Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity is proud to announce that it has taken a significant step to broaden its reach and deepen its impact on the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the devastating disease named for Brother Lou Gehrig. This month Phi Delta Theta is launching The LiveLikeLou Foundation, a stand-alone 501c3 not-for-profit entity with a national scope.
Neil and Suzanne Alexander established LiveLikeLou in 2011 when Neil, a University of Pittsburgh Phi Delt, was diagnosed with ALS. Originally established as a grassroots fund within The Pittsburgh Foundation, LiveLikeLou quickly became a leading entity in the fight against ALS in Western Pennsylvania, creating awareness of ALS, assisting families in the community, and fulfilling a $2.5 million pledge to build The LiveLikeLou Center for ALS Research, a $10 million partnership between LiveLikeLou and the University of Pittsburgh. The achievement became the largest ALS research effort of its kind in Western Pennsylvania history. Along with the success on the research front, LiveLikeLou also established a $1 million endowment for ongoing patient care in Western, Pennsylvania.
Because Brother Gehrig said, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” when he retired from baseball on July 4, 1939, Neil Alexander was inspired and said, “I feel lucky too.” He used all of his energy, rallied his friends and family, and developed a personal mission to “Leave ALS Better Than He Found It.” Neil died from ALS in March 2015, leaving his wife and two children, Abby and Patrick, to carry on his vision.
Phi Delta Theta’s desire to further enhance and focus its commitment to the fight against ALS led the two entities to begin conversations. Together, Phi Delta Theta’s long-standing commitment to have a meaningful impact on the disease, coupled with LiveLikeLou’s successful model of advancing the ALS cause forward, have the ability to further drive Phi Delta Theta’s leadership in finding a cure.
“Neil always hoped LiveLikeLou would grow beyond the Pittsburgh Region. He would be so proud that Phi Delta Theta is stewarding this dream. Our family is thrilled that LiveLikeLou will be cared for, and have even more of an impact. It makes perfect sense that LiveLikeLou was started by a brother, in honor of a brother, and will be carried on by all the brothers of Phi Delta Theta.”
– Suzanne Alexander
Phi Delta Theta will encourage all ALS-related philanthropic efforts by its members, chapters, colonies, and alumni clubs to support The LiveLikeLou Foundation, its mission, and the strategy it deploys to impact the fight against ALS. The LiveLikeLou Foundation will also build support from corporations and non-Phi Delt donors to expand its funding abilities. Exploring opportunities to make a multi-year, multi-million dollar pledge to a leading ALS research center in the United States will be an initial focus, similar to what LiveLikeLou executed with the LiveLikeLou Center for ALS Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Patient care and support for families who have been affected by ALS will also play a role in the Foundation’s strategy.
Phi Delta Theta’s Iron Phi program will operate within the walls of LiveLikeLou and the dollars raised for ALS research through the program will be applied to LiveLikeLou’s commitments to research initiatives.
“I was introduced to the Alexander family five years ago and have been inspired ever since by their unwavering commitment to leave ALS better than they found it. The LiveLikeLou Foundation will give Phi Delta Theta a national platform with centralized and very tangible funding goals. I look forward to the momentum that we create, but I’m most excited about being able to watch our members point at an ALS research center, a piece of leading technology, a world-class research project, or a family in need, and say, ‘That’s how I supported ALS’.”
– Steve Good – Vice President of Growth & Communications, Phi Delta Theta, and creator of Iron Phi program.
The operations of LiveLikeLou will revolve around three main functions:
- Fundraising Services – Cultivation and coaching of chapters, colonies, alumni clubs, individual alumni and corporations in their philanthropic and service pursuits that support the entity.
- Impact – Identification of partners within the ALS community and distribution of funds to research and care services to support them.
- Administration – Financial management, stewardship of funds, reporting, etc.
Suzanne Alexander will assume the role as the Director of The LiveLikeLou Foundation and will join Steve Good, Phi Delta Theta’s Vice President of Growth and Communication, to set up the board of directors, determine administrative processes, lead the search for research funding partners, and assist with individual, chapter, and alumni fundraising activities to support ALS.
The LiveLikeLou Foundation has a number of key priorities for the upcoming six months:
- Assemble The LiveLikeLou Foundation’s Board and determine priorities.
- Create temporary fundraising mechanisms and establish administration structures in order to accept donations.
- Establish funding targets to help guide cultivation efforts with potential ALS research entities.
- Begin cultivation of ALS research funding opportunities and name partner(s) and commitment(s).
- Initiate educational efforts and fundraising coaching with Phi Delta Theta chapters, colonies and alumni clubs.
- Develop fundraising technologies for supporters to utilize and re-launch the LiveLikeLou.org website.
- Pinpoint marketing strategies to build the LiveLikeLou brand.
- Create donor recognition programs to celebrate those who support LiveLikeLou.
“As someone who has had a personal relationship with ALS, I am very passionate about helping to ensure Phi Delta Theta assumes a leadership role to help discover the cause and a cure for the disease. My father was diagnosed and passed away from this horrific disease, and no other person or family should have to experience the loss of a loved one to ALS. I’m thrilled about this new endeavor with The LiveLikeLou Foundation to fight ALS, because I’m confident that members of Phi Delta Theta will rise to the challenge and have an even greater impact.’”
– Bob Biggs, Executive Vice President and CEO, Phi Delta Theta
“Never before has there been an effort that better epitomizes our open motto, “To enjoy life by the help and society of others.” The spirit, character, and affinity towards Lou Gehrig have long driven the Phi Delt Nation to support the battle against his namesake disease. We now look forward to channeling that energy to expand Brother Alexander’s vision while providing laser focus to eradicate ALS.”
– Sean Wagner – Chief Operating Officer, Phi Delta Theta
Those who wish to support The LiveLikeLou Foundation can send monies to:
The LiveLikeLou Foundation
2 South Campus Ave.
Oxford, OH 45056
All inquiries about The LiveLikeLou Foundation can be directed to Steve Good via email.