Foundation UpdateThe Gamma Chi Foundation for Education

One of the truly great stories about the resurgence of the Gamma Chi Chapter is the Gamma Chi Foundation for Education. Seeded with funds from the sale of the Chapter’s property at 4600 Norwich Road, and a very generous bequest from Brother Jack Stringer '57, the Foundation’s endowment now stands at right about $1.05M.  It is a great asset for the Chapter.

As with all foundations, the goal is to spend some of the earnings each year without invading the principal. After doing considerable research we elected to use DHK, a specialized investment firm, to manage the funds.  DHK invests funds for foundations similar in size to our own. The benefit is that with all the pooled investments that DHK manages, we receive tremendous expertise at a very favorable price. As you can imagine, our initial investment was very well-timed – as the funds were transferred to DHK in the early Fall of 2016 so they have caught a great ride.  However, as many of us have experienced, what goes up can come down – so we need to keep that in mind as we move forward.

To date, the funds have been used for a couple of things – primarily based on input from those very close to the Chapter. One of the challenges in today’s fraternity environment is keeping upperclassmen living in the Chapter house.  As the students get older, they seem to prefer to live in an environment with fewer rules. We are awarding scholarships that cover Chapter house board for brothers who have exhibited strong leadership skills to stay in the house and provide role models for the younger brothers.

We are also in talks with the Student Affairs group on campus to help sponsor some leadership training for the Greek system. One idea is to focus it on the college experience in the social media age. Many of us have seen how the impact from a spontaneous moment can travel around the world in a matter of hours or minutes, creating an association with individuals and organizations that can last for a very long time. We hope to get that wrapped and determined in the Spring.

A second area we are working toward finalizing is a scholarship for a Vet attending Maryland on the GI Bill. There is a shortfall of about $5,000 a year in the funds provided and the actual cost of attending the University. This was a small part of our 75th Anniversary Celebration and we received some very generous seed funding for it. The next newsletter will have greater detail as we fully launch the drive to endow this scholarship in memory of our founders.  

The Chapter was initially founded during World War II and many of our founding brothers saw their college careers bifurcated by military service – returning to Maryland and the Chapter after winning the war.  We believe that honoring their memory and sacrifice by helping to educate a Veteran would be a great way to recognize their service. A key element of the scholarship would be an evening where the Vet would come down to the Chapter House and share their experience with actives and alums.

So the news is good and the plans are ambitious – however we do have some needs. We need some volunteers. This is fun work – not as intense as other areas. Good governance is important so we need to formalize the board and meeting process. In addition, we always need to constantly review how we are spending the earnings so that we have the greatest impact – so there is the need for members of a scholarship committee. Finally – we want the endowment to grow – not only organically through investment but through our brothers' generosity so we also need a fundraising committee. Our goal is to send each alum and brother an annual report this spring – be on the look out for that. 

In the interim, if you would like to volunteer to serve in a role on the Foundation drop me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.r give me a call at 443-852-0688.

 

In hoc,

 

Barry DesRoches

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