Sigma Chi Foundation | 80 Years of Impact

September 11, 1934 — Sigma Chi creates Endowment Commission


November 9, 1939 — Following unanimous passage at 1939 Grand Chapter, Endowment Commission chairman Frank McDonough Jr., DARTMOUTH 1907, law partner Frank L. Grant, PURDUE 1889, and Dr. Joseph F. Bowers, OHIO STATE 1889, jointly filed necessary papers with Notary Public Clarence L. Bartholic to gain certification and incorporate the Sigma Chi Endowment Foundation in Denver, Colorado.


October 16, 1940 — Initial Foundation board meeting held at Stevens Hotel in Chicago, IL; John Alden Towers, MISSOURI 1916, named President, John G. Bowman, IOWA 1899, Vice President.


July-August 1943 — Positive and aggressive two-page article from 29th Grand Consul L.G. Balfour, INDIANA 1907, in the Magazine of Sigma Chi draws widespread attention to Foundation.


December 1944 — Foundation lists initial contributors towards $25,000 Club, urges contributions to bring assets to $100,000 by end of World War II.


Summer 1945 — University of Southern California and University of Virginia chapters become first to award scholarships out of dedicated chapter funds. Roanoke, Columbia and Kentucky would begin awards with 1945-46 school year.


June 20, 1946 — Foundation develops Province Chapter Scholarship awards, granting $100 award to Junior member of each chapter based upon character, scholarship, activities and leadership, as well as individual award to the outstanding scholar in each province.


1947 — Foundation unveils first match-challenge fundraiser behind Significant Sig Rush Kress, BUCKNELL 1900, whose funding accelerates growth, provides credibility for Foundation within Greek world.


1949 — Foundation begins awarding top three scholastic-achieving chapters with tiered Library Awards to furnish books — a precursor to the General Academic Scholarship and top chapter stipend awards.


1951 — Foundation funds mortgage on Memorial Headquarters, the Harley L. Clark mansion on Lake Michigan, and relocates operations permanently to Evanston, Ill.


December 1956 — Foundation receives bequest in excess of $100,000 from estate of Harry C. Collette, DENISON 1890, who entered Chapter Eternal on July 22, 1956 at age 85. His grant was largest single gift to the Foundation to that date.


1961 — For the first time since it was established in 1947, all 134 chapters participate in Leadership Training Workshop — a first for the Fraternity as the Foundation begins significant funding of the program.


1963 — Executive Committee votes unanimously to recommend Fraternity work with Foundation to acquire or construct single purpose modern office building to house Fraternity and Foundation offices, and a museum to be acquired in the name of the Sigma Chi Foundation.


1964 — The Foundation-sponsored J. Dwight Peterson Significant Chapter Award, recognizing each chapter in the Fraternity that meets a set of standards each year, is presented for the first time to DePauw, MIT and Sam Houston for the 1963-64 school year.


November 1964 — Present Headquarters property, 1714 Hinman Avenue, acquired for $49,500 in name of the Sigma Chi Corporation. Foundation board accepted “gift” of property in July 1966, formally becoming a Foundation asset.


October 30, 1966 — Headquarters building dedicated to crowd of nearly 200 three days after 38th Grand Consul J. Dwight Peterson, INDIANA 1919, was named Chairman — a role he would hold for the 20 years.


July 1973 — At the Grand Chapter, 41st Grand Consul William P. Huffman, DENISON 1911, presents title of the founding site property in Oxford, Ohio to the Foundation. Later identified as the oldest commercial structure in the town of Oxford, the “birthplace of Sigma Chi” would be preserved through Huffman’s generous gesture.


1976 — Helen M. Buckby, wife of Richard A. Buckby, MONTANA STATE 1924, establishes medical scholarship fund in memory of husband, awarding grants to worthy Sigs who are preparing for medical school, presently in medical school or other related areas of study. Today there are graduate scholarships in seven fields of study.


1979 — Foundation establishes distinguished visitors program for Leadership Training Workshop


1984 — L.G. Balfour Foundation grants first of three $250,000 donations to Foundation to initiate and advance Balfour Fellowship Program, which provided educational stipends to graduate students who served undergraduate chapters.


October 14, 1988 — Headquarters building named in honor of 38th Grand Consul and retired Foundation Chairman Peterson.


November 9, 1989 — Foundation marks 50th anniversary, awarding $273,000 in scholarships and grants


Winter 1990 — Mark P. Herschede, CINCINNATI 1940, makes, at time, second-largest single donation to Foundation with gift of $250,000 to establish permanent fund to benefit graduate students in engineering.


1993 — Foundation votes to make minimum educational grant of $100,000 in 1993-94 and 1994-95 to broaden Fraternity’s educational programs.


1995 — Initial conversations began amongst Board of Governors to create a program (Sigma Chi Horizons) that encompassed a renaissance in areas of core values and beliefs.


1997 — The Balfour Foundation begins annual grant to underwrite educational elements of Balfour Leadership Training Workshop.


1998 — After four years of development, Sigma Chi Horizons, funded by Significant Sig and past Foundation board member Bob McNair, SOUTH CAROLINA 1958, officially announced


July 18, 1999 — Inaugural Horizons leadership training program debuts in the mountains of Snowbird, Utah.


Summer 2002 — Horizons expands to two sessions thanks to added contribution of 64th Grand Consul Keith Krach, PURDUE 1979


2003 — Significant Sig Bill George, GEORGIA TECH 1964, and his family foundation helps Horizons expand to third session for undergraduates 


2004 — CHOICES program detailing the dangers of alcohol and prescription drug abuse begins testing through support of Significant Sig Rob Reifschneider, SAN DIEGO STATE 1957.


2007 — Foundation Board adopts new strategic plan to move Foundation towards leadership and scholarship vision


2008 — Foundation unveils Thomas Cowan Bell Chapter Challenge program that provides designated scholarships, Horizons slot and additional undergraduate registrations at workshop to Bell chapters 


2009 — Due to Fraternity’s need for ongoing educational programming, Journey chapter retreats addressing a variety of potential topics ranging from brotherhood and risk management to leadership and recruitment makes wide debut.


2009 — Horizons program extended to four weeks thanks to participation in Bell Chapter Challenge


2010 — Foundation provides nearly $10,000 in leadership program and scholarship benefits, on average, across every undergraduate chapter, announces Donor-Scholar Program


2010 — Historical Initiative unveils CODEX digital library portal, digitizing thousands of documents, photographs, video and sound as it relates to Sigma Chi


2011-12 — Foundation establishes Military Veteran Scholarship Fund, unveils second five-year strategic plan


2013 — Sigma Chi Crossroads, a one-day drug and alcohol education retreat, and Sigma Chi Lifeline, an online resource providing mental health resources, debuts.


2013 — A record 2,000 undergraduate brothers, alumni and guests attend Balfour LTW


September 2014 — Foundation announces tiered $10,000 Founders’ Scholarships, awarded to the top-seven overall scholarship applicants 


September 2014 — Foundation announces plans for reconstruction of Sigma Chi’s headquarters museum with challenge match gift from Significant Sig and former Foundation Chairman Chuck Watson, OKLAHOMA STATE 1972.


November 2014 — Significant Sig Jon M. Huntsman Sr., PENNSYLVANIA 1959, makes $5 million commitment to continue four annual sessions of Horizons through 2024. It was one of the largest individual pledge towards a Greek-letter organization in history.


Spring 2015 — Sigma Chi Fraternity and Foundation unveil the creation of online educational platform, formerly known as Sigma Chi U, and its Preparation for Brotherhood new member education module


August 2015 — Significant Sig Bill George, GEORGIA TECH 1964, and his family foundation make $550,000 challenge match gift to anchor the new online leadership platform


September 2015 — Pilot tests of online education, including Preparation for Brotherhood roll out at selected chapters — 88 percent of new members surveyed noted program effectiveness, while changes see significant decrease in hazing incidents


April 2016 — Sigma Chi unveils Chuck and Kim Watson Museum of Sigma Chi, named in honor of Significant Sig whose match challenge keyed funding for project


September 2016 — Online education modules formally launched within all Sigma Chi undergraduate chapters — marking first time every new Sigma Chi undergraduate brother is directly impacted with leadership programming


October 2016 — Sigma Chi Foundation holds inaugural alumni event at the White House in Washington, D.C. to launch series of alumni receptions across United States


December 2016 — Thomas Cowan Bell Chapter Challenge pledges and gifts impact a record 76 chapters for the 2017-18 academic year


April 2017 — Foundation marks re-dedication of Sigma Chi Founding Site, marking renovations and additions to the Oxford, Ohio location.


Spring 2017 — Foundation provides additional resources to expand Fraternity’s chapter support services with new regional-based consultants


June 2017 — Foundation, Fraternity launch joint strategic plan, mission and vision statements to reshape organization via Leadership Learning Continuum and 10-year fundraising plan


February 2018 — Sigma Chi Foundation tops year-end survey conducted by NIC Foundation, delivering more financial support for its members than any comparable Greek-letter organization


June 2018 — Foundation marks end of 2017-18 fiscal year with $5,782,209 distributed in grants and scholarships 


July 2018 — Significant commitment from 64th Grand Consul Keith Krach, PURDUE 1979, supports continuation of Sigma Chi’s annual workshop as Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop beginning in 2019


September 2018 — Sigma Chi Foundation surpasses $500,000 in annual undergraduate and graduate scholarship support for first time in organizational history, a number that tops $1 million overall when including chapter-specific awards. 

/ Expect More: The Future /

  • The Fraternity and Foundation will launch a new, enhanced Life Loyal Sig Annual Giving program during the 2019 to 2020 fiscal year that recognizes all annual contributors to Sigma Chi. Annual fund donors will join existing Life Loyal Sigs in receiving the Magazine of Sigma Chi, a new annual Impact Report, special recognition, and additional new benefits. Two great programs, Life Loyal Sig and Annual Fund, coming together as a single pathway to support Sigma Chi.
  • The cumulation of Sigma Chi’s educational efforts both online and in-person will re-launch as Sigma Chi Learning Institute, impacting every undergraduate member with Sigma Chi teachings, as well as providing new leadership educational opportunities on a variety of topics for alumni and members of other organizations.
  • On the heels of the organizational theme, Expect More, Sigma Chi will further increase its leadership role in the Greek-letter community expecting more of all Greek Life as it implements important changes for the greater good.