The brothers of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity offered a surprise $500 donation to the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) last week, strengthening ties between Cornell and the Ithaca community. The donation was a tribute to the arrival of President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 who, at his inauguration, expressed a vision of quality education for all children.
IPEI is a non-profit, tax exempt foundation that was created to support the Ithaca city school district. Its main purpose is to inform the community about strengths and challenges facing the schools, to develop opportunities for collaboration between the district and other organizations, and to serve as a link to increase educational opportunities for the district’s students, faculty and staff, according to Terry Byrners, IPEI president.
“President Lehman made it clear that one of his administration’s priorities would be building stronger bridges and partnerships between the university and the Ithaca Public Schools,” said Howie Schaffer ’90, president of Alpha Delta Phi’s alumni board.
“Alpha Delt is a literary society. Its donation to IPEI reflects the fraternity’s interest in enhancing education not only for students of the University, but for the outside community as well. IPEI shares the core values of scholarship, literacy, community involvement and acdemic achievement with the fraternity. The members of Alpha Delta Phi therefore felt that it was a suitable recipient for their donation,” Schaffer added.
Byrnes expressed a great deal of gratitude to the brothers for helping the organization further its mission. “Cornell President Jeffery Lehman stressed the importance of a Cornell-community civic partnership. It did not take long for the alumni and brothers of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity to honor his words,” she said.
Many citizens, according to Schaffer, do not take enough responsibility for public education. Although people often place the accountability on parents and educators, “Every citizen has a part to play if public schools are to have the tools and resources they need to educate every child to their fullest potential,” Schaffer said.
The brothers are confident that the gift will be used to support innovations in teaching and learning in the school district. This will not be the last time that Alpha Delt intends to contribute to the foundation, according to chapter President Josh Goldstein ’05. “Through our philanthropic efforts such as the Victory Club Charity Ball, we hope to continue to build bridges between our fraternity, Cornell and the Ithaca community,” he said.
IPEI encourages Cornell students and faculty to get involved in the Ithaca public schools through the University’s Public Service Center. Another possibility, according to Byrnes, is to work directly with one of the many organizations in Ithaca that supports Ithaca students and schools, such as It Just Takes All of Us, The Village at Ithaca, the Family Reading Partnership, the Council of PTA’s, the Fine Arts Booster Group, Why Wait and others. “These groups are always looking for volunteers and serve many different parts of the school community,” Byrnes said.
Archived article by Missy Kurzweil