Bethel Celebrates Most Successful Fundraising Campaign in University History

Since its launch in 2016, the Called to More campaign has inspired almost 60,000 individual gifts from people in all 50 states, propelling the fundraising effort well beyond its initial goal.

By Jenny Hudalla ’15, GS’21, marketing manager

April 10, 2023 | 11:15 a.m.

Called to More campaign

Over the course of six and a half years, the Called to More campaign has inspired thousands of Bethel alumni, employees, and friends to personally invest in the lives of current and future Royals. Now, the completed fundraising effort will go down as the most successful comprehensive campaign in university history. 

Launched in June 2016 with the ambitious goal of raising $150.5 million, the campaign's singular focus was to make a transformative impact on the academic, spiritual, and personal development of Bethel students. Since then, donors across the world have shown their support for Bethel’s mission by giving a total of $174.1 million, exceeding the university’s goal by almost $25 million. 

“I am profoundly grateful for the incredible generosity of our donors,” says President Ross Allen. “The impact of their gifts on students is and will continue to be enormous.” 

January campaign progress
January campaign goals

In addition to broad support from donors, the campaign’s success was amplified by a step-by-step, fiscally responsible approach that targeted priorities in succession. In 2020, a historic eight-figure gift from a longtime donor, partner, and friend funded the completion of the Nelson-Larson Science Center, which features innovative laboratory and classroom space for Bethel’s growing science programs. A year later, Bethel broke ground on key facilities upgrades at Royal Stadium, including the addition of an outdoor track and multiuse artificial turf on the football field. Campaign funds also helped equip the university to develop a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing students to stay safe, well, and together during an unprecedented global health crisis.

Beyond these immediate impacts to the student experience, the Called to More campaign also positioned the university for long-term operational excellence. Thanks in part to a $28 million gift—the largest in university history—Bethel’s endowment has grown to almost $90 million, creating opportunities to invest in areas that support the formation of future generations of Royals. Planned gifts have also provided more funding for scholarships, like the Faith in Action scholarship, to make Bethel’s Christ-centered education more affordable and accessible for students now and in the years to come. 

“All of this started with a bold vision for a bright future,” Allen says. “Today, that vision is becoming a reality—and none of it would have been possible without the thousands of community members who were willing to step up and help Bethel answer God’s call to more.” 


single largest gift in university history


individual gifts


states where gifts originated


At Bethel, we are called to more. 

With the help of our alumni, donors, employees, and students, we're creating a community of Christ-followers, learners, truth-seekers, and world-changers—a community where every belongs and becomes the people God is calling them to be. 

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