For almost 30 years, Phi Mu has recognized Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as its National Philanthropy which has allowed members to help raise millions of dollars for children in need. What we don’t often think about is what happened before 1986? And who did Phi Mu support then? Your answer – Project HOPE.
H= Health; O = Opportunities; for; P = People; E = Everywhere
In the 1963, the Fraternity felt the need for a worthy project with which to identify. In August, four proposals were submitted to National Council and the People-to-People Health Foundation was selected as the Council’s choice to present for consideration.
The SS HOPE hospital ship had begun three years earlier on its missions of friendship, medical mercy and teaching. There was special appeal to many Phi Mus because of the distinct parallel between the mission of the SS HOPE hospital ship to bring health care and education to underdeveloped nations, and the work of the former Phi Mu Health mobile in remote areas of Georgia. Due to the overwhelming amount of support for Project HOPE an immediate vote by mail was issued to all collegiate and alumnae chapters.
On November 30, it was made official – Phi Mus had elected to lend a helping hand to Project HOPE. Adoption of Project HOPE did not mean an end to toy carts or other local philanthropic work, but it did give Phi Mus a national project with which to identify and for which to work.
“As founder and president of Project HOPE, I was naturally overjoyed to learn that the Phi Mu Fraternity has chosen HOPE as a national social service project. We need the interest and support of people like you who believe in sharing this nation’s health knowledge, friendship and good will.”
— William B. Walsh, M.D., President, 1963
From Project HOPE to CMNH
By the early 1980s there was a stir within the membership for more “hands on” programs that would bring the satisfaction of seeing the results of philanthropic work locally. National Council voted in August 1982 to explore “additional possibilities for a new national social service project”. National Council later presented CMN at a business session of the 1986 National Convention and asked the membership to vote to adopt the project. The motion was adopted.
Lamb, Annadell. C. The History of Phi Mu: The First 150 Years. The Grace Group, 2002. Print.