The primary duty of the Economic Development Committee is to educate the members of the sorority and the local community on the ten components of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Financial Fortitude Initiative which are:
- Goal Setting
- Financial Planning
- Debt Management
- Savings and Investments
- Retirement Planning
- Home Ownership
- Estate Planning
Annual programs include:
1. Financial Freedom Movement
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2. Financial Fortitude Workshop titled “Debt Management & Savings & Investments Seminar” in partnership with Primerica. National economic trends, such as unstable employment, the threat to Social Security as we know it, and the widening gap between wealth and poverty are the basis for the development of Financial Fortitude, the current Economic Development Program Initiative of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Financial Fortitude is a process that will help program participants to set and define goals, develop a plan to achieve them, and to put the plan into action. The process serves as a blueprint to address all aspects of personal finances. The sorority has made available chapter tools for the process, including a Money Smart Adult Education Program and a Money Smart computer-based instruction tool from the FDIC to complement the Financial Fortitude Program.
3. Thanksgiving Day Dinner and Fellowship in partnership with local organizations, churches, and businesses. We hosted our 15th year in 2020. We have fed over 3500 people over the past 15 years. In 2020, the 15th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner “Project Everybody Eats.” Volunteers were limited, social distancing, and masks were a must, and instead of the traditional family-style setting, 450 pre-packaged meals with food provided by several local and national sponsors were given to residents as they drove through the pick-up location at St. Timothy Community Church in Gary. Meals were delivered to local police and fire departments, senior living facilities, displaced youth and families, and homeless shelters by volunteers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Rodney “DJ Darknite” Lewis, 5 Star Drip, and other local volunteers. In addition, grocery store gift cards were passed out during meal deliveries from donations provided by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Sigma Phi Omega Chapter. Ford Motor Company also donated masks that were included with the meals. With the help of St. Timothy Community Church, we were also able to donate Thanksgiving turkey dinners to 10 families in need.
GAC owes a huge thank you to Soror Joslyn Kelly of J’s Breakfast Club/Love for Jalyn Foundation for thinking of us when approached by Senator Eddie Melton and Damon Dash owner of Dame Dash Studios/One Drop to expand the approach to not only feed our community but give local businesses the opportunity to be a part of our efforts. Thank you to St. Timothy Community Church and its members for volunteering and allowing us to use their space and parking lot to pack and distribute. Thank you to D&K Salads, J’s Breakfast Club, Cute as a Cupcake Cupcakery (Soror Michelle Wainwright), Chef Pam, Chef Jack, Big Daddy’s, and Popcorn World for food preparation and contributions to make this event a success. This would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship from NIPSCO and Beyond Meat. Meals included a healthy plant-based option in place of meat. Last but certainly not least, thank you to everyone at GAC for support in spirit and a special thank you to sorors who volunteered on the frontline and those continuing to live our mission of commitment to public service.
We have also delivered food to the area women and men’s shelters, first responders/emergency personnel and catered to adolescent group homes from NWI.
Lois Wilkins is the chair of the GAC Economic Development Committee