Campbell Leads Campaign: Strength in Numbers

Graduation May 2019

When people ask me what I do at Campbell University, I typically say something like, “I work with the alumni and friends of the university,” which is true, but I don’t typically start with, “I raise money!” Maybe I should be more direct, but I don’t like to come across as opportunistic.

However, when the conversation does comes around to giving, I frequently hear things along these lines of, “Boy, I would sure love to help Campbell, but I just can’t give those big gifts like some people.”

Campbell University just completed the 5-year Campbell Leads campaign at the end of 2021. From a top-level review, the campaign was a tremendous success. We originally set out to raise $75 million, increased that goal to $100 million and ended up with a total of just about $106 million in gift commitments. And, equally remarkable, we received over 60,000 contributions during the campaign with the median gift being $25.

I heard a minister speak in the past few weeks where he talked about the parable of the loaves and fishes. That story, as presented in the gospel of Matthew, notes that more than 5,000 turned out to hear Jesus speak and as the day went on, they were hungry. While this sounds a little like tailgating at a Campbell football game, there was no food. There were no vendors selling Chick-Fil-A, there were no food trucks with Korean BBQ. Jesus’s disciples looked around the crowd and all they could find was a boy who had five small loaves of bread and two fish. Yet, we are told that after Jesus instructed the disciples to pass around the fish and the bread, it somehow multiplied over and over. That small lunch ultimately fed the 5,000 with “12 basketfuls leftover” (Matthew 14:13-20).

From my perspective, Campbell realized a similar 21st century “miracle” in the Campbell Leads campaign. Here’s how: the university received over 60,000 gifts during the campaign totaling nearly $106 million, but 49,000 of these gifts (80% of the gifts) were $100 or less. These $100 or less gifts—nearly 50,000 of them—were directed to many wonderful things at Campbell:

Gifts of $100 or less…

  • contributed more than $1 million to the build new Oscar N. Harris Student Union.
  • provided over $1 million in student scholarships.
  • helped expand facilities for our student athletes in soccer, softball, football, baseball, tennis, wrestling and more.
  • provided nearly $1 million to help underwrite Campbell’s operations through the Fund for Campbell.
  • helped fund a beautiful renovation in the Wiggins Memorial library.

Does a $10, $25, $50 or $100 gift to Campbell make a difference?

Every single day it does! Put together with thousands of more gifts of that size, it becomes like the five loaves and two fish. But instead of feeding the 5,000, it helps keep promising students with financial need enrolled. It helps keep the library up-to-date. It helps our student athletes have the latest equipment and facilities. It helps underwrite the operations of this world-class university.

I believe Jesus blessed the life of that little boy who shared the bread and fish from his lunch basket. The Lord turned that modest lunch into something bigger.

I also believe the Lord blesses Campbell University and those who contribute to our mission and purpose. We can do great things with many gifts.

To those who gave a gift during the Campbell Leads campaign, thank you. Every gift matters!

Learn more about the Campbell Leads campaign and how you can make an impact at