Bloomberg News has published a look at the man who is essential to Elton’s foundation, Scott Campbell.
The 45-year-old Montana native who took over as Executive Director three years ago, has managed to nearly tripled the charity’s budget to $12 million. He has also expanded the EJAF‘s reach to the Caribbean by funding a program which publicises awareness of the disease.
While Elton’s name attracts celebrities to the foundation’s parties, it is Campbell who has lured top corporate backers, such as American Airlines and VH1.
“Scott is laser-focused on his job as the fundraiser,” said Kandy Ferree, president of the National AIDS Fund in Washington, whose organisation received $2.8 million in funding from the EJAF last year. “He’s someone who is committed to follow-up and will be on the phone” with deep-pocketed donors.
Grant recipients are approved by the 12-member board, which includes Elton, who is the chairman, and his pal, tennis player Billie Jean King.
Last year, the foundation made 58 grants to AIDS philanthropies, including $350,000 to the New York-based Syringe Access Fund, which distributes clean syringes.
Scott points out that needles exchanges have been an effective way of cutting down on the transmission of HIV.
Campbell was instrumental in the foundation’s funding of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, which uses newspapers and broadcasting to encourage people in that region to get AIDS tests. “The purpose of it is to reduce the stigma of AIDS and to make people aware of the disease,” he said.
Last year, about 11,000 people died of AIDS in the Caribbean.
Originally from Bozeman, Montana but was raised in California, Campbell worked for fundraising consultant J.C. Geever Inc. after college. As the AIDS epidemic grew in the 1980s, he became interested in raising money to combat the disease and joined amfAR in 1992.
During his 13 years at amfAR — where he eventually became vice president of development — the organisation funded early studies that were important to the development of protease inhibitors that reduced deaths.
“AIDS was very often thought of as a death sentence,” he obsreved. “Part of that was due to the stigma that surrounds it and society’s slow response to it.”
Campbell said he hopes eventually there won’t be a need to collect donations to fight AIDS.
“I don’t think people are thrilled that they’re still here 16 years later having to support this event,” he said. “But people remain supportive because they know that AIDS is an urgent problem.”