Choosing a Local Philanthropy

Chapters want to make a difference in their local community. Should a Chapter help as many organizations as possible? Or should they focus their efforts on an organization that the Chapter feels a special connection to? There isn’t a wrong answer and each Chapter has to decide how to best use their resources. If you are interested in having a local philanthropy though, how do you choose one and why might it be a thing to consider? We asked the Eta Alpha Chapter about their recent decision to declare the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center as their official local philanthropy.


The kickoff event to celebrating the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center's 50th Anniversary. Members attended a celebratory breakfast this term to connect with volunteers and celebrate all that the organization has achieved.

The kickoff event to celebrating the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center’s 50th Anniversary. Members attended a celebratory breakfast this term to connect with volunteers and celebrate all that the organization has achieved.

What is it about the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center that made you want to make it your local philanthropy?
The Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center helps the community in so many different ways; they offer a wide variety of services. They help out with rent assistance, provide meals for senior citizens and are trying to re-brand to be a multi-cultural and multi-generational center. One of our Alumni Members introduced us to the center last year and we were inspired to support them ever since. Additionally, because the Jesse Cosby Center is a smaller, local organization, we feel like we can have more of a visible impact on the organization.

Last year, our Service Committee organized a couple events to help this organization get back on its feet by lifting/moving furniture for them, rearranging the common space in the building and other beautification activities for the building. Once we began working with this organization, we saw numerous other ways we could get involved and support them. This year, we plan to have many events with their organization, including anything from more beautification, to connecting with volunteers in the center, to helping deliver food to the families in need. There are so many ways we can give back to the community with the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center!

What is the benefit of having a declared local philanthropy?
With a declared local philanthropy, we have more direction and are able to partner with another organization to put on events. Many service events can take place here, as well as others like scholarship or social events. The local philanthropy is personal and unique to our organization and we are directly making a difference in the community we live in.

What advice would you give to other Chapters on picking a local philanthropy?
When deciding on a local philanthropy, choose one that your Chapter is passionate about and has an interest in. Find someplace local where you can make a big impact. Some smaller details to be considered could include what type of events could be held in collaboration with the local organization, what/how they support the community or a larger audience, etc.


Local philanthropies often have very special meaning to a Chapter and can create a relationship that lasts as Alumni graduate and new Members join.

Do you have a local philanthropy? Tell us about them!

Leadership in ActionPicking a local philanthropy for your Chapter is a team decision. Host the Leadership in Action Module The Team Foundation- Decisions, Decisions, Decisions to learn how to reach a consensus. Request the Module.

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