Beginning Oct. 1, the USC Good Neighbors Campaign will enter its 24th year as one of the university’s most important employee-giving initiatives. Organized by Civic Engagement, the annual, monthlong fundraising effort asks USC faculty and staff to contribute a portion of their paychecks in supporting community development programs.

First organized in 1993, the campaign is the umbrella initiative for USC Good Neighbors and United Way. Its intent is to focus employee giving on the communities surrounding the University Park and Health Sciences campuses. During its first year, contributions were made solely to United Way. Then in 1994, contributions specific to USC Good Neighbors began, with grants from the program allocated for the first time in 1995.

Since then, 784 grants totaling more than $23.5 million have been raised for programs serving HSC and UPC neighborhoods. These programs enhance education and job opportunities, promote health, support economic development and improve public safety.

In recent years, almost half of the grants go to serve the youth and families residing near HSC. Some of this year’s funded organizations include Clinica Oscar Romero, which employs promotoras de salud, or community health workers, to conduct community outreach on diabetes, and the Boyle Heights Beat, which encourages high school journalism students to advocate for issues of importance in their community.

“Good Neighbors enables all members of the Trojan Family to participate in making a difference by opening doors to new knowledge, experiences, and opportunities for youth and families who live just across the street from our campus and medical center,” said Carolina Castillo, EdD, executive director of Civic Engagement and the USC Good Neighbors campaign director.

All overhead and expenses are covered by the university, enabling 100 percent of funds to support local nonprofits and schools.

“Over the years, the lives of legions in our community have been changed in ways that are many and immeasurable as a result of the deliberate choice made by staff and faculty to give to those who need it the most,” said Earl Paysinger, vice president of Civic Engagement at USC. “We are making an investment in our community and the lives of hundreds of youth in ways that we may never know.”

For more information or to give online, visit

— Matthew Vasiliauskas