URI sororities, fraternities raise $137,000 for charities during Philanthropy Week

Proceeds going to Jonnycake Center, VFW and Toys for Tots

KINGSTON, R.I. – Dec. 21, 2022 – Some people start their holiday shopping many months before the season arrives. 

But members of the University of Rhode Island’s sororities and fraternities took only a week or so to raise $137,000 to help local charities make the holiday season a little brighter for those in need. The money will support the Jonnycake Center for Hope in Peace Dale, Washington County VFW Post 916 in Peace Dale and Toys for Tots.

URI’s Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council, the umbrella organizations respectively for the sororities and fraternities, worked under their joint Philanthropy Committee to run fund-raising events Nov. 14 through 18. Philanthropy Week and Greek Week, which is held in the spring, are the Greek communities’ main fundraisers.

The Johnycake Center for Hope also received financial support from URI’s sororities and fraternities. From left are Nathan Golart, Samantha Salerno, Alicia Monnes, director of administration and finance at the Johnycake Center and Kelsey Gil.

“This is a result of Panhel, IFC and the philanthropy and programming team, working to get our community passionate about fundraising,” said Samantha Salerno, a junior nursing major from Bethpage, New York, and the vice president of philanthropy and service for the Panhellenic Council. “We have people deeply involved in creating websites and programming.”

Salerno said that a little before Philanthropy Week, the committee pairs the fraternities and sororities for fundraising and competitive events. Key volunteers can spend up to 20 hours on these.

And that effort comes through in the spirit found in the Philanthropy Week events: A dance competition modeled after a popular TV reality show, Powderpuff Football, Capture the Flag, Jeopardy, Minute to Win It. To raise money, Panhel and IFC sell bracelets to the chapters and for some events, they sell tickets to the general public.

“Our most popular event is the dance event, during which we packed the 900-seat Edwards Hall,” Salerno said. “When we held up the oversized check with the total amount raised, everyone looked so happy. When we present individual checks to each agency, that’s just an entirely different level because you know that the money is going to help people.”

Salerno said that such a commitment is central to her life at URI.

“For me, taking on community service has always been important, and that’s why I took the vice president of philanthropy role,” she said. “it’s important to show the contributions of the Greek Community and the positive impact we have and how we can help people.”

The key Philanthropy Week teams and their members are:

Panhellenic and IFC Philanthropy Team:

Vice President of Philanthropy and Service- Samantha Salerno, Bethpage, New York

Director of Service and Involvement- Nathan Goulart, North Kingstown

Philanthropy and Service Chair- Kelsey Gil, Seaford, New York

Panhellenic and IFC Programming Team:

Vice President of Programming- Lily Rodger, Philadelphia

Director of Programming- Christopher Atkinson, Riverhead, New York

Programming Chair- Francesca Ordonez, Stamford, Connecticut

Event winners:

Dance competition- Delta Zeta, Sigma Alpha Mu, Tau Epsilon Phi

Powderpuff- Alpha Delta Pi and Sigma Chi

Capture the Flag- Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Gamma Delta, Zeta Tau Alpha

Jeopardy- Delta Zeta, Sigma Alpha Mu, Tau Epsilon Phi; Sigma Delta Tau, Delta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon

Minute to Win It- Chi Omega, Kappa Sigma; Sigma Delta Tau, Delta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon

Highest Fundraising- Alpha Delta Pi, Sigma Chi

Overall Week Winners- Sigma Kappa, Theta Chi 

(Jeopardy and Minute to Win It events had 2 winners)