Phyllis Choat (Nebraska-Lincoln) Donor Spotlight  

Why did you join Gamma Phi Beta?

From the moment I walked through the door at Pi Chapter’s facility, I felt at home. I was surrounded by women who were bright, caring and genuinely friendly. Academics were important to me, so the Gamma Phis emphasis on scholarship impressed me. And because I was shy, their confidence and spirit inspired me. No one felt like she had to conform to a single “look” or standard. We were encouraged to be our best selves, get involved on campus and try new things. These were the sisters I never had growing up. Our pledge class was close, and even now, more than 50 years later, my pledge sisters are still some of my dearest friends. For me, Gamma Phi is all about sisterhood, deep-lasting friendships that transcend time and space – True and Constant.

What keeps you connected to the Sorority and your sisters?

Gamma Phi has given me so much more than I could ever give her. I hope that by staying involved as a volunteer and offering my financial support, I can “pay it forward,” helping ensure that for years to come, young women will enjoy the same opportunities for intellectual growth, leadership development, service and fulfillment that I have known. Other organizations and institutions offer these kinds of opportunities, but few in the nurturing environment of our sisterhood. First and foremost, I cherish the friendships I’ve made – my pledge sisters, my dear Omaha Alumnae Chapter friends and the incredible women from all across the continent that I’ve worked with on the international level for so many years. We’ve laughed and cried together and supported each other through life’s ups and downs. They are my mentors who have believed in me and taught me so much.

You have been a long-time Foundation Room volunteer at Convention and stewardship subcommittee member. What is your favorite part of volunteering for the Foundation?

For me, volunteering for the Foundation is all about staying connected and making connections! Some of us on the Foundation alumnae resource team have been volunteering in the Foundation Room for more than 20 years. It’s a magical time for us to come together while helping raise funds for the Foundation. I also love meeting our collegians. It’s fun watching them buy Foundation Hearts to give to their sisters and decide what they will try to win with their Opportunity Drawing tickets. I love hearing sisters’ Gamma Phi stories when I call them to thank them for their gifts to the Foundation. In some cases, we’ve discovered experiences, interests and friends in common that we would not have known about if not for Gamma Phi.

You make your gifts through a donor advised fund. Why do you give that way rather than other ways?

In our retirement, my husband and I have been able to direct our RMD (required minimum distribution) to a donor advised fund at our community foundation. Such transfer does not count as income, and so is not taxable. And because we do not itemize deductions, I am able to invest more into the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation and other educational and charitable organizations we value than I would if I were to write checks from our taxable income.

Donor advised funds are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States. What would you share with other Gamma Phi donors about giving in this way?

We can give larger gifts to the organizations near and dear to our hearts. It is a great way to stretch our charitable dollars and make a larger impact.