History is everywhere and you can be surprised what you can learn from your archives. This is especially true for our work with fraternities and sororities. While many assume their history will only be of interest to their members, the materials in their archives provide historical insight more broadly.
Those digital museums can then communicate their history and their impact on larger trends and events. We recently worked with our friends at Fraternal Law Partners to develop this handy reference sheet with specific information about qualifying for 501c3 Foundation grants.
When considering what a Foundation can fund for a history project, there is one primary overarching question:
Does the archived material place the fraternity or sorority into a broader context?
“Broader context” can mean a number of things. It could refer to Greek organizations as a whole, higher education, the Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights and much more.
If the answer to the above question is yes, then your organization is very likely eligible for a grant through your Foundation. That funding could contribute to costs associated with maintenance, curation, digital preservation and display of archived materials, in such a way that they further the Foundation’s educational purposes.
It is important to note that, in order to be eligible for funding through your Foundation, the online access to archived materials must be available to the general public, not limited solely to members of the fraternity or sorority. As a general rule, Greek-letter digital museums created by HistoryIT meet this criterion.
Examples of Fundable Archived Material
Greek Letter Societies & Higher Education
Most historical documents and items of a fraternity or sorority place them in the larger context of Greek letter societies and higher education. Our blog post on Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) provides a few examples.
History of Women or Men
Many historical documents and items in chapter archives connect to a social history of women or men, such as how the fraternity or sorority experience shaped and defined their individual role in society. These archival materials can often also speak to the way in which women’s and men’s roles in society have changed over the last century.
For example, Electa Whipple, an Alpha Phi alumnae, became a physician in 1884, when women comprised only 4% of that profession. She established her own practice and advocated for more women to join the field. The organization’s archive and digital museum contains Electa’s story, as well as those of many other pioneering women. Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Levere Memorial Temple is another great illustration of fraternal materials sharing a broader story. The temple’s namesake, Billy Levere, championed its construction to honor members who served and died in WWI. SAE’s digital museum includes some rich military history.
Scholastic Achievement & Leadership Ability
Educational trends, public service and philanthropy are pervasive themes in almost all Greek-letter archives. Quarterly magazines describe programs and projects throughout the decades. Digital museums also often contain biographical profiles of outstanding members and the impactful work that they did in their field.
How HistoryIT Can Help
Fraternities and sororities constitute about 30% of our clientele. We have extensive experience helping Greek organizations create interactive digital museums that showcase their history and place that history in a broader context.
The digital preservation of can history afford your organization the chance to be transparent, to respond honestly to questions and to effect change in order to shape a path forward. As we discussed in our blog on how to talk about difficult history, a digital archive empowers you to activate your history. The capability of addressing these topics and visually connecting your organization’s history to contemporary events are what HistoryIT is here to help with — what 501c3 Foundations are interested in funding.
Contact us today to receive a quote to include in your grant application.