Legacy Funds:

Campaigne Kestner Architects Fund

In celebration of 15 years of doing business in Guilford, Russell Campaigne and Mary Jo Kestner, of Campaigne Kestner Architects, established the Campaigne Kestner Architects Fund in 2016.

Started with an initial donation of $15,000, this fund is intended to support projects that relate to the couple’s architectural background.

“It needs to be associated with the built environment,” said Campaigne. “Whether that’s through some not-for- profit looking to do something like the tourist kiosk, we donated services for that and that would be something the GPA, who organized that, would be able to come and hopefully utilize a fund like this.”

Kestner can envision many other local groups that could benefit from this fund.

“There are just so many great buildings (in Guilford) and they’re expensive,” she said. “Capital improvements are something that not very many funds address and something that nonprofits struggle with is how to care for their facilities. So I think it’s an unmet need for a lot of groups.”

The couple appreciates working and raising their two boys in Guilford and see this fund as a way to give back.

“We actually feel so fortunate to have worked so much in this town,” said Kestner. “We just feel like there has been so much community built through doing that. We feel like we’ve given a lot, but we’ve gotten a lot back through our work and our volunteer activity.”

Kestner was on the Guilford Foundation’s Board of Directors from 2010-2016. She leaves this year, after completing two terms. Her most significant work has been on the Foundation’s housing initiative, which identified Guilford’s lack of diverse housing stock as an issue of focus for the past year. TGF work has included a $15,500 in grant investment to help plant the seed for future efforts around housing and reinstating the non-profit status of Guilford Interfaith Housing, a separate, independent non-profit organization that will serve as the voice of the housing crisis in Guilford.

Campaigne’s community service includes serving on the board of the Guilford Preservation Alliance and the First Congregational Church Pilgrim Fellowship. The Pilgrim Fellowship, a youth group that does a lot of construction work in the Appalachian region, could conceivably receive grant money through the Campaigne Kestner Architects Fund.

“It doesn’t have to be in Guilford, improving Guilford’s built environment, but it could be something that could be leveraged for material costs or labor costs or whatever associated with a project like that,” said Campaigne. “I think it’s a way that we can specify in a way that’s loose enough to allow people flexibility, but specific enough to fulfill our interests and where we find our calling,” he said. “I think it’s nice to build a legacy along those lines.”