A message from Kristen Sanders (Epsilon), Founding President of the Omega Phi Alpha Foundation:

A lot has gone on in the world since Jan Titsworth (Delta) approached me in the spring of 2019 asking if I would like to be a part of the formation of the Omega Phi Alpha Foundation. We have dealt with a national pandemic, learned how to do lots of things virtually, talked about racial inequality in our country, etc. etc. I have worked for 501c3 nonprofits for over 25 years, but little did I know that starting one from the ground up would be a monumental task. There was not a road map for us to follow in creating the Foundation and there definitely was a steep learning curve but we are starting to find our way albeit slower than we had anticipated.

The Foundation is still in its infancy but over the past few years we have had accomplishments. In 2021, we awarded two Pamela McCullough McEwen scholarships – one for an active member and one for an alumna pursuing a graduate degree. The Foundation felt strongly that it was important to recognize those who want to pursue graduate studies and that they should be eligible for a scholarship. This year I am excited to announce that we were able to award four $500 scholarships – two for active members and two for alumni. Congratulations to actives Jacquelyn Guthrie (Phi) and Eleanor Kim (Omega) and alumni Taylor Outler (Chi), Ashley Whitworth Fellers (Chi) for being this year’s recipients.

Thanks to the successful Founders’ Circle campaign, the Foundation has a financial base from which we can support the leadership development and service initiatives of Omega Phi Alpha and chapters. Our first Chapter Service Grant was given to Alpha Lambda Chapter who received $500.00 to aid with their service event, Outrace the Stigma. Also, we provided a second Chapter Service grant to Alpha Xi for their efforts collecting the pop-tabs to be used for a service project in their community. We look forward to offering more Chapter Service Grants in the future. Thank you to Yeoeun Yoon (Omicron) for serving as Program Director and working on both the scholarship and Chapter Service Grant programs.

We definitely could not have had any success without the support of the 72 individuals who made monetary donations to the Foundation since our inception and to all those who have served on the Foundation Board of Directors for giving of their time, talents and treasure. And thanks to Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority for getting things started.  Going forward, the Foundation looks forward to underwriting national initiatives to further develop leaders and make an impact through service. The ongoing support of sustaining members will make these types of opportunities possible.

Oh and why did I say yes to this task when approached by Jan? There are many reasons, from remembering my time at the chapter as well as national levels to always having great pride in OPhiA. But the one reason that spoke to me the most was talking to fellow Epsilon alum and NEB member Pamela MCullough McEwen at Digging 4 Diamonds in March 2015. I was in a small breakout session that Pam led where she talked about her desire for there to be a 501c3 charity to support OPhiA. And 4 ½ years later, that came true. I so wish that she had still been here to see it happen and I know that the Omega Phi Alpha Foundation will become a thriving entity. Has it been a difficult journey – heck yes, but it is one that I would do all over again.

Read the Omega Phi Alpha Foundation's Annual Report

As the first operational year of the Foundation wraps up, you’re invited to review their first Annual Report.