Harbaugh Leaves Foundation Well Positioned for Future
Former CEO of the Sigma Chi Foundation Looks Back over 10 Year Tenure
Greg Harbaugh ’78 officially retired as President and CEO of the Sigma Chi Foundation June 30, 2016 after 10 years in this highly visible role within our Fraternity. During Greg’s tenure the Foundation’s assets and programing it supports grew to record levels. Greg noted, “We set the expectation ten years ago that we would seek to address all the relevant issues our young brothers face on campus, and to give them the instruction and tools to effectively deal with them. I am extremely pleased that we succeeded to an unprecedented degree.”
The Foundation honored Greg by naming one of the seven Founders’ Scholarship awards, the Greg and Carol Harbaugh Award. Greg will also be permanently recognized with his portrait being placed in the International Fraternity Headquarters building.
Taking on the Challenges
Under Greg’s direction Foundation scholarships increased ten-fold from $50,000/year to about $500,000/year; programs funded by the Foundation expanded from a limited BLTW and two weeks of Horizons, to five weeks of Horizons (fully funded for the next ten years), a reconstituted BLTW that nearly doubled in size, as well as the addition of programs to address alcohol and drug use/abuse, depression and suicide, hazing, and sexual misconduct/rape. The Foundation’s financial reserves increased six-fold, from $2.5M in the bank to almost $15M, thus positioning the Foundation and Fraternity for a sustainable future.
Sig Foundation at the Top of the List
IRS 990 filings over the past ten years indicated that the Sigma Chi Foundation was the most successful, the most effective, and the most supportive Greek foundation when compared to all other Greek fraternity and sorority foundations, by a significant margin. For example, the Sigma Chi Foundation for the last ten years was #1 in program support (grant funding) by nearly $900,000/year over #2.
A Look Back at How it All Started
Greg was selected as CEO of the Foundation in 2006 following five years as Director and COO for the Florida Air Museum and 23 years with NASA. As an astronaut he took part in four Shuttle missions; 818 hours in space, three spacewalks (two on the Hubble telescope) and was head of the spacewalk program for NASA for four years. Greg has been recognized as a Significant Sig for his contributions to America’s space program.
Greg commented, “I was enthused at the possibility of having a positive impact on the lives of some 15,000 young men across North America. There are very few places that teach leadership skills, and Sigma Chi has the potential to have profound impact in that arena. In addition, Delta Delta has always been near and dear to my heart - it was place of inspiration and elevation of my aspirations as an undergrad - so this was also a way to give back to my home chapter.”
What Are You Going to Miss?
“I enjoyed the strategic thought that was necessary to guide the Foundation out of the challenges it faced in 2006”, noted Greg. “The Foundation was poorly positioned for the expectations that had been placed upon it by the Fraternity. I am quite pleased to have led the strategic planning and operational implementation that led to the success we have seen over the last ten years. Not only did we meet and exceed fundraising expectations every year, we instituted the processes for fully accountable Fraternity implementation of the Foundation's program/grant expectations.”
“I would add that I also very much enjoyed the conversations I had with many fine men from many walks of life who revered their Sigma Chi experience and who wanted to contribute to the Fraternity’s future. It was a very easy and often rewarding conversation,” stated Greg.
What Would You Tell Your Delta Delta Brothers?
Greg remarked, “I guess I would like my Delta Delta brothers to know that I was as committed to this mission as I was to flying aboard the Space Shuttle during my time with NASA (though with slightly less threat to life and limb). I put my heart into making the Foundation (and the Fraternity) as strongly positioned for the future as possible. The task was more fraught with challenges than I anticipated, but I believe the results speak for themselves. I am very proud of what we accomplished.”
“I am equally proud of what my Delta Delta brothers have accomplished in so many walks of life. I have seen no chapter in Sigma Chi that is more impressive, that has put out as many amazing and talented men - men who embrace their families, lead in their professions, engage in their communities, and live life fully - as my Delta Delta brothers”, stated Greg.
Sharing His Experiences and Convictions
When asked, “What’s next?” Greg responded, “While officially retired, I do occasionally speak to Fortune 500 companies on values-based leadership in general, and what I learned about leadership, strategic thought, critical real-time thinking, and effective communications during my time at NASA in particular.”
“I am also devoted to sharing what little wisdom I possess about what is really important in life to any willing audience. In particular, men don't have an easy time in our culture, and part of what I have learned is how important it is for men at various stages of life to be able to share their thoughts, hopes, fears and difficulties with other men who will respect their confidentiality and help them work through their issues. No one goes through life unscored upon, let alone undefeated. There are times when we all need a strong arm, a true heart, or a tender sympathy. I am committed to providing that support whenever I have the opportunity. I would welcome conversation with any of my Delta Delta brothers and am actively seeking the occasional golf game. Beyond that, I have a few grapevines planted and hope to produce a respectable bottle of red at some point”, Greg concluded.
Currently Greg is Chairman & CEO of InnerSpace Consultants, his own company, and an aspiring grape grower. Greg has three amazing daughters with his wife, Carol of 35 years, who is a minister and former chemical engineer for Exxon. Home is now the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin.
Sounds like there is a lot more for Brother Harbaugh to contribute before he gets too comfortable in his rocking chair on the porch.
Congratulations Brother Harbaugh on making such a significant difference to so many Sigma Chi brothers.