Kappa Sigma raises over $10,000 for western Kentucky tornado relief


A car sits among the remains of a destroyed house after a tornado in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. AP Photo/Michael Clubb

Lindsey Davis

On Dec. 10 and 11, 2021, four tornadoes ripped through western Kentucky, leaving communities devastated. University of Kentucky fraternity Kappa Sigma wasted no time in responding by starting a GoFundMe on Dec. 11 for western Kentucky tornado relief.

In less than a month, the fraternity raised $10,720.

Several members of the chapter are from western Kentucky, including Max Morris, a sophomore business management major and the fundraiser’s organizer.

Morris, the Kappa Sigma philanthropy chair, said that some of the fraternity members completely lost their homes to the tornadoes.

“I thought that this would be a good opportunity to show them that the fraternity, the alumni, our friends, families and everyone on campus has their back during these hard times,” Morris said.

He recalled his experience going back home to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for winter break. Bowling Green was one of the areas of western Kentucky that was hit by the tornadoes.

“It was really sad, seeing all the places that I used to go to growing up. They were just gone,” Morris said. “It’s a scary sight that no one should ever have to see, but unfortunately, so many people do now.”

Morris credited Ben Samson, Kappa Sigma chapter president, for pushing him to start the GoFundMe.

“I was hopeful as the leader of a large student organization that we could do something for the communities that were affected and raise some funds,” Samson, a junior neuroscience major and Marshall County native, said.

Jonathan Andrews, a sophomore information communication technology major, is the Kappa Sigma treasurer and graphics chair. Andrews created the graphic regarding the success of the fundraiser that was posted on @kappasigmakentucky, the official Instagram account of UK’s Beta Nu chapter of Kappa Sigma.

“I thought that the fundraiser could be a little sense of hope for everyone,” Morris said.

Little did he know, the fundraiser was going to be much more successful than he anticipated.

“Honestly, I was surprised that the fundraiser went as far as it did,” Andrews said.

Morris explained that he originally set the fundraiser’s goal at $1,000, which it raised within the first 48 hours, so he increased it to $2,000. When that goal was met, he raised it to $3,000.

“Once we met that, we figured, ‘Why not shoot for the stars?’” he said.

Samson believes that one of the reasons the fundraiser was so successful was because it was so easy to share.

“We sent emails to the alumni, texted friends and family and posted about it on social media,” Samson said. “Once it got out, a lot of people jumped on it and donated.”

Andrews credited the help of the generous alumni and families as the reason they were able to crush goals that they didn’t think were possible.

Now that the fundraiser has received $10,720 in donations, Morris and Andrews are discussing what to do with the money. Andrews said that he is working with the philanthropy chair to ensure that the funds make it to the families affected as efficiently as possible.

Samson explained that many people in western Kentucky live below the poverty line. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average poverty rate of the cities most affected by the tornadoes is 30.2%.

“I think that, recently, fraternities have been portrayed pretty negatively in the media — you know, with good reason — so I’m happy that we can use our platform as a large and active student organization to make a difference in those communities,” Samson said.