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Good Neighbors Campaign reaches goal

by Susan Andrews and Katharine A. Diaz
Good Neighbors Campaign Reaches Goal
A banner alerted passersby to the challenge last year.

Despite the troubled economy, the Trojan Family has made helping others a priority by reaching a record-breaking goal of $1.1 million for the 2008 USC Good Neighbors Campaign.

The news was preceded by the USC College announcement that it had more than reached its goal of 50 percent participation in the campaign, guaranteeing a $1 million contribution to the USC Joint Educational Project (JEP) endowment by an anonymous donor. The final College participation rate was 56 percent, more than double its 2007 effort.

Howard Gillman, dean of the College and holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair, said he was proud of the faculty and staff of the College “who came together in the spirit of community to meet the gift challenge of our generous alum. It is extremely gratifying that this effort has not only helped the Good Neighbors Campaign, but also our nationally recognized Joint Educational Project, which since 1972 has had a profound impact on the lives of neighborhood children and on the service-learning culture of USC College.”

This extraordinary expression of generosity surfaced last year when one of the College’s alumni was so moved by the JEP experience that an offer was made to donate $1 million if the faculty and staff of the College increased their participation rate to at least 50 percent. Since their 2007 rate was 26 percent, reaching 56 percent was a significant achievement.

“The College family really came through for us and the JEP staff is so thankful!” said Tammara Anderson, JEP’s executive director. “During these difficult economic times, this gift will assist staff in developing community-based research projects as well as maintaining existing programs that assist local schools and service agencies.”

During the past 36 years, JEP has placed more than 60,000 USC students in community assignments. Through these meaningful experiences, they have learned firsthand about real-life issues of poverty, immigration, educational inequalities and other concerns.

Carolina Castillo, USC director of civic and community relations, said she was extremely pleased by the results of the Good Neighbors Campaign in 2008. “There was a tremendous amount of support from the university’s administration and deans, combined with the work of the campaign team, campaign leaders and everyone who made contributions this year that led to this achievement,” she said. “We also thank our community partners who helped with the effort.”

Monies contributed to the Good Neighbors Campaign go to fund partnerships that support five university community initiatives in the neighborhoods surrounding the University Park and Health Sciences campuses. This month, a call for proposals will go out to fund programs that serve the communities surrounding the two campuses for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The proposals are due March 31.

For more information on the application process and to download an application, visit and click on the “UNO application” link or call (213) 743-4510.

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