The Monmouth College chapter of Alpha Xi Delta women’s fraternity has shifted its philanthropy focus from raising awareness about autism to fighting child homelessness.
The move was made to give Alpha Xi Delta members more opportunities to make a difference in the local community.
The chapter’s former philanthropy was Autism Speaks, which led to the College’s iconic Wallace Hall cupola being bathed in blue light each April 2 as part of the “Light It Up Blue” campaign on World Autism Awareness Day.
Under the umbrella national focus of the Kindly Hearts Initiative, AXD chapters nationwide are now encouraged to work with local and regional organizations to make positive impacts in their communities. The Monmouth chapter shifted its work to Foster Club and Stand Up for Kids, a national organization that works with children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Continuing the philanthropic focus on youth is important, said chapter president Selene Salinas ’24 of Chicago.
“Our chapter’s local philanthropy focus has been on kids for a long time,” she said. “But this change has been good for the chapter, providing more opportunities for hands-on experiences with helping people in the community.”
The Monmouth women are still looking for their local philanthropy, and they hope to have one selected by the end of the semester. Their first fundraising event of the spring semester will be Feb. 8, when the women of AXD will partner with local pizzeria Alfano’s for an all-day “Pack the House” event. A portion of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Foster Club.
Turning over a new leaf
The chapter’s vice president of philanthropy, Anna Caster ’24 of Greenfield, Indiana, said the chapter’s new focus has several benefits.
“Switching over from Autism Speaks to Foster Club and Stand Up for Kids is a good place to start,” she said. “Somewhere where we can plan and grow our roots and really work for those kids. Both of these organizations are fantastic, and they are doing the right things and heading in the right direction.”
Caster said the issues being addressed by the chapter’s philanthropy focus are often not front of mind.
“There are lots of children who are struggling with homelessness and who are in the foster care system, and not every day do we notice that,” she said. “I think it’s good to kind of look beyond what we see every day and help those in need. We’re turning over a new leaf.”
Caster also hopes the chapter will be able to increase the number of philanthropic and fundraising events it holds.
“I think it’s easy to plan things because we have a lot of freedom to do whatever we need to fundraise,” said Caster, who has a goal of putting on an event every month and raising a significant amount of money for the chapter’s philanthropy this year.
***Courtesy of Barry McNamara, Monmouth College***