SOURCE: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

June 25, 2008 14:48 ET

Alpha Kappa Alpha to Pump $100 Million Into DC's Economy During Weeklong Convention

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - June 25, 2008) - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will pump over $100 million into the District of Columbia's economy when it holds its weeklong Centennial Convention there from July 11-18.

In making the announcement, the organization's international president, Barbara A. McKinzie, said that figure is based on the estimated average spending of 25,000 registered members, combined with an additional 10,000 members who are not registered but who will be in the District to witness the whirlwind of Centennial galas and other activities. She calculates that those 35,000 persons will spend an average of $3,000 on hotel, food and shopping during their stay.

This amounts to a $105 million infusion into the metro D.C. economy.

Additionally, said McKinzie, the hostess chapters and corporate headquarters will add to this figure in preparing for the event by using the Convention Center and other venues.

McKinzie added that the Sorority is contracting a host of DC-based minority businesses for many of its needs, thereby spreading the wealth to local entrepreneurs.

She emphasized that bringing over 35,000 members to the District is tantamount to "a city within a city." Because it is a landmark occasion, the overwhelming participation underscores the pride that members have in coming together from all points of the globe to share in the legacy, joy, pageantry and sisterhood of this Centennial milestone. For the sheer numbers, this convention, she said, will be unparalleled, unmatched and unrivaled in the Sorority's 100-year history.

McKinzie stressed that over and above the celebrations and gala revelry, the Sorority's weeklong convention will provide an economic stimulus to the District of Columbia. This, she said, parallels Alpha Kappa Alpha's ESP programmatic theme -- Economics, Service and Partnership -- by satisfying its mission to galvanize as a powerful force to add to the area's economic coffers.

McKinzie noted that the Sorority's resolve to bolster the economy of America's beleaguered cities has been manifested in several examples, including in its decision to forego a Hawaiian cruise and host its Leadership Conference in New Orleans in 2007. There, the Sorority partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for two families displaced by Hurricane Katrina and collaborated with Feed the Children to deliver food, goods and household staples to over 400 residents. All totaled, Alpha Kappa Alpha poured over $6 million into New Orleans' economy.

The sojourn to Washington, D.C., underscores its economic mission -- but on a larger scale.

"Alpha Kappa Alpha's Centennial will be heralded for the pageantry and for the strong show of members who will converge upon the District en masse to make a Centennial statement," McKinzie said. "Equally important, Alpha Kappa Alpha will reinforce its reputation as a powerful force that provides an economic boost wherever it goes. This is the legacy we hope to leave behind."

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is America's first Greek-letter organization founded in 1908 by, and for, African-American college women. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, it is one of the world's leading service organizations. The Sorority's members have made a commitment "to serve all mankind" through a nucleus of more than 200,000 women in over 975 chapters in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan and in the continent of Africa. Barbara A. McKinzie is the 27th International President. Because her term coincides with the 100-year anniversary, she is being hailed as the "Centennial National President." McKinzie's administration is marked by the theme: ESP, which stands for Economics, Service and Partnerships. For more information, log on to www.aka1908.com. For an archive of press releases, visit the online pressroom at http://aka1908.com/site/pressroom/.

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