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A Century of Service


Pi Beta Phi’s commitment to literacy dates back 100 years to the founding of a Settlement School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Pi Phi was solely responsible for all education in Gatlinburg until the 1940s and continued to provide educational and financial assistance until 1967. Today, through Read > Lead > Achieve reading initiatives, Pi Phis continues the tradition of supporting children and families through literacy service. Pi Beta Phi Elementary School is a true testament to the Fraternity’s dedication to education.

After the Gatlinburg community took over the operations of the Settlement School, Pi Phi directed its philanthropic efforts to communities across the United States and Canada. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Pi Phi chapters and alumnae organizations participated in community literacy projects and created Links to Literacy. Fraternity programs Arrow in the Arctic (1967) and Champions are Readers® (2003) added additional ways of serving local communities.

Pi Beta Phi continues to spread its reach in literacy by working in partnership with prominent organizations, including: The Library of Congress Center for the Book and First Book®. In honor of Dr. Seuss'® March 2 birthday, all members are encouraged to participate in Pi Beta Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service, focusing their efforts on reading in their communities.

At the 2011 Convention, Pi Beta Phi announced the Fraternity’s philanthropic cause, Read > Lead > Achieve. Click here to learn more about why Pi Beta Phi believes in the power of reading.

Legacy of Literacy

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