Phi Epsilon Phi and Pinewoods Educational Foundation Board Meeting – 2/6/16

significant_sig_wall_photo_1_Februrary 16, 2016

Brothers,

Attached is a picture of our Significant Sig Wall in the Alumni Living Room.  The new pictures add a great deal to the warmth and personality to the room and I hope you all get to see it in person in the near future. [Link to ourSignificant Sigs http://www.sigmachi-rpi.org/alumni]
The meeting was held in Troy with the help of Google Hangout.  We had a great turnout with brothers online from CA (Ken Sobel), Chicago (Jim Campbell), FL (Paul Cosgrave), TX (Bob Shortle), MA (Dan Zuber) and NC (Dan Hudson).  In addition, Thom Kouletsis was able to attend via phone.  Generally, this worked out great with only a few minor glitches.  I have to learn how to keep us from talking over each other and make sure our microphone is centrally placed.
Our biggest topic of conversation was of course the Junior Arch Program.  After my last email to you, on Feb. 1st, I received over 30 responses from you all with many comments and suggestions.  My biggest take aways from your responses and the meeting are as follows.
It was proposed that we work with the Alumni Inter Greek Council and present our suggestions and feedback to Dr. Frank Ross, VP of Residence Life, as soon as we can.  Our major concerns are:
  • In order to avoid a financial burden for our fraternity, the sophomore brothers must be allowed to live in the fraternity during the summer, which will be in keeping with the CLASS initiative, and not forced to live in dorms.
  • The University must be able to insure that every student has an opportunity for a meaningful Experiential Semester by providing either a co-op assignment, a research assignment, a semester abroad or a volunteer experience in order for this to be successful.
  • The Pinewoods Educational Foundation will be willing to help find and perhaps sponsor some of these programs, and will call on all Greek alumni to help in these efforts.
  • Although this is being called a mandatory program, apparently, there will be will be waivers available for athletes whose seasons bridge semesters (e.g. hockey and basketball).  Perhaps waivers could also be extended to student leaders and officers of campus organizations who need to be on campus during their Junior year.
  • Brother Bob Bedard ’75 has volunteered to lead our efforts of developing potential PEF programs for students.
These are the thoughts that have come up so far.  Let me know what you think and/or if you have any additional comments or ideas.
In hoc,
John “Leroy” Pfaff ’71

PEP/PEF Meeting – March 2015

Brothers,

ooc_wall_002_-_copyWe recently held a joint board meeting at 58 Pinewoods  Present in Troy were yours truly, John Pfaff ’71 (PEP President), Dan Zuber ’10 (PEP Secretary), Larry Mentz, ’68 (PEF Secretary), Jim Manocchi, ’75 (PEP President), Bob Eckart, ’73 (Chapter Advisor), and several active undergraduates.  On a conference phone were PEP board members Jim Rossetti ’79, Bob Bedard ’75 and Jim Campbell ’70 and on Google Hangout were PEF board members Paul Cosgrave ’72, Dan Hudson ’70 and Ken Sobel ’12.
Organizationally, we elected Thom Kouletsis ’76 to the PEP board to fill Anu Srivastava’s unexpired term as Treasurer.  Jim Monacchi was confirmed as President of PEF and we approved the expansion of the PEF board from three to five, Paul Cosgrave was made President Emeritus and Ken Sobel was added to the board.
Cos and Jim Manochhi reported on PEF’s recent activities  Cos is working on Scholarships and the completion of our pledges for the fund raising.  Ken, a recent addition to the board, has been working with recent grads on fund raising.  Jim announced he, Bob Bedard and others, including Rui Soares, are putting on three educational seminars at 58 Pinewoods and on campus in March and April.  Foss Hooper ’66 has been talking with the PEF board about setting up a formal system for tax advantaged legacy gifts and it was suggested we set up a system for tax deductable Annual Gifts, similar to  the Rensselear Fund we all know so well.
Dan Hudson reported that our taxes and Form 990’s were complete and will be sent in soon.  Our financial position is strong and we expect to be in good shape to pay of our Constantine Loan and rollover our current mortgage with Pioneer Bank in 2018.
I reported that Bob Eckart and myself met with Dean Todd Schill and Dean Cary Dresher to discuss the RPI campus activity and the Greek Community at RPI.  This is a relatively new initiative to gauge how Sigma Chi is doing on the campus, especially with respect to the latest bad press for fraternities nationally.  Todd and Cary were very complimentary about RPI Greeks and told us that Sigma Chi ranked at the top.  He told us that a strong alumni group makes all the difference and that we are ahead of the pack. We committed our cooperation and told them that PEF’s charter is to work not only with our own chapter but also with the Greek Community and the overall RPI community.  I plan to meet with these guys every 6-8 weeks.
In addition, I met with Geoff Seber in the Alumni Office.  They expect to be able to provide all the data management for maintenance of our address database.  This project has been moving slowly, but Geoff expects to complete it soon.  We will be able to access all the contact information of all our Sigma Chi Alumni anytime we want from our laptops, cellphones, home computers, or other smart devices.
Upcoming events, as outlined in the newsletter, are our summer work party, the weekend of August 22ndand Alumni Weekend, October 2 and 3.  During the summer work party we will be doing various projects and holding our annual House Corporation Meeting and election of our directors.  Alumni Weekend and Homecoming in October will feature our celebration of Delta Psi’s 65th anniversary and the 95th anniversary of the founding of Phi Epsilon Phi.  Be sure to make plans on attending as Oedipus and the Mothers, composed of mostly graduates of the Class of ’65, will be on stage in our Chapter Room.
The final two things I want to report are first that we recently put together framed Order of Constantine photos and certificates for the six members from Delta Psi, including Arch Love ’42,  Larry Mentz, ’68, Bob Jones ’74, Bob Shortle ’74, Bob Hutnick ’71 and Bob Eckart ’73. (See the attached JPG).  Secondly I want do something similar for Delta Psi’s Significant Sigs.

I also would like to elicit your help to put forward more Delta Psi Sigs for recognition by the General Fraternity as Significant Sigs.  Please give this some thought and send me your recommendations.  If possible include a CV with your thoughts.  I know that, like me, you are all proud of being Sigma Chi’s and there is no better way to combat some of the recent adverse publicity about fraternities than to publicize our chapter’s achievements and the outstanding accomplishments of our bothers.

In hoc,
John “Leroy” Pfaff

PEF Update

Pinewoods Educational Foundation Update
November 2012

     The Pinewoods Educational Foundation was created in 2010 and has been in operation now for two years.  As you may recall, the Foundation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes within the meaning of the IRS code Section 501(c)(3)to provide a vehicle for fund raising.  This IRS status permits contributions to the Foundation to be treated as tax deductible charitable contributions and has benefited our donors.

     The Foundation’s major accomplishment to date is the raising of $1.543 million dollars in pledges from alumni and friends to allow Delta Psi to begin major reconstruction of the Pomeroy Chapter House named in honor of our major donor, William Pomeroy, Class of 1966.  The reconstruction will confirm Delta Psi’s participation in the Greek Life Commons program established by RPI as part of its CLASS initiative.   Expect regular updates on the overall construction project which began in September of this year, and is scheduled to be completed in time for classes to resume in 2013.  [Pictures and stories are located at www.sigmachi-rpi.org.]

     In September of this year, prior to starting construction on the renovated chapter house,  the House Corporation completed a formal transfer of the physical house to the Foundation, thereby enabling the contributions to the Foundation that are being used for the renovation to be treated positively for tax purposes.  This transfer was recommended by a Sigma Chi Grand Trustee and confirmed by legal advisors as a solid approach to maximizing the tax deductibility of funds used in the renovation.  This is a benefit not available to most fraternal organizations which do not have a 501(c)(3) status.

     The Foundation is managed by a Board of three alumni appointed by the House Corporation.  In addition to myself, Paul Roughan, ’78 serves as Treasurer and Larry Mentz, ’68 serves as Secretary.  Both have contributed significantly to creating a sound fiscal and legal structure for the Foundation.

     The Foundation operates independently of the House Corporation and the active Chapter; however there are formal agreements in place with both organizations and the individuals living in the house with respect to property management services provided by the House Corporation and rent charges to the Chapter.  Rent is set on a market basis with the intent to recover the costs of owning, maintaining and operating the house.

     In addition to the physical aspects of the house, the Foundation is also committed to encouraging scholarship excellence and providing educational services.  During the past year the Foundation granted three scholarships to active brothers and revived the overall Greek Scholarship Trophy and Award which is given to the Greek organization with the highest GPA on campus (pictured are the members of Delta Phi – 2012 recipients).

     The Foundation will continue fund-raising activities to fund ongoing scholarship and educational activities, as well as continue to encourage new and existing alumni to support the programs.  Any suggestions for additional programs, new contributions in both the form of money or time, are greatly encouraged and appreciated.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul J. Cosgrave ‘72

President, Pinewoods Educational Foundation