Funds of the Fraternity

The Finance Board of 1954-56: (seated) National President Hazel Falconer Benninghoven, Finance Director Laverne Wedd Riley, Executive Director Zenobia Wooten Keller, and Housing Chairman Helen Wright McCord; (standing) Executive Office Manager Louise Ryder Horn, Collegiate Finance Committee Chairman Edna Stone, Foundation President Louise Flaig Cammarn, and Betty Van Sise Walsh, Housing Committee member.

As a non-profit corporation, Phi Mu Fraternity is limited as to its sources of income. A majority of Phi Mu’s various funds are supported with fees assessed to the membership. The balance comes mainly from investments and royalties and from Phi Mu Foundation grants for educational programs.

Fees are reviewed constantly and adjusted by convention action to finance the Fraternity’s operations and programs. All collegiate fees were consolidated in 1978 into a National Obligation Fee for easier collection. They are then dispersed to the proper funds.

For convenience and flexibility, the 1984 convention removed the amounts of specific fees from the Constitution and Bylaws. Changes in amounts thereafter were set by convention resolution, eliminating the need for Bylaws changes.

The Fraternity’s fiscal structure includes several separate funds. Each fund has its creation within the Constitution and Bylaws and a specific purpose that may be altered only by convention vote. The funds include:

 Alpha Memorial Fund: Begun as a scholarship fund in 1909, this fund receives the Founders’ Day Pennies of members and is used for scholarships and loans to members. It was named in memory of Alpha Chapter in 1917.

Aglaia Endowment Fund/Development Fund: A fund to finance publication of The Aglaia was started in 1913 with life subscription fees. To use the advantage of tax laws, the money was transferred to a Development Fund in 1970, to be used for scholarships and housing loans, and for carrying out the leadership and citizenship development programs of the Fraternity. Since 1970 The Aglaia has been published from current operating funds.

Social Service Endowment Fund: This fund was set up in 1925 to assure financial support of the Healthmobile. Its income has since supported other philanthropic endeavors such as International Study Grants, scholarships, grants to Project HOPE and funding publication of a Philanthropic Manual in the 1990s. Income was turned over to Phi Mu Foundation annually by convention resolution until 1992 when the entire fund was transferred to the Foundation for administration.

 Life Membership Endowment Fund: Started as a voluntary fee of $50 in 1929, the life membership was lowered to $35 during Great Depression years, then to $25 in 1938 if the member was already an Aglaia subscriber. It was raised to $30 at the 1980 convention and to $40 effective in July 1997. The life membership fee paid national dues for life and was made compulsory for every collegiate member after July 1, 1962. Its principal is a source of funds for chapter housing. Interest on investments may be transferred to the Current Operating Fund, unless set aside in accordance with Internal Revenue Service codes for qualifying educational or leadership programs of the Fraternity. At the 1984 National Convention, the life membership fee was incorporated into the initiation fee, which included a 10-year subscription to The Aglaia.

 Chapter Endowment Fund: All funds from the sale of the property of revoked chapters were consolidated in a Chapter Endowment Fund established by the 1952 National Convention. The fund was designated for the reactivation of those chapters or for assisting active chapters. Its income could be used to enrich and benefit collegiate chapter programs. Memorials and other gifts were added to the fund shortly after it was established, and certain chapters and individuals contributed stock that they held in the Panhellenic House.

Funds from the Centennial Fund not specified for other purposes were placed in the Endowment Fund “to help strengthen our present collegiate chapters and to help add new chapters to our roll,” according to Louise Lane Moore, Psi, then National Finance Director. The fund continues to carry out its original intent. However, modifications were made at the 1988 convention that allowed income from that date on to accrue to the funds deposited on behalf of each chapter.

Leadership Conference Fund: This fund helps defray costs for collegiate and alumnae chapter presidents and Chapter Advisers to attend Leadership Conferences. It started in 1968 with a 50-cent annual assessment of each collegiate member. The fee was increased to $1.00, then $2.00 and is presently $6.00. Beginning in 1972, alumnae were first assessed 50 cents and later $2.00 each annually to support their costs of attending these conferences.

Convention Fund: The practice of a “convention tax” of $3 from each initiation fee began in 1913 to pay transportation for collegiate delegates to National Conventions. The amount has gradually increased, and since 1996, $25 from each initiation fee has been allocated to the convention fund. Convention registration fees add to the fund to support National Convention expenses. Beginning in 1921, alumnae paid a per capita tax into the fund to defray convention travel expenses, but the transportation allowance for alumnae was eliminated in 1962.

Memorial Headquarters Building Fund: In1968, convention delegates voted to designate 50 cents per member yearly to the Foundation for a Memorial Headquarters Fund. However, when revised tax laws made it doubtful the Foundation could finance a headquarters building, the Fraternity established a like fund in 1970 and continued the assessment. The Fraternity’s Executive Office Fund was consolidated in 1985 with its Memorial Headquarters Building Fund. In 1992 the fee reached $4 per member for collegians. It was raised in 1996 by graduated amounts until it reached $6 by 2001. At the 1996 convention, alumnae, who had been paying $2.00, agreed to match the $4 that collegians were then paying.

 National Housing/Decorating Custodial Fund: This fund is composed of Housing/Decorating fees deposited by collegiate chapters and house corporations. Since 1986, chapters without house corporations have been required to deposit the mandatory Housing/Decorating fees collected from initiates. House corporations have the option of participating or maintaining Housing/Decorating accounts locally. Each chapter’s funds and interest income are separately accounted for. Withdrawals are limited to use for housing, building, remodeling and decorating costs.

 Current Operating Fund: The largest portion of the Fraternity’s total revenue comes into the Current

Operating Fund and is derived mainly from member dues and fees. Likewise, it is the source of most of the Fraternity’s expenditures, including Executive Office operations, Chapter Consultant program, production of The Aglaia and other publications, and officer travel and expenses. Some royalties, fines, sales of licensed merchandise and chapter supplies, and revenues from the Phi Mu Classic Visa credit card introduced in 1987 supplement the fund.

For information on ways to give back to Phi Mu, please visit our friends over at Phi Mu Foundation at


Source: Lamb, Annadell. C. The History of Phi Mu: The First 150 Years. The Grace Group, 2002. Print