George Mason University’s intramural fields filled with soccer players on Saturday afternoon, all in support of a fundraiser put on by the school’s Kappa Phi chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Money raised from the fraternity’s first annual 5 v. 5 soccer tournament wasn’t geared toward any beer runs or house parties; it was all for the benefit of the Fisher House Foundation, Kappa Sigma’s national philanthropy.
Eight teams consisting of five to seven players competed, raising $250 in the process. Additional funds were raised by the event’s two sponsors: Hard Times Cafe on Chain Bridge Road contributed $100 in gift cards, while Branded Memorabilia gave a $50 gift card to bring the total to $400.
Each dollar went to support the Military Heroes Campaign, a branch of Fisher House that aids wounded military veterans returning from active duty.
“I’m really happy with how things turned out,” said sophomore Daniel Marks, Kappa Phi’s public relations chair. “This is the first time we’ve done it, so we weren’t 100 percent sure how everything was going to work out, but everything went really smoothly and it seemed like people had a great time.”
The Fisher House builds comfort homes at major military and VA medical centers where families can stay while a loved one receives treatment. The Foundation ensures that families of service men and women are not burdened with unnecessary expenses during a time of crisis. There are 60 Fisher Houses located in the United States and Europe, including several in the D.C. metro area.
Since its inception in 1990, the Fisher House has provided lodging for over 178,000 families, totaling more than 4.6 million nights at a cost savings of over $200 million. In 2012 over 19,000 military families were beneficiaries of Fisher House’s charitable projects.
The Military Heroes Campaign was introduced in support of the Fisher House by Kappa Sigma’s national fraternity in 2007, and Mason’s Kappa Phi chapter has been involved with those efforts every year since that time. Saturday’s soccer tournament marked the chapter’s newest effort to raise money and awareness for the cause. According to event coordinator Ray Fontaine, the combination of outside sponsorships and widespread interest shown by other participating Greek organizations helped the event make a far greater impact than the restaurant fundraisers traditionally put on in the past.
“We’re just trying to increase every year so that at some point in a few years maybe we can have consistent sponsors that are going to come out and sponsor our events, put their banners up, provide gift cards for the winners, all that stuff,” said Fontaine, a sophomore. “We just want to make sure we can consistently generate interest.”
Kappa Phi, which does much of its Fisher House fundraising through its support of the annual Military Corps Marathon in Arlington, is looking to build off Saturday’s event for larger ones down the road. Plans are currently in the works for a field day called Victory for Veterans, an event scheduled for next fall that they hope will raise $10,000.
“I definitely think that most Greek organizations have one or two charitable organizations that they have a good relationship with,” Marks said. “Our big thing with Fisher House, beyond just raising money for them, we also just try to spread the word of their awesome message. They really do so many great things.”