In the 1950s, Evelyn Reid Syphax, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, and a member of Xi Omega Chapter in the District of Columbia spearheaded the formation of the interest group called Alpha Kappa Alpha Women of Northern Virginia, to fill need for the many service programs that Alpha Kappa Alpha women could provide in her local community. The twenty-one members of the interest group received permission to start a new chapter in the recently formed Mid-Atlantic Region at the 1953 Boule. Zeta Chi Omega officially became a chapter when it received it charter on May 25, 1956, to provide community service programs to the residents of Arlington, Virginia.
Since its inception in 1956 to present, the Chapter has awarded more than a quarter of a million dollars in scholarship, primarily through funds raised at our annual Cooley- Moore Scholarship Luncheon Fashion Show. In 1958 the Chapter held it first Cotillion and presented 16 ladies to society. To date the Chapter has presented over 1300 young ladies to society through its annual Cotillion. From 1974 to the present, the Chapter hosts an annual Christmas holiday luncheon for over 100 senior citizens and conducts an ongoing mentoring program for at-risk second through fifth grade girls – Project StepOut.
The Chapter sponsored the region's first citywide undergraduate chapter in 2000. On April 2, 2000, Sigma Alpha was chartered as an Arlington City chapter to include Marymount University and Strayer University. Sigma Alpha chapter was the first undergraduate chapter charted in the new millennium, and the first Greek letter organization on both campuses.
The Chapter established its charitable affiliate, the Ivy Foundation of Northern Virginia in 2001. Since 2005, the Ivy Foundation of Northern Virginia has co-sponsored some of our programs to include the Cooley- Moore Scholarship and Project StepOut.
The Chapter has also strengthened our presence in the community through collaborative partnership for greater impact. For example, the chapter partners with AARP to hosts our annual Christmas holiday luncheon for seniors. See our list of community partners - we honor those who are passionate about being of service to others.
In 2020, the Chapter implemented the Excellence Program Targets by volunteering hours tutoring and mentoring students; providing meals, numerous school supplies and educational workshops to residents of the chapter's three adopted shelters; participating in an HBCU College Fair; creating new cultural arts programs for youth and seniors; and starting a series of webinars to help members with financial and health issues impacting African-American women. Additionally, the Chapter has donated shoes to Soles4Souls and eyeglasses to the Lions Club. Zeta Chi Omega currently has about 400 members and Crystal D. Lander is the current Basileus.