Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated: HERstory
Pioneers of a Movement
It is the mission of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. to enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil, and social action. Our goal is to achieve greater progress in the areas of education, health awareness, and leadership development. Our members, affiliates, staff, and community partners work to create and support initiatives that align with our vision.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 12, 1922 by seven young educators: Mary Lou Allison Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Dulin Redford, Bessie M. Downey Martin and Cubena McClure. The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to Alpha chapter at Butler University. Today there are over 100,000 members and over 500 chapters.
From seven young educators, Sigma Gamma Rho has become an international service organization comprised of women from every profession. Some characteristics that Sigma Gamma Rho women share are stability, responsibility, purpose, self-respect, and intelligent. Sigma Gamma Rho offers its members opportunities to develop their unique talents through leadership training and involvement in sorority activities. Sorority activities provide an atmosphere where friendships and professional contacts are developed which often lead to bonds that last a lifetime.
In a time when education for African Americans was difficult to attain, the founders of Sigma Gamma Rho became educators. They believed that the self-respect, knowledge and discipline gained through study would help individuals to recognize their duty and responsibility for their society. Thus, Sigma Gamma Rho was founded on the precept of education and continues to promote and encourage high scholastic attainment.
Sigma Gamma Rho‘s commitment to service is expressed in its slogan, “Greater Service, Greater Progress.” The sorority has a proud history of offering service wherever chapters exist, including OPERATION BigBookBag, a program designed to address the needs, challenges and issues that face school-aged children who are educationally at-risk in local homeless shelters and extended care hospitals. The objective is for chapters to provide their local homeless shelters and children hospitals with educational materials, equipment and supplies. Other national projects include Wee Savers, Project Reassurance and Habitat for Humanity, Sigma Gamma Rho built seven homes across the United States in Florida, District of Columbia, Wisconsin, California, and Texas.
The service of Sigma Gamma Rho from a global perspective includes Project Africa and Project Mwanamugimu. Through active participation in programs and through networking with other organizations such as the National Council of Negro Women, Urban League and the NAACP, Sigma’s legacy of service to improve the quality of life for all mankind continues.