From left to right: Mark Whitlock (executive director of the Murray Center), David White (executive vice president of Comerica Bank), Michael Quick (executive vice dean of USC College), Cecil Murray (CRCC senior fellow and holder of the Tansey Chair in Christian Ethics), Donald Miller (professor of religion and CRCC executive director), and Donald Kincey (vice president of community affairs, Comerica Bank). Photo by Laurie Moore, USC College
For Immediate Release
Los Angeles, Calif. (September 21, 2010)—The Center for Religion and Civic Culture, housed in the University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts & Science, has received a $25,000 grant from Comerica Bank to support the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement.
Named after the Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, the Murray Center aims to spur economic development and assist faith-based organizations in efforts to transform local communities. After retiring as senior pastor of the influential First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church in South Los Angeles, Murray joined the USC faculty in 2005 as the holder of the Tansey Chair in Christian Ethics. Murray also became a senior fellow in the Center for Religion and Civic Culture and partnered with the center to launch programs that provide training and technical assistance on civic engagement, community and economic development, and violence prevention. The new Murray Center is an outgrowth of these activities.
“The gift by Comerica Bank will significantly advance our capacity to develop the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement,” said Donald Miller, professor of religion and executive director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture. “We believe this center will play an important role in incubating small businesses and addressing community needs, especially in low-income neighborhoods.”
The Rev. Mark Whitlock serves as director of the Murray Center. Whitlock has collaborated with Murray on numerous projects and the two worked to raise more than $400 million to build housing and increase economic opportunities in South Los Angeles through FAME Renaissance. “The Murray Center continues the legacy of Rev. Murray’s outstanding contributions to Los Angeles,” said Whitlock.
“Comerica Bank is honored to provide support to the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement,” said Don Kincey, vice president of public affairs. “We have tremendous respect for the staff and their commitment to helping local communities. They provide the kind of education and tools that enable people to improve their lives and build stronger neighborhoods.”
About the Center for Religion and Civic Culture
The Center for Religion and Civic Culture (www.usc.edu/crcc) at the University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts & Sciences investigates the civic role of religion and collaborates with congregations, scholars, funders and faith-based organizations. The center is a catalyst for interdisciplinary research and innovative partnerships in the community and at USC.
About Comerica Bank
Comerica Bank, founded 161 years ago, is a subsidiary of Comerica Inc., based in Dallas. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. Comerica reported total assets of $55.9 billion at June 30, 2010. Comerica Bank has confidence in the economy and the future of Los Angeles County, where it has more than doubled its number of banking centers in five years to 27 locations. Comerica Bank’s middle market group, headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, serves manufacturers, exporters, distributors and wholesalers, especially those that are privately owned and/or owner-managed. The Entertainment Group, based in Century City, provides financing and banking services for the independent film industry. The bank’s national title and escrow business is based in El Segundo. Wealth & Institutional Management, Treasury Management, Commercial Real Estate and Small Business Banking groups serve customers throughout Los Angeles.