When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many Central New York residents stepped up to the plate to help in creative ways, even those who do not live here permanently. In late March, thirteen sorority chapters of the Panhellenic Council at Syracuse University joined forces to raise money for those impacted by COVID-19 by using a unique fundraising strategy.
The Panhellenic Council is the umbrella of 26 sororities, thirteen of which have an active chapter at Syracuse University. These sororities are Greek-letter social and philanthropic organizations that are committed to service, advocacy, and sisterhood. While the students were off-campus and living at their homes across all parts of the country, the sororities created a virtual fundraising competition between their chapters to raise money for the COVID-19 Community Support Fund right here in Onondaga County.
“Since we weren’t able to be on campus and the virus is impacting everyone around the world, we wanted to help,” said Nicole Jaskot, director of philanthropic events to support various causes, including but not limited to St. Judes, Autism Speaks, and domestic violence awareness. The Panhellenic Council recognized that they needed to improvise in order to fulfill their philanthropic traditions without the ability to hold in-person events.
Each sorority chapter was tasked with promoting a donation link on their social media pages to encourage as many people as possible to donate. These groups raced against each other for 18 days (April 17th to May 4th) to raise the most money and win the competition. The prize — knowing that they were helping those that needed it most.
“It is not as common for all thirteen sororities to fundraise for one set organization,” said Jaskot. “We knew that we would need to team up to make the biggest impact on our Syracuse community. I am so proud of what we accomplished in such a short time.”
By the conclusion of the fundraiser, the Council raised more than $5,700. Since then, many local organizations have received support from the fund to address needs associated with the pandemic. Grants include support towards food, personal hygiene, PPE, transportation, and help to transition nonprofit operations to a virtual environment.
The sororities that participated were Delta Phil Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma, Sigma Delta Tau, Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Epsilon Phi.