Campaign unable to reach goal

The 2010 Good Neighbors Campaign has concluded its official efforts; however, the program will continue accepting donations through the end of the year in hopes of reaching its expanded campaign goal of $1.3 million, an increase of $100,000 from last year.

At the end of the month-long campaign, Good Neighbors was about $150,000 short of its goal. The campaign can get as much as 15 percent of its donations after the set deadline of Oct. 31, however, and potential donors are encouraged to give even after the deadline has passed, says Campaign Director Carolina Castillo.

“This campaign tends to drag out a little longer, so … we’re heading in the right direction to meet our goal,” Castillo said.

Castillo said there were many reasons for this year’s higher goal.

“The economy is still struggling, so local nonprofits are definitely feeling the impact,” Castillo said. “The needs of our communities [also] evolve and change.”

This year, the campaign had more than 500 donors who pledged to donate 1 percent of their salaries to the campaign. These donors become members of the President’s Leadership Circle, and President C.L. Max Nikias will host a dinner at his house for them later in the year.

Castillo said that Nikias added a new energy to the campaign and was extremely supportive of the effort.

The campaign benefits a number of organizations in the USC community. Past recipients include Troy Camp, the USC Thornton Outreach Program and the 32nd Street/USC Magnet School.

“Most [of the funding] goes directly to camp, for renting the facility, getting supplies and other costs,” said Maxine Welcome, co-executive director of Troy Camp. “We try and keep our costs down throughout the year to put almost all of the money toward [the week of] camp.”

The theme for the year was “A Tradition of Giving.” Castillo said the theme represents the Trojan Family’s strong commitment to supporting its communities.

“USC has a tradition of giving through public service, through research [and] through teaching, so we thought that [the theme] would be a nice way to recognize the university’s efforts — outreach efforts that have been going on for decades,” Castillo said.

“I really love that we, as a university, are always working to better our relationship with the community,” Welcome said.

“I think that is something really unique about that, and it’s something that we take pride in.”

Castillo said that it was important for the campaign to try and fully address communities’ needs. She said the campaign allows for stronger relations between the university and its communities, and it allows students to practice what they’re learning in the classroom.

“Dental, pharmacy, business students can all take what they’re learning and apply it to real, lifelike situations — real life problems,” she said.

Castillo said the program focused on increasing the number of campaign leaders and held an orientation for these leaders to get them motivated and teach them how to promote the campaign in their respective areas.

Leaders were in charge of promoting the campaign and raising funds in their respective departments on campus. Fundraising techniques for the campaign varied from department to department.

This year, fundraising efforts included carnivals, auctions and raffles. Prizes for donors included an iPad, Wii games, autographed items and weekend hotel stays.

The Dean of the USC Libraries, Catherine Quinlan, put out a fundraising challenge to the university. Participating departments will have their names entered in a raffle, with a grand prize of $15,000 in additional funding for their department.

“[Campaign leaders] are really the key to the campaign — to making it successful, to informing and educating others about campaign, and to educating others about the works that it makes possible,” Castillo said.

This type of support and encouragement for the campaign is vital, she said.

The Good Neighbors Campaign will begin accepting grant applications for next year in the spring, and grants will be awarded in April.