15 Years of National Philanthropy Day

Cindy Lowden Headshot

By: Cindy Lowden, Past President, Phi Mu Foundation

National Philanthropy Day leaves me awed every year.  Fifteen years ago the leaders of Phi Mu acted boldly and committed the organization to a national day of service – a first in the Panhellenic world. As the Alumnae Development Director in 1999, I was responsible for encouraging alumnae philanthropic programming and I was encouraged to think “big” by Gail Highland, the National Alumnae Vice President.   When I proposed National Philanthropy Day as a new focus for Phi Mu, it was one of those “big dreams” Gail encouraged me to have.  I never stopped to think about what it might look like 15 years from its start.

Now Phi Mu can reflect on the legacy we’ve created for the Greek world by our creation of National Philanthropy Day.  Thousands of hours of service have improved the communities we live in, have contributed to changing individual lives, and have ignited the spirit of our Creed for tens of thousands of collegians.  And that has been replicated in our sister organizations in the Greek world too!

When I participate in National Philanthropy Day it is satisfying on many levels. I am contributing to my community; I am enjoying the great company of my sisters in my Alumnae Chapter; I am reflecting on the fact that Phi Mus everywhere are together making the world a bit better than it was the day before.  I am humbled by the power of our sisterhood and the contributions we have yet to make.

When I served Phi Mu Foundation as VP Philanthropy, I quoted the first line in our Creed, “To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand” every time I talked about our philanthropic mission.  There is a reason that is the first line in our creed, and we put that thought into action at every celebration of National Philanthropy Day.  But, truth be told, my favorite line in our Creed is “To practice day by day, love, honor, truth,” because it reminds me that we don’t need a “day” to do that.

I’ve had the opportunity to serve Phi Mu in many capacities and I have loved every one of those jobs for entirely different reasons.  And all of those positions have helped me to “pay back” the organization for helping to shape the woman I have become.  But National Philanthropy Day is when I can it “pay forward” on behalf of Phi Mu. It is a celebration of our Sisterhood in action TOGETHER.  Join the party!