The Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation is a fully qualified tax-exempt charitable organization. It was founded in 1982 to provide for the educational and developmental needs of fraternity members and Lutheran college students. The foundation was created to perpetuate the qualities of personal worth, responsibility and character as espoused by Beta Sigma Psi Fraternity and the doctrines of the Lutheran Church. The purposes for which the fraternity was formed will guide the actions and decisions of the Board of Directors of the Educational Foundation regarding the disbursement and allocation of funds.
Contributions to the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation are deductible to the extent allowed by law under Section 170 of IRS code. This money is placed in an endowment which generates interest from a portfolio of investments. Interest earned is used to fund annual operations of Beta Sigma Psi as well as special projects. Donors are also able to designate their gifts towards special sub-funds that are set up for specific purposes (such as Academic Scholarships) or collegiate chapters.
If you are interested in donating to the Educational Foundation you can email Adam Rusch, Grants Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the Educational Foundation can be found below:
Educational Foundation FAQ
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation:
Q: How does the Educational Foundation choose scholarship recipients? Why don’t you make sure each chapter gets the same amount of scholarships?
A: Scholarship recipients are chosen based on the criteria noted on each of the application forms: Academic Achievement, Campus Involvement and Financial Need. We consciously avoid considering a member’s chapter in the selection process. To impose quotas would force us to select one person when a person at another chapter may be much more deserving of the scholarship based on the criteria. In a given year, one chapter may receive more scholarships than another. This is especially true of Financial Need scholarships. The demographics and costs of some universities are such that more students are in need of financial aid.
Q: Will I be more likely to get a scholarship if I participate in the Educational Foundation’s phonathon?
A: Participation in the Educational Foundation’s phonathon shows commitment to Beta Sigma Psi and can only help your chances of being selected for a scholarship. However, it is just one aspect. The specific criteria of each award are the primary consideration. The primary monetary reward for participation in the phonathon is the funds that are earned by the chapter for each alumni contact that is made.
Q: How do I apply for an Educational Foundation scholarship?
A: Scholarship application forms are typically distributed to the active chapters in January/February of each year. The applications are due on the date indicated on the forms, before summer break. Those selected to receive a scholarship will be notified shortly thereafter.
Q: How does my chapter apply for a grant from the Educational Foundation?
A: Simply fill out a grant application form found on the Educational Foundation forms page of the website. Follow the instructions carefully, and make sure you have all the proper approvals and other required paperwork in order. It is HIGHLY recommended you submit grant applications BEFORE you spend money for whatever you’re requesting the grant, in case the amount you’ve requested is not available or the grant cannot be approved because it does not meet educational purpose guidelines.
Q: What sorts of items are eligible for a grant?
A: Generally anything which is primarily educational in nature. This would include computers for the chapter (not individuals), printers, computer network components, desks, chapter library or computer room construction, seminars and workshops, and scholarships. Items which are NOT eligible (to be conservative for the IRS) would include heating and cooling systems for a chapter house, plumbing, general construction and maintenance, furniture other than desks, kitchen equipment, and other items where there is no obvious direct educational benefit.
Q: How does the annual phonathon work? Where is it done?
A: Active members use cell phones (either their own, or pre-paid phones provided by the Educational Foundation) to call our Alumni Donors and solicit donations. A member of the Educational Foundation or a National Fraternity staff member is on hand to facilitate the event and help answer any questions that may come up.
Q: How are the dates for the phonathon picked? Do you involve the chapters in the decision?
A: Many years ago, a consultant had told us that November is a good time of year for fundraisers, and this has proven to be successful for us. We try to squeeze the event in between election day and Thanksgiving. Once the timeframe is selected, we then coordinate with the chapters as to which sessions work best for whom.
Q: I would like to donate to the Educational Foundation, but I have not been contacted by the phonathon or by mail. How do I get on the phonathon list and how do I make a donation?
A: Technically everyone who is an alumni member of Beta Sigma Psi is on the phonathon list, if we have a current address and phone number for you. If you have not been contacted, lack of current information for you may be the cause. Be sure to keep your address, phone, and email address up to date with the National Office. The second reason you may not have been contacted is simply lack of time. Only so many phone calls can be made during the phonathon each year. If you have not donated to the Educational Foundation in the last couple years or are a recent graduate, you will not be in the first group of people contacted, since the first people called are those who donated last year. To make a donation to the Educational Foundation, you can send a check to the National Office made out to the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation, and be sure to include your chapter and initiation year on a note.
Q: What happens to my donations to the Educational Foundation?
A: Normal donations of less than $200 are placed in the Educational Foundation’s general fund and used for a variety of things – annual expenses, National scholarships, National programs, and various others Donations of $200 and greater can be designated for endowment to a specific sub-fund. Available sub-funds for endowment include chapters currently in operation, the John Judge Memorial Campaign for Excellence, National Office Operations, Scholarships and Grants, Ethical Leadership Education, Timothy Kettler Christian Leadership Award, William Welge Scholarship Fund, Seminary Scholarships (alumni), and National Expansion/Recruitment. The investment earnings from these sub-funds are then used to fund scholarships, equipment, materials, and programming specifically for those purposes. The endowed donations remain invested for perpetuation.
Educational Foundation Board of Directors
Steve Hollrah, Chairman
David Jackson, Vice-Chairman
Rod Thompson, Treasurer
Bill Braun, Secretary
Adam Rusch, Grants Director
Fred Andrews, Special Projects Director
Mike Nolte, Scholarship Director
Scott Gessell, Spiritual Director
Kirk Meyer, Director
What are Directors?
The Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors is guided by the following expectations:
What the Educational Foundation expects of a director:
Membership – According to the Educational Foundation’s By-Laws, Article II, Section 3, “Directors shall be elected from the membership of the organization. A person becomes a member of the organization…by making an annual contribution of at least thirty dollars.” The Educational Foundation expects that each director is a member in good standing.
Participation – The Educational Foundation expects a director to be available for five meetings each year, typically four conference calls and one face-to-face meeting. The Educational Foundation pays for the costs of the conference calls and for the actual expenses to conduct the face-to-face meeting. Each director is expected to provide transportation to the meeting location and lodging, if necessary. These expenses are typically tax deductible as a gift-in-kind (charitable) donation to the Educational Foundation. In cases where the cost of transportation is prohibitive, Educational Foundation funds may be available to reimburse the director.
Energy – The Educational Foundation expects a director to be able to work independently to solve a problem in the required time frame. It is not expected that a director possess knowledge about every issue that faces the Educational Foundation, but the ability to be resourceful and the willingness to learn new things is important.
Creativity – The Educational Foundation expects a director to experiment with new ideas. Maintaining the status quo does not ensure progress — in fact, it inhibits it. The Educational Foundation needs to take reasonable risks by trying new ideas in order that the Educational Foundation and the National Fraternity may prosper.
Integrity – The Educational Foundation expects a director to exhibit unquestionable integrity at all times. The directors are the trustees of the donor’s funds. A director must be ever mindful of the source of these funds and must be able to clearly distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate use of these funds.
Stewardship – The Educational Foundation expects a director to leave the Educational Foundation better off than before his involvement. Progress is the goal of our efforts.
Accountability – The Educational Foundation expects a director to be accountable for the board’s and his own actions. A director has an obligation to serve the donors or “shareholders” of this organization. Directors are elected to three year terms. As part of the election process, a director’s record is subject to disclosure and review by the electorate, just as directors of a corporation and candidates for public office.
What a director can expect from the Educational Foundation:
Respect – The Educational Foundation will treat all directors with respect at all times. All ideas and opinions are welcome and valued
Appreciation – The Educational Foundation sincerely appreciates the efforts of its entirely volunteer board of directors. Without such volunteers, the Educational Foundation could not exist.
Recognition – Aware of the quality efforts of the directors, the Educational Foundation publicly recognizes the directors. This is typically performed in The Gold Rose, through a listing of the directors (in every issue) and occasional articles addressing a specific topic.
Progress – Together, the efforts of the board of directors will lead to progress for the Educational Foundation and the fraternity.
Satisfaction – Achievement of the goals of the Educational Foundation will leave the directors with a strong sense of accomplishment — knowing that their efforts were vital to the attainment of the goals.
What a director can expect of the National Office Staff:
Respect, Appreciation, Recognition, and Progress
Knowledge – The National Office Staff possesses considerable knowledge of the fraternity and Educational Foundation’s past and current activities. Additionally, the National Fraternity’s membership in the North-American Interfraternity Conference generate a significant amount of ideas and information about how to solve the problems that confront today’s fraternal organizations and educational foundations.
Referral – The National Office Staff is very limited. Presently, Beta Sigma Psi National Fraternity, the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation and the Beta Sigma Psi (Housing) Foundation receive a total of ten hours per week from Kristina Douglas as National Office Administrator. Additionally, the Leadership Director visits each chapter, as provided for partially by Educational Foundation funding. Representatives of the National Board of Directors also visit each chapter. While the directors of the Educational Foundation are encouraged to leverage the knowledge and expertise of the National Office Staff, the directors must understand that the National Office Staff can rarely provide significant assistance in Educational Foundation matters.
Why does the Educational Foundation exist?
Beta Sigma Psi exists to promote the personal development of its members, our Brothers. By working together, undergraduates are exposed to a wide variety of growth experiences as leaders, followers, and teammates. They manage their own organizations, identify problems, set goals and learn through successes and failures in a supportive environment. This is all part of the fraternity experience that prepares our members for more successful lives.
However, the National Council’s expenses exceed the fraternity’s income from undergraduate and alumni chapter fees. The Educational Foundation helps pay the expenses for member development programs to the limit of its resources. Funds are also used to pay for the National Office and salaries of staff members.
The Educational Foundation must have assured annual income to adequately back these programs which is why a certain percentage of its annual income is placed in an endowment. This will provide the resources in the future for the National Council to concentrate on helping chapters grow and improve the fraternity experience for undergraduate members.
The Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation exists to improve upon and promote educational activities and programs that reflect the purposes of Beta Sigma Psi. It’s that simple. The Foundation is an instrument through which alumni can help younger members lead richer, fuller lives and produce positive results for our society.
Because the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation is a public charity, contributions are tax deductible to the donor. There are definite financial advantages for a member to donate!
Because the directors of the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation must allocate financial resources only to the educational aspects of the Fraternity, it ensures a high priority for a primary purpose of Beta Sigma Psi.
Because the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation pays for educational expenses, more funds will be available to the Fraternity to pay for improved chapter services and for expansion.
Because assistance from the National Fraternity strengthens our chapters, we are able to help them grow and provide a better environment for the fraternity experience.
Because the Fraternity needs growth in terms of numbers of undergraduate members, both the chapters and the national organization benefit from the increased cash flow generated by contributions to the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation.
It is evident that by establishing the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation, the Fraternity has provided a more efficient way for members to advance the purpose of our founders.
History of the Educational Foundation
The origins of the Educational Foundation trace back to the Erck Memorial Scholarship Loan Fund, which was incorporated in the State of Nebraska on May 4, 1960. The organization was established to celebrate the life of the Reverend H. Erck, one of the founders of Delta Chapter and first National Pastoral Advisor, who died in 1959. The original incorporators and directors were: John Hingst, Eldo Schornhorst, Del Lienemann, Donald M. Froelich & Larry Edwards.
On March 22, 1968, with Bill Bunte serving as President of the corporation, a resolution was adopted to change the name to the Erck Foundation. The name change was filed with the Secretary of State on April 30 of that year. In late 1981, National President Ralph Folkerts contacted fellow alumnus Lloyd Karmeier and asked that he attempt to pursue Internal Revenue Service charitable status for the foundation. Directors of the Erck Memorial Scholarship Loan Fund and Erck Foundation had previously attempted to gain charitable status, but without success. Internal Revenue Service regulations made changing the foundation’s status very difficult – so difficult that it would be easier to start with a new foundation. So, in a letter dated January 29, 1982, Ralph announced that plans were to be made to create a new foundation, the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation. On March 1, 1982, Lloyd filed the necessary papers with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation was officially created. The Erck Foundation funds were transferred as the first “donation” to the new foundation . The original directors of the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation were:
Al Panhorst, Chairman
Bob Hillard, Vice Chairman
Kevin Christ, Secretary/Treasurer
Bill Bunte, Director
Ralph Folkerts, Director
Lloyd Karmeier, Director
The IRS acknowledged the filing of the application on October 18, 1982 and provided the directors with a list of requirements and requests for additional information on November 22, 1982. On April 5, 1983, Kevin Christ received a telephone call from the IRS indicating approval of the exemption application on a probationary basis, subject to final review of the actual operations of the foundation at the end of three years. The first fund raising activity was conducted in order to satisfy the IRS “test of public support” requirement, which is based on quantity of donors, not quantity of dollars donated. So, a campaign was launched, soliciting a $1 donation from each Beta Sigma Psi member.
Over 1,100 alumni responded with a donation. By a letter dated April 25, 1985, the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation received its final tax exempt approval letter, becoming qualified as a non-profit charitable organization as defined by section 501(c)3 of IRS regulations. Therefore, contributions are tax deductible, to the extent allowed by law.
The first of what would become annual Educational Foundation phonathon fund raisers was conducted in 1985. Keith Dierberg envisioned the phonathon as an opportunity for alumni members to support the on-going programs of Beta Sigma Psi. Generous alumni support has made the annual phonathon a huge success. To date, over $1,200,000 has been raised through the phonathon, of which over $600,000 is now (permanently) endowed. The Chairmen of the Educational Foundation have been:
Al Panhorst, 1982-1984
Keith Dierberg, 1984-1988
Scott Gesell, 1988-1989
David Johnson, 1989-1990
Kevin Christ, 1990-1991
Paul Mellring, 1992 (interim)
Steve Panhorst, 1992-2002
Keith Dierberg, 2002-2005
Kirk Meyer, 2005-2011
Steve Hollrah, 2011-present
The Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation was founded to promote educational activities and programs that reflect the purposes of Beta Sigma Psi Fraternity. It is an instrument through which alumni can help younger members lead richer, fuller lives, and produce positive results for our society. The future of the Educational Foundation, and of Beta Sigma Psi Fraternity, will be determined by each of us, through our donations and our time commitment.
Educational Foundation Case Statement
The following is a summary of the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation’s Educational Programming Mission. A full copy of our Case Statement, which contains details on all aspects of our mission, goals and methods of operation, is available upon request.
To support Beta Sigma Psi National Fraternity through the sponsorship of scholarships and educational programs which encourage spiritual growth, scholastic excellence, and leadership.
To consistently and completely sponsor Beta Sigma Psi national and chapter educational programs, including membership recruitment, expansion, membership education, and the enhancement of educational resources.
Encourage Spiritual Growth
- To sponsor educational programs which encourage spiritual growth.
Encourage Scholastic Excellence
- To sponsor scholarship grants and awards which inspire and recognize collegiate academic achievement and campus involvement.
- To sponsor scholarship grants and loans for college students who require financial assistance.
- To sponsor the enhancement of educational resources such as libraries and learning equipment.
- To sponsor seminars on specific academic initiatives.
6. To sponsor national awards which inspire and recognize excellence in individual leadership and chapter management and operations.
7. To facilitate special scholarships recognizing outstanding leadership.
8. To sponsor leadership seminars to educate, enlighten and train members.
Sponsor Beta Sigma Psi Educational Programs
- To sponsor seminars and other grants to encourage increased membership and expansion.
- To sponsor seminars and the development of other materials to educate members on a variety of topics ranging from risk management to career opportunities.
- To sponsor grants and loans for educational programs which are consistent with the mission and goals of the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation.
- To maintain the Foundation through a three-phase plan
- Phase 1: To raise sufficient funds to enable the sponsorship of the programs of the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation.
- Phase 2: To raise sufficient funds to grow the endowment fund so that the endowment fund’s earnings can fund the educational programs sponsored by the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation.
- Phase 3: To raise sufficient funds to grow the endowment fund above the rate of inflation, preserving the present-day asset value of the endowment fund.
- To manage the endowment fund as a set of sub-funds, each targeted towards specific purpose(s), aligned with the mission and goals of the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation.
Asset Allocation and Management
The Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation’s assets are grouped into an unrestricted (general) fund and an endowment fund. The unrestricted fund is presently used to finance fund raising activities, scholarships, and various educational programs. The endowment fund consists of a collection of special-purpose sub-funds, each supporting one or more of the Educational Foundation’s strategies. The principal of the endowment fund is preserved. Only the earnings from the endowment fund are available for distribution. Sub-funds exist for each chapter of Beta Sigma Psi along with sub-funds for National Programs, William Welge Memorial Scholarships, Ethical Leadership Education, and the Timothy R. Kettler Christian Leadership Award.
Educational Grant Process
Funds for educational programming sponsored by the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation are distributed in response to grant requests. The process consists of a two-page grant application form and may be supplemented by additional information. Anyone may prepare a grant request. The Educational Foundation requires the following steps for certain types of requests:
For active chapters:
- Obtain approval from the active chapter’s executive board.
- Obtain approval from the alumni chapter’s executive board.
- Ensure that all active chapter and alumni chapter bills payable to the National Fraternity are paid in full.
For alumni chapters:
- Obtain approval from the alumni chapter’s executive board.
- Ensure that all active chapter and alumni chapter bills payable to the National Fraternity are paid in full.
For national programs:
- Obtain approval from the National Finance Committee.
All grant request forms should be submitted to the Educational Foundation at the address specified on the letterhead on the form. Grant requests are acted upon by the Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors. Grant application forms received by the last day of January, March, June and October will receive a response within one month of those deadlines. Receipts or other appropriate documentation are required prior to the payment of all grants.
It is estimated that between $5,000 and $10,000 of each active and alumni chapter’s annual expenses are educational in nature. These programs could be funded by grants from the Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation, with sufficient donor support. This would free up chapter funds to be used on other worthwhile projects.
National Fraternity educational expenses consistently exceed $25,000 per year. As the National Fraternity’s primary sources of income are the Educational Foundation and member dues/fees, numerous programs must be abandoned when these funds are not sufficient. Additional donor support would enable expanded scholarship, leadership and membership recruitment programs from the National Fraternity.
Lastly, to provide strong recognition of academic achievement and campus involvement and to provide significant assistance to those with financial need, ten scholarships of $1,000 each are necessary.
Governance and Staffing
The Beta Sigma Psi Educational Foundation is led by a volunteer board of directors. Educational Foundation members (donors of $30 or more per year) are empowered to participate in the election of the directors. Officers of the Educational Foundation are chosen by the directors.
Educational Foundation Endowment Objectives
I. Objectives of the Endowment Fund
The Educational Foundation will supervise an endowment for the purpose of maintaining designated funds in perpetuity, so that earnings from those funds may be used to support selected Foundation programs.
II. Sources of Designation of Funds
A. Sources – Any donation to the Foundation may be designated by the giver, in whole or in part, but in no event less than 10 percent, to the endowment. Donations to the Foundation at or over $200.00, but under $10,000 will either considered unrestricted or endowed in whole to the Foundation. Funds not so designated at the time the gift is made will be deposited to the Foundation’s general fund. In addition to donations, the Foundation may also secure loans from individuals or groups. The principal of such loans will be held by the Foundation for repayment, and will, in whole or in part, inure to the Foundation. Specific terms of such loans will be subject to the decision of the board of directors. Donations to the Foundation specifically for facility renovation programs may be designated as such for any amount. The $200-$10,000 donation segment noted previously does not apply to such donations.
B. Designation – For investment purposes, the endowment will be treated as a single pooled fund, but actually will be comprised of designated sub-funds and an unrestricted fund.
- Designated sub-funds – Funds may be earmarked for specific Chapters or for specific Foundation programs. The Treasurer will regularly report the amount of principal contributed to date by segment and the amount of earnings available for each segment, based upon donations and an average growth rate for the entire endowment. Use of earnings from segments earmarked for a specific chapter’s benefit will be determined by that chapter’s alumni officers, with the proviso that the proceeds only be used for purposes within the Foundation’s charter and not in violation of the growth objectives outlined below. Active chapters which do not have a corresponding alumni chapter shall have their earnings usage approved by the National Board of Directors.
- National Programs Fund – Donations made to the endowment, but not specifically earmarked for a specific chapter’s benefit or for a specific Foundation program will constitute the endowment’s National Programs fund. Use of earnings from this segment of the fund will be determined by the Foundation’s board of directors.
- Facility renovation sub-funds – Funds may be earmarked for specific chapter facility improvement programs. Chapters may conduct capital fundraising campaigns and deposit donations with the Foundation to then educationally related facility improvement projects. Funds managed by the Foundation may gain earnings during the time managed, which will be added to the total value of the subfund when the funds are withdrawn. Such projects are subject to the guidelines of the Chapter Facility Renovation Funding Program.
III. Investment Policies
A. Investment Management – Management of the endowment will be the responsibility of the Foundation’s board of directors, who may delegate specific investment practices to an Investment Manager. This Investment Manager may be a director of the Foundation.
B. Principal Maintenance – With regard to income, the Foundation board of directors expects income of at least 6%, and will disburse no more than 90% of its annual net interest earnings. Undisbursed interest income will be retained in the principal. These growth objectives apply to the endowment as a whole, and to its segments. Interest income only will be disbursed. Unrealized gains due to growth of the principal shall be retained in the principal.
C. Liquidity Reserve – To ensure liquidity to satisfy the endowment’s scholarship and grant objectives, the Investment Manager will maintain a liquidity reserve sufficient to cover current and anticipated annual disbursement needs.
D. Other Policies – Assets will be valued at least annually by the designated Investment Manager in connection with the preparation of the Foundation’s financial statements. Investment performance will be evaluated annually by the board of directors, after a review of the financial statements.
E. Administrative Fees – All donations to the Educational Foundation shall be subject to an Administrative Fee at the time of donation. For each designated sub-fund, the Foundation reserves the right to impose a management fee of up to 1.5% of balances to cover administrative costs. This fee will be deducted from fund balances at the end of each fiscal year and recorded as annual operating revenue. Donations received as part of a facility renovation program will not be subject to the annual management fee. Such donations will be subject to the following fee schedule: 1% to the chapter’s regular subfund; 1% to the Foundation’s unrestricted subfund endowment; 1% to the Foundation’s operations budget.
IV. Uses of Fund Proceeds
Use of endowment proceeds from the National Programs fund will be determined by the Foundation board. Interest income only will be disbursed, as endowment proceeds from the sub-funds. Unrealized gains due to growth of the principal shall be retained in the principal.
A. Disclosure – Annually, the Board Chairman or someone designated by the Board Chairman will notify individual alumni chapter officers of the status of their chapter’s segment of the endowment, and discuss possible uses of proceeds allowable within the confines of these investment policies and within the realm of the Foundation’s charter.
B. Succession – If an active chapter ceases to exist on a campus for a continuous period of three years, its sub-fund will revert to the Expansion and Recruitment Fund.
V. Reports on Condition
Reports on the condition of the endowment and its sub-funds shall be published annually in The Gold Rose, and shall be available upon request to Fraternity officers and alumni chapter officers.
Willing to the Educational Foundation
Many generous Beta Sigs have included the Educational Foundation as a charitable organization designated in their Last Will and Testaments. If you have any questions on making a pledge to include us in your will, or would like sample language to include in your legal documents, please contact us for more information.