When Rhonda Briggins was deciding where she wanted to go to college and what she wanted to pursue, she took a look around her for inspiration. As she considered the backgrounds and qualities of her mentors, she had an epiphany: “They were all Deltas!” And she wanted to be like those women, doing amazing community work and investing in other young women. She knew she needed to join the sorority Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated (DST). “And it was the best decision I ever made in my life!”
Currently serving as a Member at Large at DST, Briggins has held a multitude of leadership roles at the sorority, but with a consistent focus on social action. Starting out as a State Chair for Social Action, she quickly became the Regional Social Action Coordinator for her region before being appointed as the National Co-Chair for Social Action. “It is the foundation of our work,” Briggins explained, “and it has been since the first initiation of members in 1913.”
Founded by 22 collegiate women at Howard University on January 13, 1913, DST was specifically established to develop its members for public service leadership with a primary focus on the Black community. Upon initiating the first class into the sorority, DST immediately participated in their first act of public service: joining the Women’s Suffrage March of 1913. The only African-American women in the march, they stood proudly at the front next to Ida B Wells and Mary Church Terrell. When Briggins was asked what those 22 women would think if they could see DST today, she said, “They would be amazed at what they started and all the leaders who have been developed through DST. For 109 years, we have been pillars of the community.”
One hundred ten years after its founding, DST will continue the work its founders initiated and expand its reach. “All programs are designed to serve the community and empower it at every level,” Briggins explained. They are already a global organization with chapters from Japan to Africa to Canada and even the Bahamas. And that level of national and global service is only made possible by their supporters.
Like many organizations, the Covid-19 pandemic eliminated most of the annual events and opportunities DST traditionally relied on to bring their supporters together. The need for community service and action, however, was only exacerbated by the pandemic. “It was a tough time for the young people in our community,” Briggins shared, “but being able to use Double Good Virtual Fundraising through the pandemic meant we could support them through that time.”
When DST began running Double Good Virtual Fundraisers, they quickly began to break fundraising records at a scale never before seen at Double Good. “When we found Double Good, it was a game changer!” Briggins emphasized. When asked what it is about Deltas that make them so good at fundraising with Pop-Up Stores, Briggins did not hesitate, “Deltas don’t sell. We communicate purpose. That’s how we bring in support for our Pop-Up Stores.”
It didn’t take long for Double Good to recognize that there was a new, highly impactful organization running Virtual Fundraisers. But it was the realization of how Double Good and DST’s goals aligned that led to a Partnership between the organizations. Upon learning that the majority of the funds raised through Virtual Fundraisers was going towards scholarships, Double Good reached out to see how the company could support DST and its development of youth leaders even further.
“Education is the great separator,” Briggins noted, “and Double Good’s partnership helps us grow the next generation of leaders.” In addition to the 50% of funds raised through Virtual Fundraising that DST chapters have been able to reinvest in their community youth, Double Good provided an additional $25k in scholarships in 2022. But the two organizations partnered in other meaningful ways, including supporting teachers, first responders, and essential workers during DST’s annual Impact Day. Double Good sent Essential Worker Popcorn Donations purchased by their supporters back to the chapters, who then distributed the donations to the essential workers in their communities in person.
When asked to describe the partnership with Double Good, Briggins nearly jumped out of her seat. “It’s so stress-free! It’s easy! You made it easy to raise money, then you made our partnership easy!”
Looking forward to 2023, DST’s 110th year of service will be an even greater opportunity for this partnership, with Double Good committed to amping up its impact for the youth developed and supported by DST. “We’re so excited about the 110th,” Briggins exclaimed, “and you will definitely see us lean in on this in our fundraising,” she said with a wink.
You can learn more about Delta Sigma Theta, Inc and their 110 years of service here.