Philanthropy events are nothing out of the ordinary in Auburn, Alabama. In fact, almost every week a sorority or fraternity will line the concourse to hand out fliers and invite every passing student to join them to raise awareness, donate to research or end devastating violence. That means each organization faces the challenge of finding a way to make their event special and generate interest in their cause.
It may be a surprise guest appearance by an Auburn celebrity that makes an event stand out, or maybe it is the sheer volume of people touched by the organization’s cause that gets the student body excited. This year, Auburn’s Alpha Gamma Delta chapter had a unique philanthropy event, but not because of who was there. Their philanthropy event, Giving Hope, was special because of who it honored.
Last semester, the chapter was devastated when the news broke that Hope Johnson, a junior at Auburn, had passed away. (Photo above: Friends spell out "Hope" at the waffle night philanthropy event. Photo credit: Maegan Lee)
“Our chapter was deeply saddened when Hope passed away,” said Caroline Beauchaine chapter president. “ Hope was such a radiant light in our chapter always bringing joy to meetings and sisterhood events. She was loved greatly by all who knew her.”
The chapter sought to honor and celebrate her life during their spring philanthropy event. On Tuesday, April 21, 2014 the group did this by having a waffle night and raised money for the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make our philanthropy event specific to Hope and what she loved and cared about,” said Hannah Lane, Alpha Gamma Delta’s philanthropy coordinator. “Everyone knows that Hope loved Waffle House as well as music. Our Waffle Night turned out to be an incredible event in honor of her, complete with a few of her favorite things, Waffle House, live music and fellowship.”
Giving Hope was a way to celebrate and honor Johnson, while at the same time raising money for a worthy cause. The event was an opportunity for members of the chapter to invite their friends and spend time with the ones they loved while celebrating the life of Johnson. (Photo left: Hannah Lane, left, and Caroline Beauchaine, right, celebrate with Waffle House hats. Photo credit: Hannah Lane.)
“Hope’s joy was contagious and her intense love for all things was fun and celebratory, which was one of my favorite traits about her,” said Claire Schmidt, a senior. “Even something as simple as a waffle would brighten her day. I am so thankful to have helped put on our event Giving Hope to honor my dear friend. The event in its simplicity defined Hope’s childlike spirit, but the beautiful setting and loving tribute of her defined her loving and compassionate heart.” (Photo right: Claire Schmidt, left, with Hope Johnson, right, at the chapter's spring philanthropy from last year. P
At the end of the event, the chapter raised more than $10,000 to donate to the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation for juvenile diabetes research and education to donate in honor of their loving friend.
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