Swinging Into Action
Thursday, May 15, 2008
They were told when they were pledges that somehow, somewhere, a Brother would influence their future lives in a profound and positive way. What they weren’t told was how collectively they would impact the lives of complete strangers.
Richard Morrell died after a 13 year battle with cancer in 1997 at the age of 58, and his longevity had not been matched in the Morrell clan. Steve Tengler, E’91, one of his two nephews, realized how mortal he was (*No one lived past 58!). The decision: take some money and help folks less fortunate. And so was born The SET Educational Fund, a non-profit (501)(c)(3) organization that provides educational scholarships to students with both financial need and a history of community service.
What Tengler never could have predicted was the support he’d receive in raising funds for the cause. "I’ve always witnessed what upstanding gentlemen there are in Chi Psi, but the consistency of their generosity in both time and money has been truly incredible.”
That support starts with Tengler’s brother-in-law, Jeff Cornell, E’91, also his pledge Brother. The bond became even closer when they married sisters on the same day in 1998. An avid golfer, Jeff decided the charity could use a fund-raising golf outing. "The golf outing been both our greatest fund raiser and our greatest friend raiser.” The outing accounts for a fourth of $120,000 raised. "Jeff has been a phenomenal cheerleader, rallying friends, co-workers and family to play golf and raise money.”
What has equally impressed Brother Tengler have been the number of Chi Psis that have come to the aid of the charity. "More than 20 Chi Psis have donated in one fashion or another – cash, time, prizes, playing – and several have given four-figures. I cannot begin to say how amazingly lucky I am to not only be surrounded by such great friends, but such generous people.”
The charity gives 5% of the liquid assets away each year to the recipient who best meets the criteria and gets the most votes from the donors, whom Tengler invites once a year for pizza at the annual Voting Party. "The average applicant makes $10,000 a year, is single, has two dependents, goes to to school. and helps out in the community. Some of the stories are absolutely amazing!”
When asked the number one message he would like all of Chi Psi to know, Brother Tengler said, "Stop and count your blessings, and realize how incredibly lucky we all are. We have an education, we have each other, and we have our families. You cannot put a value on that.”
Examples of recent recipients include: Angela, whose family lost the household income when her father had a stroke, volunteered for multiple hours each week. And Yvette, whose family was slaughtered during the genocide in Rwanda. She carried her textbooks while fleeing to the U.S., taught herself ten languages, and helped out in her new community.
To play in the Golf Outing in Farmington Hills, MI, on 12 September, to donate, or for more information, contact Steve Tengler at The SET Educational Fund, Post Office Box 36656, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236, or firstname.lastname@example.org.