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Members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. kick off the ZetaCARES Financial Freedom Initiative in North Carolina

Spotlight Feature - Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Members of Eta Pi Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. volunteer at March for Babies in Silver Spring, Maryland

"Leadership," a wise man wrote, "is not about the power and status of one, but the empowerment and service of all." Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. has been inspiring Black women to pursue excellence and service for 97 years.

"Our organization was founded by five women who were committed to raising the consciousness of Black people, encouraging scholastic achievement, and a strong sense of unity," explains Dr. Mary Breaux Wright, the organization's international president. "Our members are servant leaders. We have more than 1,000 chapters in the U.S., Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, and we live to inform our communities, engage with our neighbors, and to have the kind of positive impact that invigorates and empowers our people."

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was the first Greek- letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (1948); to form adult and youth auxiliary groups; to centralize its operations in a national headquarters; and to be constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. Three years from the organization's 100th anniversary, the women of Zeta Phi Beta are celebrating by challenging themselves to complete 20 million hours of service by the year 2020. The Zetas are making a difference on a host of fronts. Through signature programs like Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel) and Zeta CARES™, the sorority partners with such organizations as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, AARP, March of Dimes, Women Veterans Rock, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the American Cancer Society, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. Its outreach includes hosting health and wellness challenges; providing scholarships to deserving students; encouraging members to seek elected office on the local, state, and national level, helping women veterans return to and assimilate into their communities, and raising awareness about elder care.

Kappa Iota Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta recently opened a Stork's Nest in East Point, Georgia

In collaboration with the March of Dimes, the Zetas sponsor Stork's Nests - community-based programs that promote prenatal care participation and healthy behaviors during pregnancy through incentives and education. Zeta Phi Beta currently supports more than 125 Stork's Nest programs that, over the years, have served nearly 50,000 women.

Together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Zetas host visits to wildlife sanctuaries and refuges for youth across the country. These excursions are designed to introduce young people to role models and careers in such areas forestry, biology, botany, zoology, and geophysics, to encourage them to explore and embrace nature and show them how they can help preserve the environment.

Zeta Phi Beta has also taken a lead role in providing education and information to its members and the larger African-American community about preparing for life as senior citizens. "If we live long enough, we will all have to address the issues surrounding elder care, whether it's for ourselves, a parent, grandparent, or spouse," Dr. Wright said. "Our members are working with elder care attorneys and Estate and Long Term Care Planning, Inc., hosting seminars, webinars and using social media to help the African-American community navigate retirement, estate planning, legal and financial preparation, issues associated with elder abuse and caregiving support." In addition, in March 2014, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority joined The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. and 19 other National Collaborating Organizations in launching "Because We Care" - a series of free forums that provide African-American women and their families with information and resources to take better care of their loved ones and themselves.

Zetas, youth auxiliary members and friends visit a wildlife refuge

President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority since 2012, Dr. Wright confides that some of her proudest moments have been visiting local chapters and witnessing firsthand the impact her sorors are having and the enthusiasm and appreciation their efforts have elicited. "There's something about seeing our members talking, walking and with their sleeves rolled up working on behalf of their communities. People sense commitment. They know when you are genuinely in their corner, and that spirit of active engagement can't help but be contagious."

"The Black Women's Agenda, Inc."
5335 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. Suite 440, Washington, DC 20015-2052
Office: 202.730.2637 Fax: 202.730.2638 Email: bwa@bwa-inc.org

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