Good Neighbors Campaign breaks record
The USC Good Neighbors Campaign surpassed its 2011 goal by raising $1.5 million last year – 100 percent of which will be used on partnership programs in the neighborhoods around the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.
“It doesn’t surprise me that we exceeded our $1.4 million fundraising goal, given the Trojan Family’s tremendous support of our community work,” said USC president C. L. Max Nikias. “With the success of this year’s campaign, I am confident we’ll be able to touch the lives of even more people in the coming years. We’re building on our success!”
The success is even more notable in context. According to the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan, economic and social policy organization, U.S. nonprofit organizations reported “cut to the bone” 2011 budgets and fundraising results. Smaller entities in particular struggled to secure funding for the services they provided in their communities.
In the same year, the Trojan Family’s gifts helped local nonprofits buck this trend as nearly 6,000 USC faculty, staff, students and friends contributed an average of $253 in 2011 to the GNC through payroll deductions and single contributions.
“We are extremely pleased with the results, especially given the year’s struggling economy,” said Thomas S. Sayles, USC senior vice president for University Relations. “The Trojan Family lived up to its reputation for being generous and compassionate and came through for GNC and our communities in an admirable and spectacular fashion.”
Cynthia Sanchez, executive director of Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission, a nonprofit that develops grassroots education, leadership and service projects in Boyle Heights, said, “Without the Good Neighbors Campaign, our organization and many others wouldn’t be able to provide the same level of services and opportunities that are crucial to our residents.”
Among the Trojans who helped break the GNC record was USC staff member Pablo Sahagun, who watched for years as the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI) shepherded hundreds of students through high school and into USC classrooms as full-time students.
The impact of the community program led him to take action: Sahagun made a pledge to donate 1 percent of his salary to the GNC, which helps fund the NAI.
“I was astounded at the progress the students made, and I had to give more,” said Sahagun, a facilities coordinator for USC Transportation Services.
Now in its 18th year, the campaign offered online giving for the first time, which may have helped boost donations, according to Carolina Castillo, executive director of development for USC Civic Engagement.
“We realize that philanthropy is trending toward accessible giving platforms, so we figured an online, streamlined presence would encourage people to give more,” Castillo said. “Based on the results, we believe we succeeded.”
The GNC has raised more than $13.5 million to support more than 450 partnerships between USC and the community that provide needed services, safer streets for children and improved college access for those in the neighborhoods surrounding the university’s campuses.
Late last October, when the campaign had not quite reached its goal, the GNC received boosts from the Keck Medical Center of USC – which contributed an employee-matching grant of $68,000 – and from students enrolled in the MBA Program for Professionals and Managers at the USC Marshall School of Business, who raised $1,500 for the GNC during a casino night.
“We at the Keck Medical Center are fully committed and dedicated to the well-being of our neighbors,” said Scott Evans, interim chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital.
“Our contribution seemed not only fitting but imperative given the challenging economic situation that many faced last year.”
More stories about: Campaign for USC, Good Neighbors Campaign