A Glimpse at the Foundation's History
As early as 1898, Sigma Chi alumni wished to establish an educational endowment fund to insure funds would be available for all financially needy undergraduate members to complete their education. This concept was given life when on November 9, 1939, the Sigma Chi Endowment Foundation was incorporated in Colorado, later to become the Sigma Chi Foundation.
Four years later, the Foundation was given a boost by Harold Gilmore, Pennsylvania 1924, bequeathing $5,000 to the Foundation. At the same time, the $25,000 club was formed. The 25 distinguished members of this club each gave $1,000 to fund initial projects and programs of the new Foundation and pay start-up expenses for fund-raising. Stalwarts in those early days were Ben S. Fisher, L.G. Balfour, Richard S. Doyle, Frank McDonough Jr., John Alden Towers, J. Dwight Peterson, and Raymond H. Fogler.
The Foundation Grows
The Sigma Chi Foundation grew slowly until the late 1940s and early 1950s, during which time it encouraged scholarship and academic achievement by establishing library awards, individual chapter scholarship funds, campus scholarship trophies and a much-needed student aid loan fund. Early in that decade Significant Sig Rush Kress, Bucknell 1900, gave a $50,000 challenge contribution to the Foundation, more than doubling its assets.
The positive response to that "challenge" triggered a second $50,000 grant from Kress. These additional funds permitted the Foundation to expand into the area of leadership training for undergraduate members. In the 1960s, the Sigma Chi Foundation took a monumental step forward when it committed to build and maintain the present Sigma Chi Headquarters, which was later expanded and remodeled in 1979.
As the Sigma Chi Foundation celebrates its 73rd year, increased service and broadening horizons of education and leadership training are its foremost objectives. A half century of achievement to perpetuate the excellence of Sigma Chi has made the Sigma Chi Foundation truly a cornerstone of the Fraternity and unmatched in the Greek-letter world. The Foundation has more than doubled in size in the last 10 years without a Fraternity-wide capital-fund drive.
Learn more about the history of Sigma Chi and the Foundation by visiting the site of the Sigma Chi Historical Initiative.