The History of the Greater Kansas City, Kansas, Alumnae Club
The Greater Kansas City, Kansas, Alumnae Club's community believes that there is no finer example of delivering on the Fraternity’s mission than to promote friendship, develop women of intellect and integrity, cultivate leadership potential and enrich lives through community service. The club helps alumnae do this.
Throughout the club's long history, members have consistently responded to changes in member needs, interests, demographics and geography. In the 1940s, working girls met for dinner on the evenings of the alumnae club luncheon meetings. A Junior Club (Night Group) was formed in 1964 to attract young alums just out of college. In 1970, the club name was changed to Kansas City-Shawnee Mission, Kansas, Alumnae Club to incorporate members living in Johnson County, Kansas. In 2013, the club’s strategic plan prompted the name change to the Greater Kansas City, Kansas, Alumnae Club to reflect the current member profile.
The club has had a long tradition of leadership and service to the international Fraternity. Since 1927, 45 club members have served as international officers, including four members of Grand Council. In 1985, Kansas City was privileged to host the Pi Beta Phi Convention.
The century of philanthropic service started in 1918, when the club adopted a soldier from Gatlinburg and sent him needed items during World War I. In 1927, the Greater Kansas City, Kansas, Alumnae Club was asked to serve as an official fundraising committee for the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity $50,000 Endowment Fund. When the campaign was completed in 1939, the club was its largest contributor. The club championed the Settlement School and was a top Arrowmont® contributor for many years. That legacy continues each year in the club’s ongoing commitment as a top 10 contributor to Pi Beta Phi Foundation.
For almost 60 years, the club’s very successful New York Theater Tour has been one of the longest running benefit projects of any alumnae club in Pi Beta Phi. The 501c3 Scholarship and Special Needs Fund remains an important outreach for collegians and alumnae in need. Being selected as a Signature Event City for the 2016 Fraternity Day of Service distribution of 20,000 books recognized the club’s commitment to literacy initiatives.
In 1990, the club won its first Premier Club Award, the first of many top honors that both the club and its leaders continually receive in recognition of the quality Pi Beta Phi alumnae experiences that are offered in Kansas City.
The successful fall “kick-off” event, formerly The Progressive Dinner and now Progressive Pi Phis, continues to bring new Pi Phis to their first event, while for many it is a reunion. The club adapted the format to two homes instead of three, hoping a streamlined format fit everyone’s busy lives better.
The club support the club’s three closest collegiate chapters with significant number of members for their Alumnae Advisory Committee and Chapter House Corporation groups, and monetary support for the four closest chapters.
The Golden Arrows have a group and programming just for them, they call it Golden Girls, and the club pays for events that are specific to them. Museum Tours, Halloween luncheons, Garden Teas and many other fun events have been popular. The club offer rides and recruit to get new faces there.
Young alumnae too have their own options, and for all-club events that charge a fee they offer a Young Alum price to encourage them to attend.
The Greater Kansas City, Kansas, Alumnae Club sponsors—and has for many years—at least four R.E.A.D. days each year, which involves bringing the trained reading dogs to residents of a retirement home and also to a second grade classroom. The club works with an underserved elementary school group every year for local Fraternity Day of Service, doing a different literacy project each time. The members also serve by collecting books for the club’s local literacy partners, and the club’s main partner is Reach Out and Read KC.
In 2015, the club started assisting a local Jewish Women’s Association in their project to get jewelry to children in lower income schools to give to the significant woman in their lives for Mother’s Day. In the club’s first year of this, they collected over 25 pounds of jewelry!
The club hosts a series of events that tie into a local not-for-profit, The Family Conservancy Group. This organization gives parenting and life skills training to young mothers and fathers, and rewards them for completing the training by gifting them with diapers, wipes and other needed items.
Awards and Club Recognition
- Club of Excellence (2008)
- Excellence in Programming (2014)
- Premier Club (2009)
- Top 5 Donor to Pi Beta Phi Foundation (2014, 2013)
Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award