Influence Through Philanthropy: Engaging Members and Serving the Local and Global Community
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Session presented on Tuesday, September 20, 2016: Innate to the culture of the Beta Xi chapter is the spirit of service and promotion of service and philanthropy. Our desire to promote the welfare of others is expressed through fundraising support and monetary donations in our local communities as well as celebrating member successes while remaining socially conscience of global needs. Beta Xi is committed to demonstrating altruistic and compassionate values in the chapter, community and global initiatives. There is a dearth in the literature regarding philanthropic activities in nursing. Most of the literature focuses on academia. However, the nursing profession can benefit from philanthropy to advance the health of the nation (Judge, 2014). Maloney (2014) describes an intersection between nursing and charitable giving beyond financial donations. Throughout the year, the Beta Xi Chapter is involved in annual philanthropy and service as well as meeting immediate needs of the local and global community. The continued tradition of celebrating the STTIs annual Founders Day with 90 Minutes of Service on October 5th aligns with our chapter's passion for Philanthropy. The act of giving is contagious when the outcomes and personal enjoyment in providing service is displayed to others. With this in mind, Beta Xi members were asked to share services completed during this week on social media platforms promoting paying it forward. Beta Xi holds an annual Membership Appreciation night to celebrate our active, inactive and potential members. The opportunity to newly form and reignite collaborative relationships, offer appreciation, and embrace the spirit of giving is cultivated in this informal gathering. For the past three years, Beta Xi has collaborated with the University's Nursing Alumni Network to bring together former graduates, Beta Xi members and promote philanthropy. Each year there is a slightly different theme. One year, current and past presidents were honored for their dedication and contributions to the chapter. One past president has started a new journey for Beta Xi in recognizing and renewing our livacy. Creative writings on individual thoughts, feelings and vision for the future of Beta Xi, Sigma Theta Tau International and the nursing profession were collected. Individuals were encouraged to think about what their legacy would be and were then challenged to actively participate and live that journey. Members were also asked to bring personal hygiene items for a future donation to the Newark Empowerment Center, which supports those who are in need. Beta Xi has a long-standing history of embracing philanthropy and service as a core strategic value. Our service initiatives respond to the needs of vulnerable populations both locally and globally. The outreach endeavors are initiated by, coordinated by, and include a variety of Beta Xi members. Members have formed strategic alliances with numerous community agencies to conduct these efforts, which help publicize the unique contributions of STTI. Community collaborations also help to increase the impact of our service efforts and ensure the sustainability of efforts over time. Beta Xi recognizes the challenges members of our communities face with chronic mental illness. Members of the chapter, in collaboration with local mental health clinics, hold an Annual Holiday Outreach initiative. Upper Bay determines holiday wish list items and then the wish lists are disseminated among members who may purchase items from the list to be presented during the holiday season. These gifts are often in the form of everyday necessities such as clothing and personal hygiene items. This collaborative effort culminates in an annual Holiday Party for the residents with over 50 Beta Xi members contributing either in donations and/or personal time. Our Chapter's Wine Tasting Benefit Event is also held annually in an effort to raise funds for our local and global outreach initiatives. This service initiative involves members and the general community who contribute to the effort either in donations or personal time. Members came out to support the event and donated hygiene products. The chapter receives enough donations to complete over 100 hygiene packs each year for the Newark Empowerment Center which provides support to the homeless. Beta Xi promotes global health in a variety of ways. Our chapter financially supports its members to travel to other countries, where they educate, conduct health screenings, and care for the ill. Beta Xi currently has two Global Ambassadors. Just recently we financially supported one of our members to go to Haiti to teach health hygiene and safe sex practices. She was able to spend one week in a small village where she discussed proper hand hygiene, food safety, and safe sex practices. Another member was supported to go to Kenya to help with health screenings in a local clinic. From this interaction, our Global Ambassador was able to recommend a new member for induction at Biennium. Our ability to maintain a vibrant service outreach orientation that responds to the needs of vulnerable populations locally, regionally, and internationally is directly related to the passion, dedication, and enthusiasm of our members. In addition, Beta Xi maintains a vibrant Service and Philanthropy Committee which supports these efforts through a variety of fund-raising activities.