March 2021 Alumnae Chapter of the Month: Cleveland, Ohio

This month, we are excited to feature the Cleveland Alumnae Chapter. Founded in 1922, this alumnae chapter has been connecting sisters in northeast Ohio for nearly 100 years. Read on to learn more about how the Cleveland Alumnae Chapter has pivoted during the pandemic to continue providing meaningful experiences for its members and support various philanthropic initiatives.  

In September 2020, the Cleveland Alumnae Chapter Photo hosted a socially-distanced boxed dinner for members, in place of their normal potluck meal.

Philanthropy/Support of CMN Hospitals

  • Our local CMN Hospital is the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.
  • So far this fiscal year, we have raised $465 for CMN Hospitals.
  • In the past, we have done service projects at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital but due to COVID-19, we have not been able to plan any in-person service projects.
  • In December, we provided members with a list of items to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland to support the families there during the holiday season.
  • We contributed $115 to the Cleveland Food Bank through donations made at a virtual mixology event in October 2020. Becky Repasky, Beta Nu (Bethany College), is a bartender and she taught us how to make several fall-themed drinks at this fun event.
  • Our chapter has donated $7,415 to Phi Mu Foundation over the past 50 years.
  • We are also very active in supporting the philanthropic activities of the Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic Association.

Fun Chapter Facts

  • We have approximately 10 collegiate chapters represented in our paid membership.
  • Our members come from throughout northeast Ohio. We have members who live in five different counties spread out over a total of just under 4,000 square miles.
An example of Valentine’s baskets the Cleveland alumnae have provided to their Heart to Heart chapters.

Collegiate Chapter Support

  • We hold a joint Founders’ Day Luncheon and program with our collegiate sisters every year.
  • We have two Heart to Heart chapters that we support: Delta Omega at Case Western Reserve University and Rho Lambda at Cleveland State University.
  • We recognize an outstanding Phi from both chapters each year with a small monetary gift.
  • We give each H2H chapter a gift every year – either something that the chapter has requested or something that we know they need.
  • We also give gifts to each collegian in February (i.e. movie night or game night supplies, spa items, candy and cards, etc.).
  • We have a chapter liaison for each of the collegiate chapters who keeps in close contact with them. 
  • We also try to connect with the graduating seniors at the end of each academic year to welcome them to the third dimension of membership and make sure they understand the benefits of alumnae chapter involvement.
In March 2020, shortly after COVID-19 shutdown the country, Cleveland Alumnae Chapter members pivoted to Zoom meetings.

Staying Connected During COVID-19

  • We were able to hold our kick-off meeting in person by serving boxed dinners and keeping socially distanced.
  • Since then, we have held most meetings through a virtual platform. We have gotten creative with the programming to accommodate meeting remotely: we hosted a mixology event to raise money for the Cleveland Foodbank, a movie night to watch “Steel Magnolias” where we also provided members with some southern cooking recipes to enhance their evening, Vendor Bingo which featured 10 rounds of bingo each sponsored by a different business and our annual book review, as well as several other meetings.
  • Our Secretary created and sent cards to all alumnae members and H2H sisters to stay connected during this challenging winter.

Interesting Facts About Our Members

  • Our members are extremely active in the community. Several members are active at the National level with Phi Mu including Delta Iota Chapter alumnae Samantha Pringle Gottesman, Carri Metcalfe, Alicia Piotrowski and Christine VanHorn.
  • Several of our members serve on Advisory Councils for local collegiate chapters including Mary Kolar-Denunzio, Delta Mu (Youngstown State University), Kali Blankenship Griffith, Rho Lambda (Cleveland State University), Ali Piotrowski, Delta Iota (Baldwin Wallace University), Ashley King, Delta Iota (Baldwin Wallace University), Samantha Wargo, Rho Lambda (Cleveland State University), Kathleen McCurdy, Rho Lambda (Cleveland State University), Jill Courson Mahar, Epsilon Omicron (Southern Arkansas University), and Christina Serrano, Delta Delta (Ohio University).
  • Three of our members are former Presidents of the Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic Association (CAPA) and our delegates have repeatedly served on the Education Foundation of the CAPA.
  • One of our members made goody bags for every family in her church for the holidays and personally delivered each one.
  • Several of our members are involved in their children’s activities – sports, church, school and Scouts.
  • One of our members is a Past President of the Cleveland Visiting Nurses Association, one is a Past President of the Baldwin-Wallace University Alumnae Association, one spends every summer running the Heritage Hall Museum for the Lakeside Heritage Society, two are Vice Presidents of their companies and one is a former national officer of a national music fraternity. Many of our members are active in their respective churches, serving in music, on committees and helping with various service projects.