The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture advances the understanding of religion and society, and supports faith and community leaders in becoming full partners in the work of positive social change.
What we do
CRCC’s unique team consists of scholars, journalists and faith leaders. Our core work is in two related areas: We conduct empirical research on religious, cultural and social change in the US and globally; and we make this knowledge applicable and available through media, reports, public events, and training and mentoring programs.
CRCC hosts various institutes that help leaders realize their potential and transform their organization so that they can have a more effective and sustained impact on community health and wellbeing. Our current programs include the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, and Developing Thriving Congregations.
CRCC also provides consulting and evaluation work to philanthropy, business, public officials and elected leadership to enhance their engagement with faith communities on social issues.
Our work has shown that spirituality is the force that compels many people to be engaged with the grand challenges of our time. Religious traditions provide a moral vision for a more just world, as well as the institutional and social capital required to create positive changes in society. Yet often, religious leaders and groups operate in isolation—from each other and from others seeking similar goals. We also see researchers as being isolated from the communities they study.
As a center at a major research institution, CRCC connects communities and leaders with the academy and private and public sectors. We create inclusive spaces for people of good will from across the spectrum of religious traditions to learn and grow together.
Our team of scholars and practitioners understands its role as bringing insights on religion to the public in a way that it can be applied in service of the greater good.
The idea for CRCC started to germinate in 1992, as the conflagrations of the Los Angeles riots were just beginning to subside. A number of civic, corporate and inter-religious coalitions were formed to heal the deeply divided city and to address the underlying social problems that had provided tinder for the flames.
Watch The Story of USC CRCC (produced in 2016)
CRCC’s founders set out to research the role of faith groups in the public square following the uprising. They wrote a report titles “Politics of the Spirit,” documenting the efforts of congregations and other faith-based organizations to bring the City of Los Angeles back together.
Richard Flory (2021-present)
Brie Loskota (2016-2021)
Donald E. Miller (1996-2016)
The Center for Religion and Civic Culture emerged from this research project as a way for the university to continue its commitment to the community. From its inception, the research conducted at the Center has informed the development of programs to build the capacity of faith leaders to pursue civic engagement and community development work.
In 2002, CRCC was named a Pew Center of Excellence, one of ten university-based research centers to receive that recognition.
The USC provost invited the Rev. Dr. Cecil L. Murray, one of the city’s foremost leaders through the 1992 civil unrest, to join the faculty and the Center in 2004. CRCC’s Cecil Murray Center continues to pass on his leadership methods to future generations.
The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute emerged from a research project and convening of young Muslim leaders from around the country in 2006.
CRCC has managed more than $40 million in funding from corporations, foundations and government agencies for research, consulting, evaluation and capacity-building programming.