Fraternity hopes to aid local women’s shelter

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By playing some soccer this Saturday, GW’s Greek-letter community hopes to raise money to benefit D.C. women in need.

The Beta Cup, hosted by Beta Theta Pi, will support the N Street Village, Inc. The local organization provides a variety of services for low income and homeless women.

Corey Lewin, president of GW’s chapter of Beta Theta Pi, said that since his fraternity does not have a national philanthropy, the chapter “seeks to benefit the local community.”

“Though I don’t know specifically how many years we have been donating to the shelter, we have in many previous years. In the past we have generally raised around $400 a year, but this year we are seeking to really increase and hopefully raise around $750,” Lewin said.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1973 by the Luther Place Memorial Church. N Street Village has served 800 women this year, which is equivalent to about one third of the homeless women population in the District, according to the organization’s Web site.

“The N Street Village is not only a shelter. It is a continuum of services that takes a holistic approach on the issues of poverty, homelessness, health, education, and income for homeless women,” Mary Funke, the organization’s executive director, said in an e-mail.

Like other homeless shelters and service organizations, N Street Village has to work hard to make ends meet.

“We have less than 15 percent government funding. We try to keep a very distinct portfolio on fundraising,” Funke said.

For its female residents, the biggest challenge the organization faces is finding reasonable accommodations in the D.C. metro area to house them, Funke said. But despite these challenges, N Street Village never closes, even during major snowstorms like the city saw in February. Along with N Street’s overnight shelter, Funke said the day programs stayed open during the blizzard.

“The staff that could come in worked multiple shifts. Volunteers who lived in the area came in and assisted our staff. So it was a wonderful community outpouring and it made it possible to stay open,” she said.

All social sororities and multicultural Greek-letter organizations have been invited to participate in this weekend’s Beta Cup, with donations of $100 from each team of five people entered in the tournament going to N Street Village.

So far five sororities have signed on to participate in Beta Cup, and Lewin said the chapter hopes additional teams join. Extra teams for any organization are a $50 donation.

“It’s a good way to get the chapter involved both on campus and with the local D.C. community,” said Beta Theta Pi Vice President Frank Gervasio in an e-mail. “We have fun with this every year and it’s a good cause.”

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