By Jeff Murphy, October 26, 2023
Members of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, an organization that helps raise money to support children who have cancer, gather after a meeting at the University of Central Missouri.
WARRENSBURG, MO – Demonstrating University of Central Missouri values that include community and service, student members of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity have raised $18,000 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The group’s philanthropic efforts are consistent with a commitment among TKE fraternities nationwide which have embarked on an ambitious long-term fundraising initiative in support of St. Jude. While the TKE fraternity has philanthropically supported the hospital, at the fraternity’s national conclave on Aug. 3, 2019, a 10-year fundraising initiative was announced with a goal to raise over $10 million to benefit the medical facility.
Located in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas, who was a TKE fraternity member from the Gamma-Nu chapter at the University of Toledo. The hospital opened in 1962, and has grown into one of the world’ premier pediatric cancer research centers, now serving about 8,600 patients annually. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
According to the hospital's website, St. Jude is supported primarily by donations through its national fundraising and awareness organization, ALSAC, which Thomas established. It also receives assistance from federal grants (mostly through the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute), insurance and investments. The strong efforts of supporters, including organizations such as TKE, help make it possible for families to never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment of a child, or the associated costs of travel, housing or food.
UCM’s TKE chapter recently gave funds to support St. Jude as the result of a number of special fundraising events that took place during the 2022-2023 academic year. This included a silent auction during the organization’s family and alumni weekend, a bake sale, and chapter alumni donations, according to Ed Wirthwein, a UCM staff member in the Office of Student Experience and Engagement and a TKE alumnus.
“For our chapter, there are a lot of ways to meet our philanthropy goals, and it’s an ongoing topic in chapter meetings. Our mantra is that consistent effort will always pay off in the end,” said former TKE President Lucas Haney. “For me, that meant setting up a recurring donation on our fundraising page, and putting my money where my mouth is - people are a lot more interested in helping donate to philanthropy when they see that you actually believe in the goals and message you are sharing.”
He added, “Sometimes raising money for St. Jude means getting creative with setting up events, which we have a lot of fun with, but in my experience, networking with the right people and effectively communicating the message of St. Jude have played the biggest role in our philanthropic efforts.”
About Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon was founded on Jan. 10, 1899 and is one of the largest collegiate men’s social fraternities in North America, having nearly 12,000 collegiate members and 221 active chapters. Its mission is to aid men in their mental, moral, and social development for life. Its purpose is to advance society through members’ personal growth and service to others.