USC student Michael Young speaking with his reusable water bottle in front of a water refill station

USC Dornsife student Michael Young with his reusable water bottle (Photo/


USC launches pilot crowdfunding platform

Ignite USC raises funds to support innovative ideas coming from faculty, staff, students and alumni

October 13, 2014 Jessica Raymond

USC has unveiled its first crowdfunding platform to help faculty, staff and students secure financial support for their projects. Ignite USC is USC’s own online launching pad for innovation — a sort of Kickstarter for Trojans.

Through Ignite USC, project leaders can raise the funds they need through the power of broad support: a large number of donors who each give a small amount of money. The site enables USC alumni and the public to target donations in support of endeavors that are important to them.

“The Ignite USC program is a great way for the entire Trojan Family to support innovative ideas coming from our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Michael Quick, executive vice provost and vice president for academic affairs, whose office will oversee the selection of projects that will be featured on the website. “It demonstrates the tremendous power that small gifts have to make the world a better place.”

Ignite USC’s first two projects are already open for funding:

• Reducing Plastic Waste on Campus: A $5,000 campaign to retrofit drinking fountains across USC with hydration stations, making it easier to fill reusable bottles and saving thousands of plastic water bottles each month.

• MED SRG Inc: Fighting for Green Medicine and Global Health: A $7,000 campaign to collect and redistribute unused supplies from hospital operating rooms — which otherwise would be discarded — to doctors and nonprofit organizations that provide international medical relief.

Ignite USC is overseen by the USC Office of the Provost and USC University Advancement.? It supports the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort that seeks to raise $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance the university’s mission of academic excellence and to advance research and scholarship that will address society’s most pressing challenges. Three years after its launch, the campaign has raised more than $3.6 billion.