September 26, 2013

The spirit of giving, 1.6 million times over

Tristan Baizar, a graduate of the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, turned down offers from 13 colleges to pursue his dream of attending USC. (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

USC freshman Tristan Baizar received a standing ovation from the 400 guests at the third annual Good Neighbors Campaign (GNC) President’s Leadership Circle dinner, hosted by USC President C. L. Nikias and first lady Niki C. Nikias on Sept. 24 at their home in San Marino, Calif.

“I don’t believe I would be standing before you tonight as a proud new Trojan if it wasn’t for NAI and wonderful folks like you who donate to programs you believe in,” said Baizar, who is majoring in accounting. “As you can see, I am a true-life example that it works. The contribution, commitment and the love works to produce strong, educated, college-ready scholars like myself, and many others like me and before me.”

The GNC, currently in its 19th year, is a unique employee-giving program that supports community-based partnership activities throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the University Park and Health Science campuses. To date, the campaign has raised more than $16 million entirely earmarked for community program support.

The Leadership Circle comprises top employee contributors who’ve donated 1 percent (or more) of their annual salary to the campaign. For the 2012-2013 GNC  year, more than 500 employees in this echelon contributed $680,000 toward the final total of $1.6 million.

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