Foundation Awards $3.92M in Scholarships and Grants

More than 230 individuals recognized with academic awards for the 2020 to 2021 academic year

Supporting academic excellence, pivotal programming needs and the overall success of Sigma Chi’s undergraduate chapters, the Sigma Chi Foundation will award $3.92 million in academic scholarships and grants during the 2020 to 2021 fiscal year.


“I wish we could give more,” said Randy Coppersmith, SOUTH FLORIDA 1979, chairman of the Sigma Chi Foundation’s Grant & Scholarship (G&S) Committee. “Especially this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many students couldn’t get summer jobs, or some of their parents may have lost their jobs. For many, it’s been tough. But, the Foundation is doing all it can this year.”


One of the primary missions of the Foundation is to award academic scholarships to worthy Sigma Chis. This Fall, the Foundation has awarded 235 brothers (undergraduate, graduate and military) and one undergraduate sweetheart with close to $350,000 in academic awards for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.


 “The Foundation was started in 1939 with the expressed intent of giving scholarships to brothers whose academic achievements deserve our support,” said Coppersmith.  


The G&S Committee, with great support from Foundation Executive Assistant Heidi Holley in Evanston, reviews nominations and scholarship selections determined by a thorough review process, which Holley administers. 


“There are so many guys who really can use the money,” said Holley. “And for many, when they learn they received the scholarship, it’s the difference between being able to stay in school or not.”


Holley organized a group of 78 Sigma Chi alumni who review the scholarship applications and help select the most worthy brothers. “We couldn’t do it without support of the volunteers who comb through hundreds of scholarship requests,” she said. “They’re so generous with their time. It’s a big task.”


The bulk of the capital the G&S Committee will award is aimed at grants that support the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Sigma Chi Learning Institute (SCLI). This year the Foundation has budgeted $2,637,000 for SCLI. The General Fraternity will receive $713,000 for operations support. And the Sigma Chi Museum and Archives are to receive $228,000, (including HQ depreciation).


These funds support Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop, Horizons Huntsman Leadership Summit, SCLI staff and accreditation, the Significant Sig Awards and Leadership Training curriculum.


“The members of the G&S Committee review the grant requests with a new, revised process that was developed to ensure we can monitor and account for every dollar,” said Coppersmith. “We take the business of grant requests and awards very seriously. We want to be good shepherds of the money and bequests that donors have given the Foundation over the years.”


The G&S Committee meets quarterly and gets regular updates on progress from both SCLI and Fraternity leaders. 


“We do all we can to ensure the long-term success of Sigma Chi,” said Coppersmith. “We work closely with our partners at SCLI to ensure the highest standards of quality programs each year. It’s a labor of love. Seeing how our brothers benefit and flourish from the work we do, It’s the best part of working with the Foundation.”