Deer Run Retreat Center
3845 Perkins Road
Thompson's Station TN 37179

Mission Statement
To provide excellent camps and retreats that inspire a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen relationships with family and friends.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. David Gibson
Board Chair Mr. Harmon Jones III
Board Chair Company Affiliation Rooms to Go
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1998
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $2,027,224.00
Projected Annual Revenue $2,168,900.00 (2017)
To provide excellent camps and retreats that inspire a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen relationships with family and friends.


In 1996, David and Liz Gibson purchased the one hundred acres of rolling Tennessee farmland now known as Deer Run Retreat. They felt God had given them a clear vision to provide a camp/retreat for children, youth, and families. In 1998, Deer Run Retreat Center was established as a 501 (c)(3). By 1999, trees were cleared and the initial layout for the camp was developed.  Deer Run campers and families could now strengthen their relationship with the Lord while immersed in the beauty of His creation.

 Deer Run has made continuous facility and program improvements through the faithfulness of its leadership, staff, volunteers, donors, and board members.  In 2000-01, Deer Run saw construction of a three-acre spring fed lake, introduction of its first low ropes course, and also hosted twelve retreat groups. By 2004, the facility enhanced the property with a lake pavilion, sand beach, and mountain-bike and hiking trails. Sports facilities, including high and low ropes courses as well as a platform tent area with picnic shelter,  further improved the 100-acre private property. Each year, new groups, such as church mission teams, children’s camps, youth groups, schools, universities, and community leadership groups have discovered Deer Run to host their retreats.

 In 2006, Deer Run opened The Lodge at Deer Run, a premiere 7,000-square foot facility designed for retreats and overnight guests. This expansion provided new ministry opportunities, including marriage, family, and leadership retreats.  Deer Run impacted almost 6,000 people that year, more than in the past six years combined.

 In 2007, Deer Run Camps and Retreats was launched.  It provided weeklong day and overnight camps for students K-12 with all options fully-staffed and programmed. The following year, Deer Run extended the timeline for summer camps, hosting them for six weeks. Additionally, Deer Run initiated the Deer Run Scholarship Program to benefit at-risk children and their families. The commencement of this program is consistent with Deer Run Founder and CEO David Gibson’s belief that children should never be turned away from camp due to circumstances beyond their control.

 By 2011, the number of children and youth attending Deer Run Camps had grown from 35 to over 1000 campers in only a five-year period. In the next three years, the number of campers more than doubled again to well over 2,000. At the close of the 2017 Deer Run Summer Camp, over 3000 campers enjoyed the daily adventures and forged lasting friendships in the majestic, wooded retreat fondly known as “The Valley.”  Most importantly, testimonials from campers and their counselors speak to the deepening relationships they formed with Jesus after experiencing the camp, which itself is confirmation of David Gibson’s vision twenty years ago.



In 2017, we celebrated several major accomplishments at Deer Run Camps & Retreats:

1. Welcomed 3,000 kids to summer camp(approximatly 10 % increase over previous year)
2. Hosted week-long Family Camp (hosted 3 night Family Camp previously)
3. Offered first school group to Deer Run's new Outdoor Education Program
4. Received $1.7 million from generous donor to become debt free
5. Built 3,500 square foot Timber Ridge Cabin (first of six cabins ), adding 24 more camper spaces per week.
6. Completed plan for the Refuge, new multi-purpose building to be built in 2018 (meeting space/auditorium, dining room, infirmary)
1. The Refuge - A 20,000 sq. ft. facility inclusive of auditorium and meeting space, commercial kitchen and dining hall,  and a health center 
2. Scholarships for at risk campers and families in need
3. Additional cabins to accommodate the growing number of  overnight campers and retreat guests
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

• Monetary Contributions may be mailed to Deer Run Camps and Retreats at: Deer Run Camps & Retreats 3845 Perkins Road Thompson's Station, TN 37179 Phone: 615.794.2918
    o Singular Gift: A non-recurring gift of any amount.
    o Monthly or Scheduled Giving: A recurring, monthly or other regularly scheduled gift of any amount.
• Organizational Giving: Gives businesses of all sizes, as well as ministries, churches, Christian schools and other like-minded organizations, the opportunity to both support the ministry of Deer Run and reach our guests and camper families with their message. Some examples are: sponsorship of facilities and fundraising events, a year-round, on-site presence at Deer Run, special messaging opportunities and vendor/exhibit tables at Deer Run events.
• Gifts of Stock, Real Estate or Other Property, Business Interests, Securities, and Other Non-Cash Assets: Contact David Gibson, Deer Run Founder & President at (615) 566-0026 or email him at
• Volunteer: There are many opportunities to volunteer at Deer Run throughout the year including such areas as serving meals, construction, and helping with events. The dates and times of these opportunities are updated on a regular basis. Email or call (615) 550-4091 if you have questions.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Youth Development / Youth Development-Religious Leadership
Secondary Organization Category Religion- Related / Christianity
Tertiary Organization Category Youth Development /
Areas of Service
Areas Served
While Deer Run Retreat is geographically located in Middle Tennessee we have ministered to people from all over the country, from Alaska to California and Texas to the Carolinas.  We have had the opportunity to serve and minister to victims of Hurricane Irma, as seen in the accompanying link.

Board Chair Statement

Board Chair Statement 

Deer Run Camps & Retreats has been blessed with robust growth opportunities found in our programs, facilities, staff, and volunteers.   After completing a new five-year strategic plan, the Deer Run Board of Directors is committed to good stewardship through the efficient allocation of resources and contributions. This commitment is consistent with Deer Run’s mission of “providing excellent camps and retreats that inspire a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen relationships with family and friends.”

 As we enter 2018, Deer Run remains financially strong. Operations are self-funding which 1) ensure long-term sustainability and 2) enable contributions to fund scholarships and expand facilities and programs.

The Board expresses its gratitude to the many champions whose servant attitudes empower Deer Run in achieving its vision “to reach as many people as possible for Christ.” The sum of these efforts exemplifies “The Deer Run Way” which states, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24). 


CEO Statement

At Deer Run Camps & Retreats, we believe that the most important aspect of life is relationships. This applies in our spiritual life, family life, business life, etc. We exist to help people develop and maintain healthy relationships with Jesus Christ and each other. There is an ever-widening gap in family relationships in America today. As a result, there is a huge increase in at risk children. We are attacking this problem by providing summer camp programs that develop character, integrity, confidence and respect through well trained staff and meaningful programs that help children know that they are loved by God and created for a purpose! Additionally, we provide family events to intentionally strengthen the traditional family relationships between married couples and their children. These include "Family Camp", "Married Couples Weekends", "Father/Son Weekend", and "Mother/Daughter Weekend". If we build our families on a solid foundation, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, we will experience the true love of God in our homes, communities, nation and the world. We are developing world changers! 

Description Deer Run Family Retreats strengthen family relationships  by providing  organized experiences and adventures that promote connection, conversation, and memory making moments! Families build strong bonds when they problem solve and accomplish a task together. Deer Run offers Marriage, Parent/Child, and Family Retreat weekends as a ministry to families searching for a deeper connection and purpose in world of day to day distractions.
Budget 250,000
Category Religion, General/Other Christianity
Population Served Families, K-12 (5-19 years),
Short Term Success The success that we have seen from this program is reflected in the number of fathers, mothers, and children who have come back year after year with their families.  The Deer Run Family Retreat experience provides a peaceful environment and well-planned programming needed to reflect and engage with family.  It also encourages families to engage in teamwork through fun and challenging activities such as on the high ropes course or in an archery tournament. 
Long term Success
As we strengthen the family unit, we strengthen the very fabric of our society.  When strong familial relationships are built or reinforced, children  are less likely to get into trouble and become productive citizens later in life.  Deer Run Family Retreats not only provide relevant programming to facilitate strong pathways for communication between parent and child, but also between their parents or married couples.
Examples of Program Success


Deer Run is a traditional, nondenominational Christian camp where everyday distractions are removed, enabling campers to discover their strengths, explore adventures, forge friendships, and meet challenges. Passionate staff and counselors lead campers to grow in their faith, character, and leadership ability on one hundred acres of scenic wooded property. The staff-to-camper ratio is higher than required camp standards to allow closer supervision, deeper relationships, and a more powerful camp experience.

  • Day Camp - Campers, Kindergarten to 5th grade, enjoy lake activities, archery, creek wading, and other outdoor adventures, while also participating in interactive small group Bible studies.
  • Adventure Day Camp - Campers, 6th through 8th grade, learn Outdoor Education and Survival Skills (shelter building, fire building and starting, knot tying, navigation, etc.) and participate in lake activities such as kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and zipline, and also engage interactive small group Bible study,
  • Overnight Camp - Overnight campers are divided into two groups: 3rd-5th grade and 6th-12th grade.  Overnight options include a one week 6-night session or a two week 13-night session.  In addition to lake, outdoor activities, and age appropriate interactive small group Bible studies.  Students are asked to select a single trek focus area for the week. Trek options include self-defense, drama, fishing, wilderness skills, and music instruments.

Category Religion, General/Other Christianity
Population Served Latin America & the Caribbean, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years),
Short Term Success

Long term Success

Deer Run realized an approximate 10% growth increase in campers over the previous year.


Examples of Program Success


This is my daughter’s 3rd year at Deer Run, we could not be more happy with her experience. The kids have a blast every summer with some great camp leaders and the theme that plays in into the bible study and week is wonderful. We definitely know she is in great hands when she is with the wonderful folks at Deer Run. —MK, Camper Mom


Description The Deer Run Outdoor Education Program is based on five pillars for student formation: courage, stewardship, teamwork, knowledge, and problem solving.  Defined as "experiential learning in and about the outdoors", research shows that outdoor education can improve students' performance in reading and math.  Highly qualified instructors facilitate the Deer Run Outdoor Education Program.  The program may be customized to meet the  relevant curriculum standards and needs of the visiting school or group. Located on one hundred wooded acres in Williamson County, Deer Run offers a premiere outdoor education program for ultimate "out of the classroom experiential learning".
Budget 250000
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Short Term Success Research reveals  that outdoor education programs are an opportunity for students who do not usually do well in a traditional classroom to thrive.
Long term Success

Research shows that outdoor education helps students increase personal skills in self-esteem, cooperation, leadership, and conflict


Examples of Program Success


Deer Run created the Mission 42:1 Scholarship Program based on the strong conviction that all children and families should be offered the place and time to rest, reflect, and strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ.  The Mission 42:1 Scholarship offers assistance to those campers and families who are facing financial, spiritual, or emotional challenges.  These scholarships are made possible through the prayers and donations from Deer Run champions, including donors, volunteers, and staff, and are not derived from user fees from camp/retreat programs.

Category Religion, General/Other Christianity
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families
Short Term Success  In 2017, approximately 12% of campers benefited from the Mission 42:1 Scholarship Program.  Deer Run works alongside A Soldier's Child,  Safe Haven, the Nashville Rescue Mission, the Boys and Girls Club, and other family-oriented philanthropic organizations by providing the programs, staff, and facilities necessary to effect a positive impact on youth and family relationships. 
Examples of Program Success


"The main impact that Deer Run had on me is that I got to get to know God more and have a great time while doing is! I also met new people and enjoyed hanging out with them. … I enjoyed many things about camp but my favorite was the Giant Swing. I also liked the fact that other people I know got to come with me and I got time to myself away from home.”  
—A MISSION 42:1 Scholarship Recipient
"I'm very thankful for the financial support that we were able to be given through the generosity of others.  More than you might ever know. Deer Run is AMAZING!!! In every way possible. 

My boys were overnighters. I can not even come near explaining how much my boys love those guys. Talk about a week full of life giving, fun loving, bible studying, physically mentally and emotionally stimulating, accepted for who they are just as they are, relationship was exactly what I wanted for them. Thank you SO much for everything that Deer Run has done for us. And for making it possible for our children to attend" Camper Mom



CEO Comments

Deer Run's biggest challenge is truly a blessing! How do we continue to keep pace with the growth curve of our ministry to kids and families? As we host more people and change more lives for Jesus, we continue to see an increase in inquiries and registrations. Being a good steward of finances, Deer Run waits to build facilities until financially able.  Deer Run is maximizing the facilities we currently have and is raising funds to grow our infrastructure to meet the needs of  more camper families. Additional planned facilities will allow Deer Run to expand its positive impact to more families, youth, churches and schools for years to come.

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Harmon Jones III
Company Affiliation Rooms to Go
Term Mar 2014 to Aug 2018
Board Members
Mr Chris Baumgartner Sr. Director, Innovation - OtsukaVoting
Mrs. Holly Baumgartner Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. William Butler President, Butler Property ManagementVoting
Mrs. Leona Butler Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. David B. Gibson Executive Director, Deer Run RetreatVoting
Mrs. Elizabeth A. Gibson Co-Founder, Deer Run RetreatVoting
Mr. Harmon Jones IIISr. Vice President, Rooms To GoVoting
Mrs. Jennifer Jones Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Howard Ragsdale President and CEO, Aston Capital ManagementVoting
Mr. Mickey Robinson President, Seagate MinistriesVoting
Mrs. Barbara Robinson Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Jeff Sheets President, e3 ResourcesVoting
Mrs. Wende Sheets Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Larry Watkins Christian Counselor, Deep Waters Christian CounselingVoting
Mrs. Kate Watkins Christian Counselor, Deep Waters Christian CounselingVoting
Mr. Jimmy Williams Real Estate InvestorVoting
Mrs. Angie Williams Community VolunteerVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Under Development
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 89%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Risk Management Provisions
Automobile Insurance
General Property Coverage
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
CEO Comments
In 2017, we surpassed 3,000 summer campers, hosted our first week-long Family Camp, launched Deer Run Outdoor Education Program, built a new 32 bed cabin and paid off all of our debt.  As we look forward to the next 20 years we have embarked on a 5 year strategic plan which will help us refocus and refine everything we do to make sure we are following "The Deer Run Way"- "as unto the Lord" - with integrity, stewardship, servant-hood, excellence and community.  We are looking at everything from the board structure, governance, finances, communication, fundraising, programs, staff, and succession planning to insure best practices in accomplishing our mission, To provide excellent camps and retreats that inspire a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen relationships with family and friends. Deer Run will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2018. We are very excited about the future and invite you to join us on this  remarkable journey!
David Gibson
Founder / CEO 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. David Gibson
Term Start Jan 1998

His entrepreneurial spirit, devout stewardship, and resourceful leadership have served Deer Run Founder and CEO David Gibson well in  his twenty-year  journey to build a Christ-centered camp for children and families. As a man of unwavering faith and a strong business background, David Gibson draws from his church leadership roles as a deacon and elder.  His twenty-five year experience as a successful entrepreneur has provided the background for exemplary stewardship efforts on behalf of Deer Run.  A devoted father and grandfather, David appreciates the importance of family relationships in the viability of communities. Consequently, Deer Run exists to build and enrich the bond of family relationships in the serene beauty of its divine creation.

Full Time Staff 21
Part Time Staff 11
Volunteers 331
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 95%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 5
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Dec 2017
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? Under Development
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Under Development
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Under Development
Williamson County Chamber of Commerce1997
1st Place in Best of Parenting: Best Day Camp, Williamson CountyParent Magazine (Nashville and Rutherford, Sumner, & Williamson Counties)2012
1st Place in Best of Parenting: Best Day Camp, Williamson CountyParent Magazine (Nashville and Rutherford, Sumner, & Williamson Counties)2013
1st Place in Best of Parenting: Best Day Camp, Williamson CountyParent Magazine (Nashville and Rutherford, Sumner, & Williamson Counties)2014
1st Place in Best of Parenting: Best Day Camp, Williamson CountyParent Magazine (Nashville and Rutherford, Sumner, & Williamson Counties)2015
1st Place in Best of Parenting: Best Day Camp, Williamson CountyParent Magazine (Nashville and Rutherford, Sumner, & Williamson Counties)2016
2nd Place Best Local Day Camp and Best Sleep Away Camp in Williamson County Parenting Magazine( Nashville, Rutherford, Sumner and Williamson County2017
2nd Place Best Local Day Camp and Best Sleep Away Camp in Williamson County Parenting Magazine( Nashville, Rutherford, Sumner and Williamson County2017
3rd Place Best Summer Camp in Williamson CountySizzle Awards (Southern Exposure Magazine, the Williamson Herald and Franklin2014
1st Place Best Summer Camp in Williamson CountySizzle Awards (Southern Exposure Magazine, the Williamson Herald and Franklin2015
1st Place Best Summer Camp in Williamson CountySizzle Awards (Southern Exposure Magazine, the Williamson Herald and Franklin2016
1st Place Best Summer Camp in Williamson CountySizzle Awards (Southern Exposure Magazine, the Williamson Herald and Franklin2017
1st Place Best Summer Camp in Williamson CountySizzle Awards (Southern Exposure Magazine, the Williamson Herald and Franklin2017
Senior Staff
Title Chief Financial Officer
CEO Comments

 In 2017, Deer Run added a Director of Community Relations team member to lead community awareness, event planning, and fundraising. on the organization's behalf.


Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2017
Projected Revenue $2,168,900.00
Projected Expenses $2,027,224.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Revenue$2,750,677$2,425,472$1,907,501
Total Expenses$2,231,476$1,992,364$1,794,204
Revenue Less Expenses$519,201$433,108$113,297
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$2,077,300$1,992,364$1,794,204
Administration Expense$154,176$0$0
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.231.221.06
Program Expense/Total Expenses93%100%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$4,939,785$4,709,473$4,485,587
Current Assets$4,679$468,169$18,193
Long-Term Liabilities$1,876,903$1,880,867$1,960,669
Current Liabilities$475,302$586,062$481,056
Total Net Assets$2,587,580$2,242,544$2,043,862
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.010.800.04
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets38%40%44%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Revenue $2,169,143Program Service Revenue $1,963,902Program Services $1,714,371
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts, and Grants $578,782Contributions, Gifts & Grants $439,570Contributions, Gifts & Grants $119,076
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $2,752Foundations & Corporations $22,000Foundations & Corporations $74,000
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? Yes
Campaign Purpose
  1. The Deer Run Capital Campaign supports the construction of the  Refuge, a multi-use building with accommodations for 400 people. The Refuge will include an auditorium, meeting space/ worship center,  kitchen, dining room, and health center.  
  2. The campaign will also provide funds necessary to expand the capacity of overnight camper and retreat guest cabins.
Capital Campaign Goal $4,000,000.00
Campaign Start and End Dates Jan 2015 to Dec 2018
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $1,800,000.00 as of Dec 2017
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires June 2018
Organizational Budgets and Other Documents
Operating Budget2017
Organization Comments Deer Run has been blessed to experience consistent growth over the last ten years.  For the past six years, we have also consistently operated in the black from generated revenue. We are committed to controlling our expenses through proper budgeting to insure that we are self-sustaining from an operational standpoint. This commitment allows us to allocate 100% of donations to either capital improvements or scholarships for children or families in need. Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from 990.
Schedule B removed to protect donor privacy.
Financial statements prepared by Joe Osterfeld, CPA.
Comments provided by Nicole Rose 11/10/2017.
Nonprofit Deer Run Retreat Center
Address 3845 Perkins Road
Thompson's Station, TN 37179
Primary Phone (615) 794-2918
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. David Gibson
Board Chair Mr. Harmon Jones III
Board Chair Company Affiliation Rooms to Go
Year of Incorporation 1998

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