Creating opportunity for children

Alumni Jim and Carmen Campbell have made the lead gift for a new home for the Institute of Child Development

Jim and Carmen Campbell were raised in Byron, Minnesota, by mothers who were teachers. They both attended rural schools with small class sizes. They credit those experiences, along with their college experience at the University of Minnesota, with their success.

As graduates of the U—Carmen from CEHD, Jim from the Carlson School of Management—the Campbells have been generous volunteers and supporters of their alma mater. They’ve invested countless hours and more than $16 million in the University. Their passion for education drives that support.

Photo of Jim and Carmen Campbell with Dean Jean Quam and U of M Marching Band director Betsy McCann
Jim and Carmen Campbells, right, with Dean Jean Quam and (left) U of M Marching Band director Betsy McCann

Now the Campbells have made the lead gift of $8 million to fund the extensive renovation and modernization of the century-old building that houses the globally celebrated Institute of Child Development on the Twin Cities campus. The University announced the gift in January.

“Minnesota leaders, policymakers, and nonprofits all understand early childhood education is the pathway to opportunity. We believe there’s nothing more important than investing in children’s development during these critical early years,” said Carmen Campbell. “Those first years shape a child’s chances for success in school and in life. The Institute of Child Development solves the real-world challenges facing children during this formative time and educates the teachers who work with kids in communities and bring their knowledge to benefit families in Minnesota, and around the world.”

The Campbells’ gift is the largest in a private fundraising campaign to generate a portion of the total needed to bring the University’s most celebrated child development programs in line with modern standards.

In addition to private fundraising efforts, the Board of Regents approved accelerating plans to include the new home for ICD in the state’s bonding process. The University made funding for the updated ICD facility the top priority project in its 2019 legislative capital request. Like many higher education bonding projects, the $42 million funding plan commits the University to invest one-third of the total cost ($14 million) and asks the state to invest the remaining amount ($28 million).

The plan to modernize the ICD building calls for a sweeping renovation and expansion of the historic East Bank building, originally constructed in 1903 and reconstructed in 1913 after a fire. The new building would blend historic elements of the facade and interior of the ninth oldest, active building on the Twin Cities campus with contemporary teaching spaces, cutting-edge research facilities, and more energy-efficient features.

“Carmen and I couldn’t think of a better investment in the future of our state and our world,” said Jim Campbell. “We are so pleased that others in our community have also stepped up with their commitments and we look forward to working with state leaders as they consider this critical investment in our children.”

Adapted from the news release published on January 15, 2019.

Read more about plans for the future building for the Institute of Child Development.