Third Trilogy Grant Funds Mental Health Initiative
Foundation, News | July 12, 2019

The site was Phoenix, Arizona. The date was July 2, 2016. The occasion was Tri Delta’s 57th biennial Convention. And the challenge was on…Raise $1 million dollars in three years in support of Trilogy – a board-directed endowment to meet the most urgent needs of Tri Delta and its members.

With a running start via a lead gift from Lou Brown Jewell, Stetson, and 100 percent Board participation, the Trilogy major gift initiative was officially underway.

Even better, Trilogy – created in 2012 – had reached its first funding milestone in 2016, exceeding the $500,000 mark enabling its first life-changing grant to Sarah Shore, Rhodes. The award helped Sarah – a 4.0 student – finish her undergraduate work on schedule, despite a devastating financial setback for her family. Sarah went on to complete a medical mission trip to Africa in the summer of 2016 and is currently attending pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee Medical School.

A second Trilogy grant was made in 2017 to a brave, young breast cancer survivor Martha Parker, Toronto. Diagnosed at the age of 27, Martha was struggling to pay her bills as she fought through countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. A Trilogy grant helped Martha meet her expenses, while focusing on her health and healing.

As Tri Deltas everywhere began to understand Trilogy’s transformational impact on the lives of our members, more and more women answered the call for support. More than $875,000 had been pledged by Convention 2018 in Dallas, Texas, putting the $1 million goal to expand Trilogy well within reach by the July 2019 deadline.

Enter Ginger Hicks Smith, Emory. Following the completion of her three-year pledge to support the creation of the Ginger Hicks Smith Museum and Archives, Ginger made a generous pledge to Trilogy, allowing Tri Delta to reach the $1 million goal a full six months ahead of schedule!

Says Ginger, “It is my honor and privilege to support our sisterhood in such a meaningful way. Tri Delta has always had the power to change lives. Trilogy takes this one step further and fulfills that beautiful part of our Purpose that calls us to assist our members in every possible way.”

Ginger’s gift paved the way for a third, life-changing Trilogy grant. This one would be very different in nature and would be designed to meet the needs of many members…Perhaps some we may never even know.

“The mental health crisis on college campuses is very real,” says Fraternity President Kimberlee Di Fede Sullivan, Pepperdine. “Young adults between the ages of 18-25 have the highest rates of mental illness in the U.S., and nearly 25 percent of all college students are dealing with a diagnosed mental illness. That’s why our partnership with the Human Power Project and the Tri Delta Foundation and the launch of our new mental health initiative Behind Happy Faces is so very important.”

With support from Trilogy, the Tri Delta Foundation and its generous donors, Behind Happy Faces – piloted in 20 collegiate chapters in Spring of 2018 – will be offered to all 141 Tri Delta chapters in the 2019-20 academic year.

Created by mental health advocate Ross Szabo, founder of the Human Power Project, Behind Happy Faces, is a unique and engaging mental health curriculum that uses educational videos and peer-led discussions to change the conversation around mental health and mental illness. The program is designed to help members:

  • Understand mental health
  • Talk to a sister in need
  • Recognize warning signs•Learn coping skills
  • Gain access to helpful resources

Behind Happy Faces will also provide on-demand webinars for alumna advisors and training for Tri Delta’s house directors who are often times on the front lines of the mental health crisis as it relates to Tri Delta.

Says Sandra Williams Krieger, Mississippi, former Chair of the Foundation Board of Trustees and alumna advisor to Theta Pi/UCLA, says, “Our women today are faced with more issues than ever before. There’s always a concern for money, and a concern for grades. It’s a tremendous amount of stress when you try to put all of these things together.”

Behind Happy Faces is the right program at the right time for Tri Delta, says CEO Karen Hughes White, Georgia. “Mental health programming was the number one request of our collegiate chapters in our most recent survey. I’m thrilled – and incredibly proud – that we are able to meet such an urgent need in Tri Delta with Behind Happy Faces.”

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