Players PromiseApr 30, 2018

Jonathan Campbell and ALIVE Rescue

Jonathan Campbell of the Chicago Fire recently helped put together a fundraiser for ALIVE Rescue in Chicago. We asked him about the event, the organization and following one’s passion into philanthropy.

Q: Tell us a little about ALIVE Rescue. What does the organization do?

Jonathan Campbell: ALIVE Rescue provides animals with a humane living situation, often taking in the toughest cases to prevent them from being euthanized. ALIVE saves, rehabilitates and then finds new homes for animals in bad situations. Their small adoption center is in Roscoe Village, a neighborhood in Chicago, and they are about to open a much larger adoption center called the Big Barn.

Jonathan Campbell with his dog

Q: How did you get connected with Alive Rescue?

Campbell: I did a good old Google search. I actually have decided to work with two humane society organizations; ALIVE Rescue and The Anti-Cruelty Society. ALIVE is a smaller organization, while Anti-Cruelty is a larger organization with a broader reach. I think both are equally important and have their own areas of expertise.

Do you have any pets yourself?

Campbell: Yes, I have a four and half year-old Australian Shepherd. Leo is a little more laid back than most Aussies, but he’s always been so sweet. My brother was looking at an Aussie litter, and we decided to both get a puppy – he got one of Leo’s sisters! I’ve always had dogs growing up (allergic to cats), and while at college, I really missed the presence of a dog.

Q: Why is this cause important to you?

Campbell: I choose this area of philanthropy because pets are so important to their owners’ lives. Every day I get home and no matter how bad of a day I might’ve had, Leo is there and so excited to see me. Pets can help so many people in their lives, and the bond you develop with them is inexplicable.

I’m also very invested in keeping youth active through sports. Sports have impacted my life in numerous ways, through helping me graduate from a top university, to introducing me to my best friends in life. I’ve found ways to get involved with the Chicago Fire Foundation, specifically the P.L.A.Y.S. program right now, and I’m looking to start working with World Sports Chicago.

Q: What is the most important thing you want people to know about animal rescue and ALIVE Rescue's approach?

Campbell: Unfortunately, every year about 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized because facilities become overpopulated or animals develop illnesses. ALIVE Rescue focuses their efforts on animals that have the highest rate of being euthanized. They take on the toughest cases and try their best to prevent animals from being put down.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the event you worked on with ALIVE Rescue.

Campbell: I brought together ALIVE Rescue and B Hospitality Co, which owns The Bristol. I met with interested parties and was able to create a fundraising event by acting as the middleman. The event was amazing! We were able to raise money through ticket sales and auction items. We had adoptable puppies there, food and drinks going around for a couple hours, and a raffle at the end. We targeted about 100 guests but exceeded expectations with 150+ tickets sold! It was a packed house and we raised $3,204 for ALIVE!

Campbell at ALIVE Rescue Event

Q: Did anything about the event or the people who came out particularly impress you?

Campbell: Honestly, there was a moment in the event where I looked around and saw the diversity in the attendance. Soccer is a very diverse sport, bringing together people from all over the world, but even so, I was surprised. It was incredible to see everyone’s support for these local rescues. You can never really go wrong by bringing together puppies, food and drinks! Chicago has an amazing community and definitely inspired me to continue to work with these like-minded people.

Q: Do you see this as an area where you would like to continue to contribute? Will you be working with ALIVE Rescue again?

Campbell: Yes, the humane treatment of animals is something that I see myself contributing to wherever I’m located. I look forward to working with ALIVE again – it may be with some of their pre-existing events, but I also would love to create another fundraising event for them.

Q: What should people do if they want to support this cause?

Campbell: Finding ways that you can contribute the best is important. For some, it could be financially with donations. If you have lots of free time, volunteers are always needed. I felt like I had a big platform that I could use to spread the awareness about the cause. So there are many ways that one can offer support. Just find the way that works best for you.

"Athletes have a massive platform and youth really look to them for guidance. Charity work is a great opportunity to set a good example."

Q: More generally, why do you feel it is important for athletes to get involved with charitable organizations?

Campbell: I think it’s important because athletes are humans, just like anyone else, and charitable organizations are just flat out good for society. There are many organizations that athletes can get involved with but it’s important to find something that you are passionate about because that’ll make the connection more likely to lead to success.

Also, people hear bad stories about athletes that get blown up in media, so it’s important to show everyone that there are many athletes that are positively changing the world and making a difference.

Lastly, athletes have a massive platform and youth really look to them for guidance. Charity work is a great opportunity to set a good example.

Q: What would you say to other young professional athletes about getting involved in causes outside of soccer?

Campbell: Find what you are passionate about and look for organizations in the community that focus in those areas. This will connect you with incredible people in the community and you’ll have a chance to make a big impact for them. I was very surprised at how quickly people were ready to support the cause I chose. I know you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference you can make.