staff works to put together great programs for the undergraduates to attend and benefit from.  When I was an undergraduate, we had no idea the amount of time and effort the headquarters staff put into the Fraternity.  Now that I have seen it firsthand, it makes me even more enthusiastic about supporting our great Fraternity.  I encourage all Brothers to give what they can to support the Fraternity.”

Undergraduates Assisting Undergraduates Through The Knights Of Pallas

This week our blog series will feature a variety of Phi Delta Theta Foundation Donors, highlighting various categories and opportunities Phi Delta Theta has for members and alumni to give back.

The Knights of Pallas is Phi Delta Theta Foundation’s dynamic undergraduate giving alliance allowing members a chance to give back – a gesture that provides valuable resources for the Annual Fund which supports undergraduate programs, scholarships and fellowships. Benjamin Reilly, President of Kansas Epsilon Chapter at Emporia State University has inspired and educated his fellow brothers about the importance of giving back. This year, the Knights of Pallas has taken on a competitive nature driving the undergrad members to donate. The Kansas Epsilon Chapter is in the running to win a noble knight statue for their chapter house as a reminder of their charitable contributions.

“I first donated to the Knights of Pallas at the Orlando, Florida Convention, and I have made sure to donate at every Phi Delt conference since then.  Before I went to these conferences, the only thing I knew about the Knights of Pallas was that it was something I could pay for and get a cool pin with a sword.  At Convention, I was able to talk to the people at the Knights of Pallas table and realized that the money was actually going toward Phi Delta Theta Foundation scholarships. As a college student who loves scholarships, I decided I could help out my brothers and donate.”

“Many members from Kansas Epsilon have felt the same way and have donated when they attended Phi Delt conferences.  When the Knights of Pallas competition was announced, I was pretty excited, especially when the suit of armor was announced to be the prize.  So naturally, every guy in the chapter wanted to try and get the suit of armor.  The chapter made sure to talk about Knights of Pallas in our next meeting and the competition that had been unveiled.  We also brought this up in the Phikeia meeting and got all the Phikeias on board to donate to the Foundation.”

“It’s great to know that our brothers can come together and help current and future Phi Delts by providing donations for scholarships.  The best part of Knights of Pallas is that it is really easy to donate.  If you attend any of the Phi Delt conferences, just stop by the table and donate $18.48. If you haven’t been able to attend any of those, you can just send a donation to the Knights of Pallas to GHQ or donate online.”

View more information about the Knights of Pallas. Learn more about the competition that ends on December 31.

36 Years Since Graduation, 36 Gifts Made To Help Others

This week our blog series will feature a variety of Phi Delta Theta Foundation Donors, highlighting various categories and opportunities Phi Delta Theta has for members and alumni to give back.

Today, we feature Andy Harper, Indiana State ’73, and a 1972 Phi Delta Theta Foundation scholarship recipient. The scholarship awarded was created to reward those who displayed great amounts of leadership and encouraged good citizenship. Since receiving  the scholarship, Brother Harper has made consecutive annual donations in an effort to strengthen ties with the organization and inspire future giving.

Andy Harper shares his story:

“Being selected for membership in Phi Delta Theta was the first highlight of my college experience.  Then, two years later to be awarded the Foundation Scholarship from The Fraternity strengthened my bond and pride.  The scholarship was a real confidence booster for someone more involved in campus activities than scholarly practices and gave me encouragement to balance both.  This, combined with a strong brotherhood of best friends, helped produce memories that are still very much alive today.”

“After graduating, I never hesitated to contribute when requests came from the PDT Foundation.  I knew what that one-time scholarship did for me and would do for others.  It’s been 36 years now since graduating from Indiana State; I don’t think I’ve missed the opportunity to give back in any year since.”

Learn more about the various Phi Delta Theta scholarship opportunities.  The online application form opens soon!

My Iron Phi Experience – $8,000 Raised & 100 Holes of Golf in One Day

This week our blog series will feature a variety of Phi Delta Theta Foundation Donors, highlighting various categories and opportunities Phi Delta Theta has for members and alumni to give back.

Today, an Iron Phi will share his story. The Iron Phi program was developed to strengthen the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the impact on the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease through fundraising and athletic efforts. Those members who chose to participate must accomplish an athletic endeavor of their choice (i.e. triathlons, cycling events, golf) and raise $1,000 through the Iron Phi website.

Tyler Kreutzer of Tennessee Zeta (Belmont) shares his experience of becoming an Iron Phi. This summer, Tyler raised more than $8,000 and completed 100 holes of golf in one day.

“I became aware of the Iron Phi program when I became a member of the Tennessee Zeta Chapter two years ago and read about some of the accomplishments of other Phi Delts.”

“My own personal journey began when our family physician and dear friend, Dr. Richard Borman, was diagnosed with ALS.  The news was devastating to my family.   Having been a competitive golfer in high school with a continued enjoyment of the sport, I chose to incorporate golf into my quest to become an Iron Phi.  I chose to play 100 holes of golf in a day, and my goal was to raise a minimum of $5,000 for ALS and the Phi Delta Theta Foundation.”

“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family and had over seventy donors.  One donor even gave $1,000!  The donations were not only a testimonial to Dr. Borman, but also a testament to my passion and commitment to raise money for two very worthy causes.   I also believe that my high level of success (I raised over $8,000) can be partially attributed to putting a face to the event.”

“I started my golf marathon at dawn and spent the next ten hours on the golf course, through heat, rain and wind.  I had four friends with me for the entire day including Dr. Borman.  They kept me motivated with encouragement and advice, searched for stray balls and made food and water runs.  The emotional highlight of the day was when Dr. Borman and I played the 100th hole together.”

“How do I feel now?  I feel that no one can take this away from me.  My hands, feet and back were sore.  I was hot from the sun and wet from the rain, but I would not trade a second of that day for anything.”

“To future potential Iron Phis, I would say….go for it. It was a truly amazing experience and will continue to be one of the proudest moments of my life.”

To learn more or become an Iron Phi, visit for more information and to register.