How Can We Be More Philanthropic?

How Can We Be More Philanthropic?

Often times, when walking around or reading the flyers plastered all over the walls of the buildings on a college campus, there are advertisements for fundraisers and bake sales galore – “help X sorority raise awareness for our cause by purchasing a ticket to our intramural basketball game!” or “brownies, $2 that goes towards helping our cause!” Philanthropy is a part of many groups’ core identities on college campuses, but it raises a bigger question of how much it truly helps such causes.

Many campuses have a chapter of Girl Up, a United Nations-sponsored group that raises funds and awareness for girls around the world to attain their leadership and educational goals. Other groups also have similar woman-supporting causes, such as fighting sex trafficking or sexual assault on college campuses. Many, if not most campuses in America also have sororities and fraternities, which all have a philanthropic cause: for example, Alpha Chi Omega’s national philanthropy is fighting domestic violence, Asian-American interest sorority alpha Kappa Delta Phi works to raise funds for breast cancer research and survivors, and fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha does the same for Operation Smile, a national charity fundraising for children born with cleft lips and palates.

When looking to see how much money that Greek organizations, for example, donate to their philanthropies, the funds seem like little, given the number of chapters around the nation (internationally, in some cases) compared to what could be done. Some Greek organizations only host one public fundraising event a semester, whereas others do constant donation drives. Nationally, Delta Gamma gives the most of all the Panhellenic sororities, at $792,499 spread out over 147 active collegiate chapters, while fraternity Sigma Chi gives the most at a whopping $1,436,883 with 246 active chapters. However, what seems most disappointing is that there are numerous fraternities who give no money through their national foundation (perhaps out of a lack of philanthropy or on a chapter-by-chapter case) and one sorority with 94 active chapters gave only $6,761 to a charitable non-profit cause. There are likely many chapters of Greek life that do so on their own; however, according to easily accessible data, that is what is available.

Of course, throwing money isn’t the only way to help a cause – students also volunteer their time to help those in need, be it working the phone lines at a crisis center or tutoring children in low-income areas. However, it is much harder to quantify that in comparison to money.

Outside of the Greek life focus, it seems as if people are more likely to go out on their own to volunteer their time phone banking for causes they’re passionate about. Some groups may organize trips to go volunteer at a certain place, however, from personal experience, it does not seem widely publicized. What is often publicized instead are rallies or protests to bring awareness to certain causes, such as a campus group demanding better mental health support for survivors of rape and sexual assault on campus, or better sanctions against perpetrators. Again, it is difficult to quantify that compared to accessible audits of other groups’ fundraisers.

Philanthropies are certainly a charitable cause, and as seen by the statistics, still funded by many groups. However, it is possible for students to do even more, be it on a personal, face-to-face level, or via more fundraising and donating.

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