"As my years as an alumna grew, so did my appreciation for the Foundation."
Jenny Rabas (Alpha Lambda-Alumna Initiate), a longtime Foundation and Gold Society donor, helped women's hearts beat stronger by completing the Kansas City Half Marathon this fall in support of Alpha Phi Foundation. Beyond offering her time and treasure as a volunteer and donor, Jenny serves as a philanthropic role model for all women. Here, Jenny looks back on her Alpha Phi experience, and what drives her to give back.
What does our mission - advancing women's lives through the power of philanthropy - mean to you?
I love Alpha Phi Foundation's mission and I interpret it in two ways. First, the more money the Foundation raises, the more it helps women live longer and healthier lives. Secondly, I believe by involving women in philanthropy, Alpha Phi is helping develop our members into strong civic leaders who believe in the greater good. Young women are learning how to give back in a meaningful way.
What motivated you to become a Foundation donor?
As my years as an alumna grew, so did my appreciation for the Foundation.
I served as a Silver Circle Leader at the Emerging Leaders Institute, and also witnessed a sister who lost everything in the Joplin Tornado receive a Forget Me Not Grant. I celebrated when a Heart to Heart Grant found its way to St. Luke's [Hospital] in Kansas City, and I have had the honor of being the emcee for Theta Lambda's (Central Missouri) Red Dress Gala for the past three years. I was benefiting from the Foundation along with so many other women.
Watching collegiate women work hard to plan philanthropy events that raise awareness of women's heart disease has been my favorite benefit. This is the reason I continue to give. As a Gold Society donor, I'm able to make small monthly gifts that I know will add up to make a big impact.
What attracted you to support the Foundation's annual fund by becoming a Gold Society donor?
When I heard about the Gold Society, I knew it was the perfect way for me to give back to Alpha Phi in a way that is manageable for me. It allows me to make a bigger gift each year by making small gifts each month. I wear my Gold Society pin with pride, and when people ask I get to tell them all about the Foundation. I once told a classmate about the Foundation and within minutes he pulled out a credit card and donated $15 on the spot!
We all joined Alpha Phi because we wanted to be a part of something greater than ourselves. As Alpha Phis, we have the power to connect people to a greater cause so we can advance women's lives through the power of philanthropy.
What inspired you to support women's heart health by running the Kansas City Half Marathon?
In 2012, I joined three friends in running the St. Louis Half Marathon and raising $1,000 for our favorite charities. We were all in fraternities, so we decided to support our respective fraternities' philanthropy. When I heard I had to raise $1,000 I was very intimidated, but my roommate - an Alpha Phi sister - told me I could do this. Her encouragement meant a lot to me.
While raising money and getting ready for the St. Louis half [marathon], I got a call from my mother. She told me something was wrong with her heart. I can remember the tears welling up in my eyes. It was a surreal moment that made things very real for me. My mom will forever be on heart medication and I knew that giving to the Foundation was even more important, because it was going to prevent other women from receiving a call like this from their mothers. I wanted to do something special for my mom to further show my support and to make sure I was also taking steps to be healthier myself.
At the beginning of this year, I decided it was important to once again raise money in a way that was heart healthy. I chose the Kansas City Half Marathon and dedicated this race to my mom. I sent out several emails to friends and family, and had conversations with individuals about heart health and Alpha Phi Foundation. I lost 20 pounds getting ready for my race and in the end I raised over $1,100.
How do you encourage other Alpha Phis and all women to support our mission?
I encourage women to support the Foundation's mission by helping them get connected to women's heart health and the Foundation's other programs. Giving back is truly more rewarding if you are connected to the issue. No gift is too small, and there are many ways to give what you can and in a way that's right for you!
Click here to learn more or join the Gold Society today.