All roads lead back to people. This mantra is one that Big Lots President and CEO David Campisi passionately reiterates. It’s also at the heart of the company’s vision to move its corporate philanthropy program from transactional to transformative.
2015 was an “epic” year for the company. It launched the Big Lots Foundation; hosted the Big Lots Foundation Golf Classic, a tournament that raised $2.7 million to benefit the foundation; held a nationwide point-of-sale campaign that leveraged $2.3 million for Nationwide Children’s Hospital; and committed $1.3 million dollars to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.
Philanthropy starts with people.
—David Campisi, Big Lots President and CEO
“Philanthropy starts with people,” David said. “Somebody has to drive that, but you have to be passionate about it. After that, I think it’s pretty simple.”
The company established a fund at The Columbus Foundation in 2014 to help facilitate its giving. While Big Lots, founded in 1967 as Consolidated International, Inc., has long been philanthropic, it was Campisi’s arrival in 2013 that shifted the culture and put giving at the forefront.
Today, the foundation focuses on four main pillars of support—hunger, housing, healthcare, and education. Locally, it has provided tremendous support for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, YWCA Columbus, and Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, to name a few. With approximately 1,450 stores, 5 distribution centers, and more than 35,000 associates across the country at the end of 2015, a future goal is to localize some philanthropic dollars to support organizations outside of central Ohio.
“The legacy of the foundation is really about the company, our associates, and our business partners coming together as one and saying, ‘it is really, really important to give back,’” David said. “My hope and wish for the foundation is to watch it do bigger and better things, and scaling it on a national level.”