Have you ever wondered… just what is CAPEF?
The Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic Association was established in 1914 to create a closer relationship between fraternity women and the City of Cleveland. One of its first goals was to provide financial assistance to young women who wanted to attend college. Fundraising ensued quickly and the first CAPA scholarship was awarded for the 1917-18 school year to a young woman enrolled at Western Reserve University. The amount of the scholarship awarded, $125, might not seem impressive today but at that time average college tuition was $150-200 a year.
From the early 1920’s through the mid 1950’s most of CAPA’s financial assistance was given in the form of tuitions loans which were interest free until the recipient graduated. All money was maintained in conventional bank accounts with a four-person scholarship committee overseeing collection. In addition, gift scholarships were occasionally given to high school seniors or college women based on character, need and scholastic ability.
In 1945 a separate fund solely for scholarships was established. Grants were to be given once the fund reached $20,000 and money was invested in bonds, mutual funds and CDs. This is the start of the endowment fund we know today. The first recorded scholarships were given in 1955 for $200 each. We know that in 1960 there were 11 scholarship recipients ($2200) and 8 recipients in 1961($1600). In 1977 changing times caused CAPA to decide to make its scholarship funding only available to women who were active members and omit support to high school seniors. In 1997 the scholarship amount became $1000 and grants were also made available to locally active alumnae. In 2007 grants were increased to $1500 and they reached the current amount of $200 several years ago.
Throughout its history CAPA has continually worked to improve itself as an organization in order to allow us to continue to benefit our community. The establishment of the Cleveland Alumnae Panhellenic Endowment Fund (CAPEF and pronounced as “Cape”) as a tax-exempt corporation in May of 1985 provided the opportunity for greater protection and oversight of our money along with tax and investment benefits.
Shortly after its establishment in1985 CAPEF was accepted as a 501(C) (3) Private Foundation by the Internal Revenue Service. 501 (C) (3) foundations are a special class of non-profit organization which are established solely for charitable and/ or educational purposes. Along with being exempt from federal income tax, as are all non-profits, donations to these organizations are tax deductible, which is a huge fundraising benefit.