Member Assistance

In 2019-20, we provided nearly $19,435 in emergency assistance to 11 women affected by life-altering circumstances.

One of the most significant ways we are able to lend a helping hand to sisters is through the Leona Hughes Hughes Heart & Hand Fund and the Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund. With contributions to these funds, we are able to provide grants to eligible collegiate and alumnae members who are experiencing financial distress due to natural disasters, medical events or other dire circumstances.

“I remember being a collegiate member and thinking what a great concept ‘Sisters Helping Sisters’ was, never once thinking I’d ever apply to ask Phi Mu Foundation for assistance as an alumna member. That all changed when Camp Fire – a 153,000-acre wildfire that was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history – destroyed my family’s home and everything inside. The grant I received from Phi Mu Foundation helped my family and me get back on our feet and take one step closer to rebuilding.”

Alisa Wrangham, Eta Sigma (University of California, Merced)

The Leona Hughes Hughes Heart & Hand Fund

The Leona Hughes Hughes Heart and Hand Fund aims to provide financial relief to collegiate and alumnae members in good standing who are experiencing financial distress due to natural disasters, medical events or other dire circumstances. Applicants must be initiated for at least one calendar year.

Grants from the Leona Hughes Hughes Heart and Hand Fund are limited to covering only the basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, utilities, and/or medical care. Phi Mu fees, dues and obligations, including House Corporation expenses are not eligible for grants from the Leona Hughes Hughes Heart and Hand Fund.

Natural disasters are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Sudden and terrible events in nature (such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood) that result in serious damage

Medical events are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Critical illnesses (cancer, heart attack, stroke, organ transplant, coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty, kidney failure, loss of hearing, loss of vision, loss of speech, paralysis, coma, etc.), terminal illnesses (a disease or condition that cannot be cured) or a life-threatening accident.
  • The medical event must impact the member, the member’s spouse or the member’s dependent child. The committee will consider the member’s parents or legal guardian if the applicant is a dependent or if the applicant is the sole caretaker of the parent(s).
  • All medical events must be verified in writing by a medical provider.

Other dire circumstances are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Circumstances that are life-threatening (seriously dangerous and could result in death)
  • Circumstances that cause the member to have monthly expenses for basic necessities only (food, clothing, shelter, transportation, utilities, and/or medical care) that exceed the member’s monthly income.
  • For an application to be considered under other dire circumstances, the member must be employed or actively seeking work, collecting unemployment, disability or social security. The member must have also exhausted all other financial assistance options (insurance, family loans, personal bank loans, etc.).

Examples of situations that are not eligible for grants from the Leona Hughes Hughes Heart and Hand Fund:

  • Elective medical procedures
  • Personal, family or marital conflicts, including divorce, separation or child support
  • Legal expenses
  • Voluntary unemployment

Click here to apply for an emergency grant.

Click here to apply for a natural disaster grant. 

Grant amounts vary depending on the need and available funding. The maximum grant considered is $5,000. Eligible members may only receive one grant during their lifetime from the Leona Hughes Hughes Heart and Hand Fund.

Donors may also choose to designate their gifts for the Leona Hughes Hughes Heart & Hand Fund.


Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund

The Foundation also offers assistance through The Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund, which aims to provide financial relief to members who are experiencing financial distress due to divorce, natural disasters, medical events or other dire circumstances.

Grants from the Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund are limited to covering only educational expenses. Phi Mu fees, dues and obligations, including House Corporation expenses do not qualify as educational expenses, and therefore, are not eligible for grants from the Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund.

Applicants must be active collegiate or alumnae members in good standing with Phi Mu Fraternity and initiated for at least one year. Applicants must also be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university working toward a degree, credential or certificate and at least a 3.0 GPA.

Applicants must be experiencing financial distress due to divorce, natural disasters, medical events or other dire circumstances.

Natural disasters are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Sudden and terrible events in nature (such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood) that result in serious damage.

Medical events are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Critical illnesses (such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, organ transplant, coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty, kidney failure, loss of hearing, loss of vision, loss of speech, paralysis, coma, etc.), terminal illnesses (a disease or condition that cannot be cured) or a life-threatening accident.
  • The medical event must impact the member, the member’s spouse or the member’s dependent child. The committee will consider the member’s parents or legal guardian if the applicant is a dependent or if the applicant is the sole caretaker of the parent(s).
  • All medical events must be verified in writing by a medical provider.

Other dire circumstances are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Circumstances that are life-threatening (seriously dangerous and could result in death)
  • Circumstances that cause the member to have monthly expenses for basic necessities only (food, clothing, shelter, transportation, utilities, and/or medical care) that exceed the member’s monthly income.
  • For an application to be considered under other dire circumstances, the member must be employed or actively seeking work, collecting unemployment, disability or social security. The member must have also exhausted all other financial assistance options (insurance, family loans, personal bank loans, etc.).

Educational expenses are defined by Phi Mu Foundation as:

  • Tuition and fees required for the enrollment or attendance at an educational institution, as well as books, supplies and equipment required for the course of study at the educational institution.

Examples of situations that are not eligible for grants from the Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund:

  • Elective medical procedures
  • Personal or family conflicts
  • Legal expenses
  • Voluntary unemployment

Click here to apply for emergency educational assistance.

Grant amounts vary depending on the need and available funding. The maximum grant considered is $5,000. Eligible members may only receive one grant during their lifetime from the Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund.

Donors may also choose to designate their gifts for the Betty Nell Wilkinson Emergency Fund.

Make a gift today to support sisters in their most critical time of need.