State History

Tri Kappa is a unique philanthropic organization because it exists only within the boundaries of the state of Indiana. The organization was founded in 1901 in Indianapolis by a group of seven young ladies at the Girls’ Classical School founded by May Wright Sewall. Each was to begin a chapter in her hometown. From these humble beginnings, Tri Kappa has thrived to 146 Active chapters and 114 Associate chapters with almost 9,000 members.

Each Tri Kappa chapter has special projects in its community for charity, culture, and education. Local chapters also support statewide projects. The James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for children has received contributions of over $1 million and thousands of Riley dolls since it began in 1922. Tri Kappa also supports the Ronald McDonald House.

Tri Kappa supports the Hoosier Salon and awards fine arts scholarships. The Tri Kappa Art Collection, with almost 100 paintings by artists from Indiana, is on permanent loan to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Scholarships of over $5 million have been given since 1913. Tri Kappa now offers scholarships in the areas of academics, fine arts, and to non-traditional students. Tri Kappa also supports an emergency fund for students-in-need at twenty-seven Indiana colleges and universities.

Gifted and talented programs at Purdue University, Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman, and the Indiana Academy of Ball State University receive support from Tri Kappa. A contribution for expenses is made to the winning team of the state competition for “We the People” to attend national competition at Washington, D.C. This program is designed to engage high school students in a rigorous six-week study of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Each year local chapters and state Tri Kappa give over $1.5 million to its endeavors of charity, culture and education. For the past 100 years Tri Kappa members have donated untold hours and millions of dollars to projects in the state of Indiana.