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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Athletic Department Receives $5 Million

Otis Booth Foundation endows USC's student-athlete service programs in support of its volunteer efforts.

The USC Athletic Department's community service program received a $5 million donation from the Otis Booth Foundation on Monday.

The Otis Booth Community Service Endowment supplies the program with long-term funding in support of student-athletes' widespread volunteer work. The service program emphasizes much of its service on inspiring elementary school children from the neighborhoods surrounding USC.

Student-athletes have also volunteered for various organizations including Children's Hospital Los Angeles, South Central Community Center, Marathon for Kids and Swim with Mike.

USC has over 650 student-athletes who participate in these programs. In the past three years, these volunteers have completed over 8,000 hours of community service.

“This gift will allow us to continue our work in our surrounding community while enriching not just our neighborhood, but our student-athletes as well. We get as much as we give,” said Pat Haden, USC's Athletics Director, in a University Newsletter.

Student-athletes have expressed excitement at the opportunity to increase their volunteer activities. "It makes a big statement that we aren't just here as athletes, but we are here for a purpose and to serve the community," said Alitta Boyd, a senior at USC.

The community service program currently holds several special events including the 'Community Bowl' and 'A Day In Troy', which are led by USC's student-athletes.

The 'Community Bowl' focuses on improving elementary schools with mural projects and classroom activities. 'A Day in Troy' brings children to USC's campus for tours, encourages college attendance and hosts outdoor activities to promote physical health and the importance of well-being.

"It would be great for both the students and the university. You know, we get what we give, and our student athletes are already so involved with the community, so this will just create more official programs for that," said Alexandra Bitterlin of the Athletic Department.

The gift also establishes a full-time staff position that will manage the program so that it can reach its maximum growth potential.

The position has been named the Matt Barkley Community Service Coordinator in honor of the former Trojan quarterback's charitable service. Barkley has participated in local community programs as well as attending humanitarian trips to Haiti, Nigeria and South Africa.

“I am honored that USC’s new community service coordinator position will carry my name. Community service and my faith are very important to me. As Trojan student-athletes, we are fortunate not only for the great opportunities we have at USC, but for the opportunities we have to help those less fortunate and to share with aspiring children our stories of effort, determination and perseverance on the field and in the classroom," Matt Barkley said of the endowment.

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