When members of the Divine Nine gathered in the summer of 2023 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, they were focused on fun, conversation — and giving back. 

That’s the informal name for the National Pan-Hellenic Council, an umbrella organization housing nine black Greek-letter organizations. The council was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1930 to promote unity among its member organizations and address problems of mutual interest to those organizations.  

All nine member organizations have a presence in Alaska: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity. Altogether, the council’s membership exceeds 1.5 million individuals around the world. 

The National Pan-Hellenic Council promotes the well-being of its affiliate fraternities and sororities, facilitates the establishment and development of local councils and provides leadership training for constituents.    

For the better part of 40 years, Divine Nine organizations in Alaska have worked to aid folks experiencing houselessness, support back-to-school drives and provide scholarship opportunities to youth. The collective goals of the groups are based upon long-lasting and meaningful friendships, clear goals and a willingness to contribute to the state of Alaska’s well-being.