Bill Campbell has been retired for six years, but often believes that a full-time job would be easier.
“I just turned 70 and I’m really busy,” he said last week, in the den of his South Strabane Township home during a leisurely moment. “I attend a lot of meetings and have so much going on, I sometimes wonder if I’m still retired.”
Oh, he is. Bill and his wife, Carolyn, have time to do their grandparenting due diligence, gathering frequently with their three children and seven grandchildren. They vacation and travel together. Yet they also are active in their community – many communities, actually –volunteering at their church, serving nonprofits and for-profits, being philanthropic with their time.
A lot of people would like to thank the Campbells for their service, and the Washington County Community Foundation will do just that Thursday evening, when it honors the couple with the Northrop Family Excellence Award for Community Philanthropy at a dinner at the Hilton Garden Garden in Southpointe.
The community foundation, a nonprofit headed by president and chief executive officer Betsie Trew, renamed the top award last year as a tribute to the Northrop family, the 2018 winner. The Northrops, who for 116 years owned and published the Observer-Reporter and its forerunners, the Washington Observer and the Washington Reporter, sold their company to Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, W.Va., 13 months ago.
“I never dreamed they’d select us,” Bill said, smiling.
The Campbells will not be the only honorees at this annual event. Three companies, of varying sizes, will be presented the Charles C. Keller Excellence Award for Corporate Philanthropy: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania (large employer), Alex E. Paris Contracting (medium) and Campbell Insurance Associates (small size, and not connected to Bill and Carolyn).
Bill Campbell, a Washington native, had a prosperous career with Camalloy Inc., in the Arden section of Chartiers Township. Bill was president and part-owner of the company, which distributed flat-roll stainless aluminum and 3M industrial products. He retired in 2013.
He met Carolyn in Jacksonville, Fla., where she was a teacher and he was working. They wed in 1977 and, a year later, relocated to the Floral Hill neighborhood of South Strabane, where their philanthropic roots soon sprouted.
They became members of First Presbyterian Church, 1793, in Washington, where they became involved in its operation and remain dedicated to today. Carolyn, a native Alabaman, taught Sunday school for many years and has been a deacon and elder. Bill is the church treasurer, and helped to raise funds to renovate the historic building.
Both have been avid fundraisers for Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, a nonprofit organization that oversees senior living. Bill is the network’s current director and chairman of the Presbyterian SeniorCare Foundation. For many years, Carolyn has been a planning committee member for the “Your Holiday Home” fundraiser, which benefits the SeniorCare Fund for residents of the Washington campus.
The Campbells have been involved in other charitable endeavors, including United Way of Washington County, for which Bill has served as director and past chairman. He also is a former chairman of the WCCF board, who at the time helped to secure the donation of the Samuel T. Brownlee House as the foundation’s new home.
Carolyn has been a longtime member of the foundation’s Women of Philanthropy Giving Circle and is credited with recruiting members to that group.
Bill may be surprised by the couple’s selection for an award known previously as Philanthropist of the Year. Yet he is proud of the services he and his spouse have rendered, proud they are philanthropists in the purest sense.
“One definition of philanthropy is giving from the heart,” he said. “It’s not always financial. It’s not like Bill Gates when he tosses out millions, doing things that are quite visible.”
The Campbells will be a lot more visible Thursday night.