Meet Nikki Campo – A Member of the Legacy Community!
for May 13, 2021
Tell us about you, your background, and what you enjoy doing in your free time.
My children claim they are 3, 6, and 8 but I’m sure they’re mistaken. As is probably the
situation for every parent in history, I feel like I’ve only just decided to have babies and so they
must still be in utero?
I grew up in a small town in Illinois with one stoplight. My husband, Paul, was raised in an
even smaller town (“300 and shrinking,” he likes to say) in Minnesota. We met in our high-rise
apartment building in Chicago, in the elevator. Six days after our wedding, my mom was
diagnosed with late-stage cancer. So I moved back into my childhood house to be with my
mom until she died two years later. Then, Paul and I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in
2014 (and I twice caught myself saying “y’all”.)
My mom never wanted me to stay in my stable job I didn’t love. She wanted me to find my
passion, even though the phrase “find your passion” stresses me out. I must both know what
my passion is and accurately locate it? Now, in my fierce time (thanks, Jen Hatmaker, for the
“free time” replacement vernacular), I write. I also Porch Wine with my girlfriends and go to
bed very early. I don’t need anything else except light roast coffee and dark salty chocolate.
When my toddler was learning to talk, I taught her that chocolate is called “sanity.” So when
she begged for sanity, I think we both felt more alive.
Do you have any books, movies, or podcasts you have enjoyed lately that you would
like to share with our community?
How to pick!? I loved Writers & Lovers by Lily King, The From-Aways by CJ Hauser,
Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe, and Here For It by R. Eric Thomas. Also, the For the Love
podcast (duh), Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast (duh), and the movie Soul.
What is an accomplishment you’re most proud of?
The accomplishments I’m most proud of look like short, adorable humans who are always too
loud for their given environment. I also graduated from Harvard Business School. But before
you go thinking I must be wise and organized, I don’t use my degree, I am unsure of how to do
my taxes, and I cannot be trusted around a budget.
Who has been a strong or positive influence in your life?
My mom! She brought grocery store cashiers fresh flowers clipped from her gardens. She
invited neighbors over for coffee and prayer. She laughed easily–this cute, squeaky laugh with
a scrunched-up nose. My mom died 7 years ago, but I can still feel her. When I’m desperate to
know what she would say to me, usually all it takes is a phone call from my sister to remind me
“you already know”.
Also, Jen Hatmaker. In 2016, a girlfriend was flying to Charlotte to see her speak as part of the
Belong Tour. I didn’t know who Jen was at the time, but I trusted my friend, so I got a ticket
and joined her. Among the many stories Jen told that night was one about how she used to
write long holiday letters when she was starting out as a writer. At the time, I wasn’t telling
anyone, including myself, that I wanted to write. What did that even mean? Didn’t most
people “write” every day? But a holiday letter felt manageable and fun and suddenly very, very
obvious. Why wouldn’t everyone write those?! A month later, I sent a 4-page holiday letter
with pictures to everyone in my address book. I’ve sent one every year since and it’s one of my
favorite things to do. On this past year’s letter, even though I grammar check and edit the snot
out of it, I missed a detail: I spelled my name wrong in the signature. And I didn’t catch it until
I’d paid to have 100 copies printed.
When did you become a Legacy donor and what attracted you to the organization?
I joined Legacy in 2019 at the Tell Me More conference in Atlanta. I flew there alone to attend
(I’m introverted and also a mother of three, so this was a great joy). During the intermission, I
stepped into the hall and called Paul to announce that we had found our charitable calling, and
by “we” I meant “me”.
The truth is, until that point, all of my donations to charity had been just that. Every year,
when company matching season approached, Paul and I would look at each other and be like
“United Way?” Then we plopped down pledges and swore that the next year we’d figure out
how we really wanted to contribute.
So when I heard Jen speak about Legacy Collective at the conference, I saw the obvious
antidote to our conundrum. For me, as I imagine is the case for many investors, the big draw
of Legacy is its operating model. I contribute a regular lump sum to organizations fighting
injustice across the spectrum, rather than trying to cherry pick from thousands of deserving
entities on my own, wondering if my pocket change matters.
What causes are you most passionate about?
Women entrepreneurs. When I first heard the story of how Legacy supports women in
Ethiopia to fulfill their own profitable ideas through business training, and that the women graduated and never need the program again, I was intrigued. When Jen showed the picture of
Ben’s mom hugging Ben and told the story of her life and path in Ethiopia, I was in for life.
Of the Legacy grants we’ve given, are any of particular interest or importance to you?
Latasha Morrison’s Be the Bridge is right up there for me. After the 2020 killings of George
Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, I learned to shut up for the first time maybe in
my life. Now, I’m looking back, and trying to learn.
Also the Help One Now 2021 Family Empowerment Program grant in Peru is incredible. I love the idea that a family can help not only itself, but other families and the community at large.
Once things get back to a “new normal” this summer/fall, what are some things you
are looking forward to doing? Or places you are looking forward to visiting?
Eating food someone else made in a place that isn’t my house or yard. Planking in an actual
exercise studio. Squeezing the necks of my girlfriends while looking at their physical corneas.