Major Fundraising Marvel

When Sigma Chis Jim Dora and Bernie Sergesketter returned to the Purdue University campus for Homecoming in 2003, they were shocked by the condition of the chapter house. Delta Delta Chapter has a proud and distinguished heritage, but the house that Sigma Chi George Ade had built for the chapter in 1912 had begun to deteriorate to a condition that realistically was no longer safe for its undergraduate members.
 
So Dora and Sergesketter decided to spearhead a renovation planning committee to address long-term facility issues and opportunities. Their goal was to develop a plan that might serve the needs of the chapter well into the next century.
 
Architects and engineers brought in to evaluate the physical structure quickly noted that a major investment was necessary. The plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems had all outlived their life expectancies. Pipes and fixtures throughout the house needed to be replaced. The preliminary cost
estimate to renovate the chapter house: $6,000,000. That figure might scare most but the Delta Delta Sigs took it as a challenge. Campaign co-chairman
Bruce Harreld asserted, “We have an opportunity to rededicate Delta Delta to building leaders. We should…use this effort as a platform to build tomorrow’s leaders just as George Ade, et al., did 100 years ago.”
 
The Delta Delta House Corporation board's aim was a high-quality durable facility that will provide a safe living and learning environment for many years. In addition to mandatory building and fire code requirements, the architects was instructed to place emphasis on providing ample study space and access
to technology. Other enhancements included:
 
• Personal accommodations: Shift sleeping accommodations from cold-air dorm to study/sleeping rooms with loft beds, work spaces, and dedicated personal storage. The reconfiguration provides space in the facility for storage of seasonal items and large personal items.
• Study and leadership environment: Separation of public spaces from study areas to enhance the academic environment. Revised library and new computer facilities provide research and reading space. New group study spaces, small team study space, and a dedicated presentation room support the changing academic needs of today’s college student.
• Life-safety improvements: code-compliant stair towers, suitable fire exits, wet-sprinkler system, automatic smoke detection system, and manual alarm devices.
• Enhance the commercial-grade food preparation, storage, and serving areas.
 
The committee selected Pennington & Company www.penningtonco.com to assist with fundraising strategy and execution of the campaign. After reviewing Pennington & Company’s detailed feasibility study, the campaign committee charged forward with what some assumed to be near-impossible goals: $6
million to be raised and more than 50% of the chapter’s alumni counted on the donor list.
 
On March 1, 2006, after months of hard work and dedication, Delta Delta launched the “Securing the Future of Delta Delta” campaign. The announcement included early commitments of $4.89 million made by insiders and volunteers and cumulated giving from the undergraduate chapter that totaled more than
$125,000.
 
But this was only the beginning. Scores of volunteers marched into action. Through phone calls, letters, and personal visits, these loyal alumni delivered personal testimonials regarding their Sigma Chi experience and the importance of this project. Their efforts paid off handsomely; effectively enlisting 510
other alumni to join them in contributing to this project. 
 
Altogether, the campaign has blown past its initial goals; recording to date $7,407,392 in contributions from 860 contributors, an amazing 59% of its alumni base.
 
Volunteers are critical to the ultimate success of a fundraiser campaign and the Delta Delta brothers proved to be more than equal to the task. The renovated house re-opened its doors and welcomed its first residents Fall 2007.
 
For more on fundraising contact your Grand Trustee.