From the very beginning, Alpha Epsilon Phi has been committed to philanthropic service. In the early years, AEPhi focused on providing aid to Jewish war sufferers, scholarships for those in need and support of educational endeavors. As the years went on, AEPhi introduced national philanthropies that allowed for hands-on community service, allowing members the ability to not only raise funds, but to volunteer and give of themselves.
Through the years, national philanthropic and community service projects have included support of dental clinics, traveling libraries for Arkansas, scholarships for refugees students, the donation of an ambulance to the U.S. Army during World War II, Project Arrow and Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel.
Currently, Alpha Epsilon Phi members are active in a wide range of community service and philanthropic activities. Through thousands of service hours and fundraising efforts that benefit AEPhi’s two national philanthropies Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Sharsheret and many other local and national charities, AEPhis demonstrate that they are “dedicated to selfless service and inspiring others.”
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation was adopted as one of AEPhi’s national philanthropies in 2000. The Foundation (www.pedaids.org) was founded in 1988 by AEPhi alumna Elizabeth Meyer Glaser (Sigma Chapter, University of Wisconsin) and her two close friends AEPhi alumna Susie Bernstein Zeegen (Xi Chapter, University of Southern California) and Susan DeLaurentis, shortly after Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, discovered that she, along with their two children, Ariel and Jake, were infected with the HIV virus as a result of a blood transfusion.
The Foundation had one critical mission: to bring hope to children with AIDS. With little research being focused on the issue of pediatric AIDS, the three women sought to bring awareness and a possible cure to the innocent children around the world affected by HIV/AIDS.
Through the work of the Foundation and partnerships like the one with Alpha Epsilon Phi, research and knowledge have greatly increased. The number of children born with HIV is decreasing. The life expectancy of the children with HIV infection is increasing and they are getting to live healthier, happier lives. Though Elizabeth did lose her own battle with AIDS her spirit lives on through the efforts of the foundation. The foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars towards AIDS research in the 22 years since its inception.
AEPhi is proud to be able to support such a worthy cause through financial support of the Foundation and by raising awareness about pediatric AIDS. Chapters across the country hold events to both raise money for the Foundation and educate their campus communities about the unique issues facing young people living with HIV and AIDS.
Sharsheret, (www.sharsheret.org) Hebrew for "chain, is a national not-for-profit organization that supports Jewish women and families facing breast and ovarian cancer and those at high risk for hereditary cancer. Sharsheret, was founded in 2001 by Rochelle Shoretz (Iota Alpha, alumna initiate), of blessed memory, a former law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Kappa Chapter, Cornell University).
In 2008, Alpha Epsilon Phi was proud to select Sharsheret as an additional national philanthropy. Since then, tens of thousands of students nationwide, through the Beatrice Milberg Sharsheret’s On Campus Program, have generated life-saving conversations and educated their peers and family members about the free and individualized programs and services that Sharsheret provides including: individualized support provided by clinical social workers and a genetic counselor, and education and outreach initiatives to individuals of all ages as well as healthcare providers, the Jewish and cancer communities, and students on campus. Undergraduate and alumnae members of Alpha Epsilon Phi continue to support Sharsheret's mission and spread the word through breast cancer and ovarian cancer awareness programs; join Team Sharsheret by creating teams for local walks, runs, and marathons; coordinate local fundraising events; and host survivors who share their personal stories.
Since our partnership began, members of Alpha Epsilon Phi have raised more than $600,000 supporting Sharsheret’s resources and programs to ensure that no woman or family has to face breast or ovarian cancer alone.