When the men of the Eta Boule Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity decided to make a significant donation to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to support its ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts, it was no act of distant charity. It was an act of fellowship in a crisis to help people close to them.
“With all this food scarcity, we all have friends and families in the middle of this,” said Christopher Terry, chairman of the Eta Boule Foundation.
The Eta Boule Foundation donated $100,000 to the Urban League on Saturday, June 20 at the Urban League’s most recent mass distribution of food and necessities in North St. Louis. The chapter has 72 members, and all of them contributed to the foundation to support this donation, according to Dr. Richard White, sire archon for the chapter.
Many of the archons gathered at the Urban League service event behind the Victor Roberts Building on North Kingshighway Boulevard to help distribute the food and necessities.
“We see an immediate need for this campaign,” White said. “Our community is drastically effected by this incredible catastrophe.”
The fundraising began several years ago with a benefit concert at the Sheldon, which was timed around Father’s Day. This year, a concert was not possible because of the pandemic, so archons made personal contributions to reach the $100,000 goal.
“This was a sacrifice on the part of our archons,” White said. “Our archons are affected by this as much as anyone in the community. We all made sacrifices to support our brothers and sisters in the community.”
The Urban League was an “easy” choice of beneficiary, Terry said, because of its unquestioned leadership in supporting the community throughout the COVID-19 crisis with massive weekly food service events. It did not hurt that Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, is an archon.
“The Urban League is truly grateful to the Eta Boule for this historic contribution,” McMillan said. “The personal generosity of every single member of the fraternity is overwhelming at this very significant time of need. We will continue to partner to help those most in need throughout the region.”
Currently, the local Urban League is working to shift its massive relief efforts to the neighborhood level through churches and the Federation of Block Units. It will have a partner in Eta Boule as its relief model evolves, because the engagement will be ongoing.
“We know this is not going away,” Terry said. “The foundation is going to be there. We are determining what to do next and how to stay involved. It’s going to be a long haul. We want to help the Urban League do even more in the community.”