A Step Forward
In their first year as Delts Matthew Blount (East Carolina University, 2023) colony philanthropy chairman and Davis Roberts (East Carolina University, 2024), colony president, built community support and established a JDRF One Walk in their community raising more than $52,000 for JDRF.
“When Davis Roberts decided to bring me into this fraternity, we knew I would be the community service and philanthropy chairman right away,” Blount said. “As the only Greenville native, I was the one with the connections already built that would allow us to have an immediate impact. My mother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than 36 years ago when she was a nursing student at East Carolina University. This personal reason led to my leadership and passion connected to our partnership with JDRF. Davis and I had a goal of eventually bringing back a One Walk to Greenville at some point during our collegiate journey.”
Leading the fight against type 1 diabetes (T1D), JDRF funds research, advocates for policies that accelerate access to new therapies, and provides a support network for millions of people around the world impacted by T1D. Delta Tau Delta established its national philanthropic partnership with JDRF in 2012.
What was it like building a colony around such an ambitious philanthropic goal?
Matthew: I truly could not have asked for better brothers than what Delta Tau Delta has given me. My small committee completed all the planning for the Walk, but without the help of the entire colony, the event would not have been the way it was. Every single brother had a role that day and completed it without any problems. Some brothers did not know anyone with T1D but still cared strongly for the event due to brothers, like me, who have family members who are affected by T1D.
What is your family connection to T1D?
Matthew: My mom, Theresa. She is my hero and drives my passion for helping JDRF due to her battle with T1D. During my childhood, I thought it was normal to help your mom with her insulin pump and supplies. Whenever she said she needed her bag, I just knew she was talking about her insulin bag. I was oblivious to the fact that not all parents had diabetes until I grew up. You cannot even tell how much work diabetes is when looking at my mom because she handles it like a champion. When I first told her we were starting a One Walk in Greenville, N.C. she cried tears of joy for a long time. My mom was there every step of the way, either in person or in my heart during the process of making this Walk a reality.
Were you expecting such a significant response?
Davis: It was never our goal to have such a big event. We simply wanted to give 110 percent and put on the best event that we could. This mindset ended up working in our favor as the fundraising goal continued to get higher.
Matthew: Davis and I expected to raise roughly $10,000 and we would have been excited for that! During our weekly meetings with JDRF, they told us not to worry about the money and that the first year is usually hard. I think we blew all expectations out the window.
How did it feel watching the total amount grow?
Davis: We had no idea what to expect. As our fundraising goal continued to be raised by JDRF, our motivation to surpass the new goal grew even stronger ... JDRF compared our One Walks to others they have and the number of experts that it takes to organize these events. This hit hard considering we are just a bunch of college students that have never done anything like this before. However, we are Delts with one goal - being committed to lives of excellence means helping others do the same. This phrase became our slogan for the event and was featured on our event shirts.
What advice do you have for hosting a One Walk?
Davis: Simply do it. Even if you start small, put your best work into the event. It is so rewarding for your chapter and the community. Hosting the event is so rewarding that the time and effort you put into planning and organizing will be well worth it.
Matthew: Just go for it and commit to your work. Davis and I never thought we could make this walk successful in less than two months, but we did. Do not worry if your chapter is not the campus favorite or has the most guys because those are just excuses. We were able to make this walk with only 25 guys and in our first academic year at our university.