Zeta Omega Chapter was chartered on April 28, 1922, in Wilmington, Delaware, as the sorority’s seventh graduate chapter. The charter members were Anna Frances Broadnax, Ella Smith Elbert, Sadie L. Jones, Nellie Blythe Nicholson (Taylor), and F. Marian Reed. Although the chapter provided impactful community service, the original chapter ceased to function. On May 5, 1947, Zeta Omega reactivated through the efforts of Martha Evans, Venus Johnson, and Anna Broadnax, one of the original charter members. Anna F. Broadnax eventually became the fifth First Vice President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Zeta Omega has a rich history of service to the sorority. Our first Diamond member with seventy-five years of service, was the late Venus Johnson. Doris Fields Smith became a Diamond member in 2019 and is a very active participant in all chapter programs. Zeta Omega has four Pearl members with 65 years of service. They are Mildred Holmes, Willie Jackson, Claudette Evans, and Norma Parson. The Zeta Omega Chapter Song was written by the late Mildred T. McGowan, a renowned musician.
In February 1950, Zeta Omega held its inaugural Debutante Program and Ball, presently our signature program. The Program is comprised of a series of workshops and culminates with an elegant Ball. Proceeds from the program provide funding that allows the chapter to give scholarships to young ladies entering college.
Zeta Omega established The Pearls of Hope Foundation in the 1990s, followed by incorporation in 2003. As our charitable arm, the foundation allows us to provide additional scholarship and community service. Since 1996, Zeta Omega has awarded scholarships exceeding $200,000 to exceptional students. Zeta Omega has supported the United Negro College Fund and continues to support HBCUs through the EAF and chapter and personal contributions.
Historically, Zeta Omega has partnered with several organizations, including the YWCA Home Life Management Center, the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Delaware Adolescent Program, Inc., local community centers, and state, county, and local government. In 2006, Zeta Omega embarked on a project, sponsoring Delaware’s annual Sickle Cell Tennis Tournament which continues today. The event has raised more than $125,000, subsequently donated to the A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington for research. As proponents of education, we support mentoring programs, STEM projects, the MLK Reading Program, and book corners in nursing centers.
Other projects that we have implemented include an Economic Empowerment Symposium for Women, which includes youth. The goal is to encourage economic independence and familial wealth-building. Tracking the money our members spend with black-owned businesses gives us awareness of our economic prowess. Zeta Omega celebrates the arts with a Poetry Slam featuring artists from the Harlem Renaissance. The chapter made significant donations of glasses to the Lions Club and shoes to Soles4Souls. We support our homeless and needy community and adopt a shelter yearly. Recently, members supported the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans and adopted a refugee family in collaboration with the Jewish Family Services.
Zeta Omega continues to implement our award-winning programs for the current 2018 - 2022 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. programming, Exemplifying Excellence Through Sustainable Service, under the leadership of our International President, Dr. Glenda Glover.