As many students adapt to flowing changes in their routines and academic careers, their decisions are being influenced by data. As that data guides them, it also guides the organizations that seek to support them. One fact that has not gone unnoticed is the first –year dropout rate for college students. The first-year dropout rate, estimated at around 30%, is met with great disproportion in underserved and under-represented communities. Over the past decade, the Sigma Cares Foundation has worked intentionally to provide mentoring and financial assistance to young men who are embarking on careers at 4-year institutions. In the past three years alone, the Foundation has contributed over $10K in awards to support the meaningful start of their respective journeys.
The Lambda Delta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, an organization rooted in the ideal of Service, established a chapter scholarship to ensure that they are, in the words of Chris Washington, past Chapter President, “taking care of our legacy as well.” Many of the active members are also parents of college-aged children. The Chapter budgets and raises funds to award first-year scholarships to them upon graduation.
While the Chapter Scholarship is for “family,” the Sigma Cares Scholarship is an opportunity that has been established for all male students who attend New Castle County high schools. Candidates are interviewed, receive mentoring and networking skills, and, upon selection, are awarded a stipend to assist with their first year at their institution of choice. Clarence “Randy” Johnson, President of the Sigma Cares Foundation, identifies that this was a natural connection to the ideals of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Johnson states: “Our organization has three principles: Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service. Being able to create impact for young men, especially in these times, is a true witness to these ideals.” The Foundation’s members agree, as they fundraise, make personal donations of resources and time, and establish mentoring relationships with candidates that continue after the exchange of funds. Many award recipients return to assist in service events, which are tied directly to tangible needs of the community.
During the week of July 27-31, the members of the Sigma Cares Foundation and the Lambda Delta Sigma Chapter are collaborating to present scholarships at the candidates’ homes in lieu of an in-person awards ceremony. Recordings and images of these presentations will be compiled as part of this year’s virtual edition. The ceremony, which recognizes Scholarship recipients and college graduates, will take place virtually on August 11th, beginning at 7pm. The ceremony will be streamed via Facebook Live (Lambda Delta Sigma – Phi Beta Sigma), and access to the Zoom session is available upon request.
We are always looking to create greater impact in our communities!
About the Sigma Cares Foundation
The Sigma Cares Foundation, the 501(c)(3) organization established by the Lambda Delta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., has been committed to its purpose of “Investing in Our Community” for the past decade. The mission of the Sigma Cares Foundation is to foster mentorship and leadership while working to provide educational scholarships and engaging in programs and partnerships that influence the lives of those in the communities in which we serve. Visit: sigmacaresfoundation.org
About Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students. The Founders, Honorable A. Langston Taylor, Honorable Leonard F. Morse, and Honorable Charles I. Brown, wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of BROTHERHOOD, SCHOLARSHIP, AND SERVICE.
From its inception, the Founders also conceived Phi Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver services to the general community. Rather than gaining skills to be utilized exclusively for themselves and their immediate families, they held a deep conviction that they should return their newly acquired skills to the communities from which they had come. This deep conviction was mirrored in the Fraternity’s motto, “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity”. Visit: phibetasigma1914.org
About the Lambda Delta Sigma Chapter
In December 1999, a pivotal meeting of Phi Beta Sigma brothers was held with the intent of revitalizing a chapter in New Castle County, Delaware. With tenacity, commitment, and the organization’s blessing, 20 members were successful in the chartering of the Lambda Delta Sigma Chapter.
Lambda Delta Sigma was chartered on March 24, 2000. Since its’ activation, the chapter has grown and developed new members, while also establishing and maintaining programs and partnerships designed to engage, empower, and uplift our communities. Visit: pbslds.org
Investing in our Community, whether the need is great or small!