The Ability Experience
Most notably, the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity is the only fraternity nationwide to have founded and operate its own philanthropy on their own. The Ability Experience is the philanthropic initiative of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity that remains, to this day, an unparalleled success in the Greek world. Founded in 1977, we strive to instill a passion for lifelong service in our fraternity members while helping to empower people living with disabilities. The Ability Experience, a completely nonprofit organization and remains the exclusive philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi with the purpose of instilling lifelong service in our fraternity members and serving people with disabilities. The Theta Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi (University of Cincinnati) has a founding tradition to have a least one brother a year volunteer spend his summer to spread awareness for disabilities across the country.
In 1976, Durward Owen, then Executive Director of Pi Kappa Phi, called a meeting of the minds with the leaders of Pi Kappa Phi in an effort to mobilize the work force that was the fraternity’s undergraduate members. At that time, he approached a man named Thomas Sayre who designed a therapeutic play unit for children with severe disabilities. Little did they know that their collaboration would spur a philanthropic initiative that is, to this day, an unparalleled success in the Greek world.
Ingenuity has allowed for The Ability Experience to develop premier programming for Pi Kappa Phi undergraduates and alumni. What started out as construction of Thomas Sayre’s play unit has evolved into nationally recognized programs that work collectively to promote a greater understanding of people with disabilities.
Undergraduate chapters across the country have, and continue to establish, volunteer relationships with local facilities that serve people with disabilities, in conjunction with fundraising on campus and in their local communities for the programs of The Ability Experience. Members of Pi Kappa Phi have raised millions of dollars for the programs of The Ability Experience as well as donated millions of man hours to renovate facilities that serve people with disabilities across the country.
The history of The Ability Experience is not complete. New programs are on the horizon, there are more funds to be raised and there are millions of Americans to reach with our mission — and the message of how members of Pi Kappa Phi are bringing that mission to life every day.
Developing Servant Leaders
The Ability Experience provides endless opportunities for service nationwide and even within different countries. We put our values into action to build relationships and promote a lifetime of servant leadership. We emphasize involvement; whether it’s a summer-long, cross-country team event, a weekend construction intensive, or running a local 10k. If you're seeking a fraternity in which provides exemplary work with many reputable organizations worldwide -- you've found the right place. Below, you will find all of our events at both the local and national level.
True leaders empower others — and learn through experience. As the only national fraternity to establish and maintain its own non-profit organization, we pride ourselves in taking the lead when we see a need and have set the fraternal standard for hands-on, service-based leadership training. Through The Ability Experience you are taught how to be an effective leader and work better as a team. And you learn that it really is far greater to give than receive.
The first week-long construction Ability Camp was held at the Clemson Outdoor Lab in Clemson, S.C. Today, Pi Kappa Phi members forgo the traditional college spring break experience to attend this week of service, brotherhood and fun. Now undergraduates from all over the country have the opportunity to attend one of these two-day programs, where they work together to construct accessible amenities for facilities serving people with disabilities.
Build America is a four-week team event traveling the country promoting accessible recreation for people with disabilities. The team will construct accessible amenities at 6 camps saving them $1,000's in labor and materials. From construction to spending each evening with campers with disabilities, the Build America team is dedicated to proving true human ability.
Touted as the best two weeks of programming that The Ability Experience has to offer, this 800-mile cycling event kicks off on the shores of Miami, travels through the Florida orange fields, reaches the Gulf coast, passes through Orlando, comes back to the Atlantic coast and culminates at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. The team spreads a message of acceptance and understanding to communities in Florida through newspapers, radio and television, civic groups and community leaders, reaching millions of people annually.
Each summer members of Pi Kappa Phi cycle from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to Washington, D.C. The Journey of Hope covers 32 different states, cycling over 12,000 miles combined, it is solely comprised of members of Pi Kappa Phi and continues to spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities.
Pi Kappa PHRIES
Twice a semester, our chapter hosts a fry stand on campus. We invite the entire greek community to come out and donate all profits to the Ability Experience.
Ability Awareness Week
Every year, we host a week-long event in which we "Spread The Word to End The Word" with the word in focus being the "R-word". You can see us setup on campus with posters available to sign in pledging to end the use of the word. Additionally, we host a 24 hour Bike-a-thon. These events are held on campus to promote the ability experience and national events such as Journey of Hope which is a cross-country cycle ride over the summer. Anyone around campus can participate in this great cause.
In the Fall, our members are encouraged to participate in an overnight, weekend long camp in Batavia, Ohio. Throughout the weekend, we build and repair various items for the camp along with building handicap accessible bridges, walkways, and more. The camp is open throughout various times of the year and some of our brothers can be found volunteering there on their own time for service hours. Every year, countless other Pi Kapp's from colleges around the tri-state area show up in support.
Sunshine Foundation, Inc.
In the Spring, a majority of our members head up to Maumee, Ohio to construct accessible fishing piers, boardwalks, pavilions, playgrounds and more in an effort to highlight the abilities of people with disabilities. Similar to Camp Allyn, you can find members from many different schools volunteering in this project. The work done will help enhance the lives of people with disabilities while also building bonds of brotherhood.