Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (ΣΓΡ) is a historically African American sorority, international collegiate, and non-profit community service organization that was founded on November 12, 1922, by seven educators on the Irvington campus (1875–1928) of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. At its inception, the sorority was created to support Black women pursuing degrees in education, and later in other disciplines.

Sigma Gamma Rho has over 100,000 members with more than 500 undergraduate and alumnae chapters in the United States, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Canada, Germany, South Korea, U.S. Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates.

Sigma Gamma Rho has affiliate groups for women at different stages in life: Rhosebuds (elementary-age girls), the Rhoer Club Affiliates (teenage girls), and the Philos Affiliates (friends of the sorority). It has launched programs such as Sigma Teen Towns in the 1940s and formed partnerships with the March of Dimes, USA Swimming and others.


Motto: “Greater Service, Greater Progress”

Founded: November 12, 1922, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana

Headquarters: Cary, NC

Colors: Royal blue; Gold

Member number: over 100,000 members


Affiliation: The fraternity maintains a membership in the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC).


Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana, by seven young educators: Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian Irene White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford, Bessie Mae Downey Rhoades Martin, and Cubena McClure.

The group, with the help of Robert Lee Brokenburr, became incorporated in Indiana in 1922 as a national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to the Alpha chapter at Butler University. Brokenburr told the group: “You young ladies have started something Great and Wonderful for the Women of our Country”.

Membership and structure

Sigma Gamma Rho has welcomed more than 100,000 collegiate and professional women from every profession. The sorority has more than 500 chapters in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, South Korea, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the United Arab Emirates. The organization also has active affiliate groups devoted to empowering women at different stages in life. The Rhoer Club Affiliates (teenage girls) and Philos Affiliates (friends of the sorority) also assist alumnae chapters with various service efforts and programs.


Since its inception, Sigma Gamma Rho has promoted unity among women and for years many alumnae chapters worked with individuals who were not members of Greek-lettered organizations. These women were organized into auxiliaries that had various names until 1954 when the sorority officially approved the organized affiliate group and accepted the name of “Philo” (meaning, “friend”) as their official name.


The Rhoer Club is an affiliate of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. The Rhoer Club consists of a diverse group of young ladies between the ages of twelve and eighteen who demonstrate high scholastic standards. Rhoer Clubs are organized, maintained, and sponsored by local graduate chapters within each of the geographical regions of the Sorority.

The program consists of training and guidance in education, community service, vocation, fine arts, and social affairs. The program also provides the young women with the energy, support, commitment, and encouragement of the Sorors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. to help them develop and succeed in their life’s endeavors.


The Rhosebud Club is an affiliate group consisting of a diverse group of girls ages 8 through 11 years of age. Delicate like the petals of a rosebud, this affiliate group is handled with special care and attention

Operation BigBookBag

Operation BigBookBag is a program designed to address the needs, challenges and issues that face school-aged children who are educationally at-risk, in local homeless shelters and extended-care hospitals and facilities.

Through this program, chapters and members collect and donate educational materials, equipment and school supplies.

Women’s Wellness Initiative

The Women’s Wellness Initiative is a consolidated effort that allows chapters to focus on health issues that impact women; specifically, women of color. The Women’s Wellness Initiative was developed after the Sorority’s participation in the United Nations/March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness panel in New York. Acceptable educational and programmatic efforts under this Initiative include, but are not limited to Breast Cancer Awareness, Intimate and Domestic Violence, Heart Health, Diabetes Health, Mental Health and other issues that target women. WWI programs can be conducted at any time during the sorority year.

Swim 1922

Swim 1922 was created to address the unfortunate truth that according to the CDC, approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S.A. An even more startling fact is that 70 percent of African American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children in the U.S. do not know how to swim.

Project CRADLE Care

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority’s Project CRADLE Care is one of the essential programs designed to raise awareness of disparate and inequitable maternal and infant health outcomes Black women endure through community outreach, advocacy, education, and implicit bias training. In so doing, Sigma aim to mitigate outcome and life-course disparities in our communities.

Annual Youth Symposium

Held simultaneously, on the second Saturday of March by Alumnae Chapters across the nation, our Youth Symposium serves as a unifying effort during Sigma Week. The Symposium (supported by undergraduate chapters and affiliates) is designed to highlight some of the prevalent concerns that negatively impact our youth (drugs, teen violence, abuse, low self-esteem, suicide, teen pregnancy, human trafficking, etc.).

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