The Newport Harbor Area Alumnae Panhellenic, now in its 70th year of operation, has distributed $7,600 in scholarships to women across Southern California — and has given a total of $33,500 in the past five years.
The organization was founded in 1951 and aims to raise scholarship money for women in college, but it also makes some one-time charitable donations to local organizations such as the Balboa Island Museum in Newport Beach and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. Members usually meet once a month to discuss local causes they can help.
“We are very proud that our main focus is on providing scholarships to women. We are a women-based group,” chapter president Susan Lank said in a phone interview. She said the organization is doing everything it can “to help in any way to make sure the girls get some help.” in their education, self-improvement, and access to education to propel them into the next chapter of their lives.”
“We always say we are small but we are strong,” Lank said, adding that some members are staying at home and unable to attend meetings, but continue to renew their membership. “We don’t have a huge membership, but we pride ourselves on being able to raise $7,600 to award four scholarships to women in the Southern California area.”
Scholarships are awarded in the spring and are primarily need-based, although Lank said grade point averages and activities can be a factor in the decision. Most donations are from private donors.
Megan Powers, a third-year student at UC Irvine, said she heard about the Newport Harbor scholarship from a friend at her university organization — Gamma Phi Beta — and applied for it this spring, receiving a one-time $1,800 scholarship that she put into Textbooks, and her women’s club. Dues and help her family in rent.
Powers, who specializes in literary journalism, said she had no intention of joining a sorority from the start when she graduated from Fountain Valley High School, but she eventually did so with some encouragement from her mother to explore opportunities.
“I got a little scared,” Powers said with a laugh.
Powers said she felt the support of the Hellenic communities was important and necessary to help women continue their education.
“Especially in 2020, a lot of people have faced a lot of financial hardship, so something like this [scholarship] It is definitely very useful. [Scholarship winners] “They can still enjoy doing the things they love without having to worry about financial hardship,” Powers said.
Kate Platten, a fellow scholarship recipient and UC Irvine colleague, said she applied for the scholarship after hearing about it from another student and Newport Harbor alumnus at her undergraduate organization, Delta Gamma.
Platten said she’s a first-generation college student and currently majors in business and criminology, but added that she doesn’t have a strong group of friends on campus. She said it was the real connections she made in Gamma Delta that made her join “the best decision I’ve made in my college career.
“Every job I’ve gotten in college so far has been through another women’s organization,” Platten said. “So having a support system that went through what I went through…in my class, graduated or in other Panhellenic communities has been helpful.”
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