When the Rutgers chapter’s Derby Days chairmen began planning for the fall 2015 iteration of their signature philanthropic event, they knew that their $200,000 fundraising goal would be a lofty one. What they couldn’t know, however, was that the event’s participants would blow even that intimidating number out of the water.
“Each year, we try to make Derby Days a competitive and fun event that makes people feel passionate about raising money for a good cause,” says Consul Kristi Martiko, RUTGERS 2016. “In that regard, this year was clearly a success. We’ve now raised more than $1 million for charity since 2009.”
While Sigma Chi’s preferred philanthropy is the Huntsman Cancer Institute, chapters are free to support any cause they wish through their charitable efforts. In this case, the chapter and participating women’s Greek-letter organizations collected $220,400 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and several other charities sponsored by the women’s groups. The money was generated through donations the participants made and collected, along with corporate sponsorships from local businesses.
“What we accomplished would not have been possible without our corporate sponsors such as Uber, Johnson & Johnson and Dunkin’ Donuts,” says Martiko. “To them, all we can say is ‘thank you.’ All of their donations are going straight to helping kids, and I don’t think you can say anything much better than that.”
The chapter is now celebrating its success, but don’t expect them to rest on their laurels: In a tweet the @RUDerbyDays account sent out shortly after announcing the 2015 fundraising total, the author wrote, “Until next year y’all #WhatsNext #300Kbound,” indicating the chapter’s desire to raise in excess of $300,000 next year.
“How we’ll do this is simple: We are a brotherhood of men with ambitious purposes, and we try to beat the last year’s Derby Days total each and every year,” says Martiko. “Anything less is not good enough for us.”