Price alumni Lott, Brown recognized for achievements and service
By Matthew Kredell
Ronnie Lott has won a lot of awards in his athletic career — All-American safety at USC, four-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers, an inductee of both the pro and college football halls of fame. So when Lott says he places the USC Alumni Merit Award above them all, it’s quite a statement.
“This holds the most importance to me, and the reason is because it shines a light on something near and dear to my heart, and that of my family and my parents,” said Lott, who earned his bachelor of science in public administration from the USC Price School of Public Policy in 1981. “They were the catalysts of me learning that my success as a football player put me in a position to help people.”
Lott – along with fellow USC Price alumna Aja Brown ’04, MPL ’05 – were among the eight recipients honored recently at the 81st Annual USC Alumni Awards, presented by the USC Alumni Association in a ceremony at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Brown made history last year when she became the youngest person, and second woman, elected mayor of the City of Compton, Calif.
Established in 1932, the USC Alumni Merit awards are given to individuals whose remarkable accomplishments speak well for the range and quality of a USC education.
Lott began his philanthropic work 25 years ago when he founded All Stars Helping Kids, which has raised more than $20 million to support disadvantaged youth in the Bay Area and throughout the nation. He transitioned from football to a successful career in business, owning several automobile dealerships. He also serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Tipping Point Community and Champion Charities, the latter of which he co-founded in 2004.
All Stars Helping Kids specifically looks to find, fund and support start-up nonprofits that are working with low-income youth, providing not only cash but coaching on how to run an organization and connections over a three-year grant.
“At USC, I learned that policies don’t change unless you have people who can influence their respective communities,” Lott said. “I believe that there’s always that one person who can be an activist and create change, yet might not have the dollars to start an organization. We’ve been able to help organizations get started and show that they can have an impact in their community.”
Brown has also made a positive impact, by dedicating more than a decade of public-sector leadership and service in urban planning and community development. From 2009 to 2011, she was the project manager of Compton’s Community Redevelopment Agency. Prior to that, she held posts that included planning commissioner for the City of Pasadena, senior administrative analyst and senior planner for the City of Inglewood and economic development analyst for the City of Gardena. In 2011, she co-founded the Urban Vision Community Development Corporation, a Compton-based nonprofit focusing on community economic development and youth development.
Since her induction as Compton mayor in July 2013, Brown has launched several community initiatives, including the Compton Community Policing Task Force, Mayor’s Monthly Clean-up, Coffee with the Mayor and We Run Compton, which encourages youth fitness.
“I am delighted to receive this prestigious award,” Brown said. “This honor is especially meaningful because it reflects my passion and commitment to serving the community. I’m very thankful for the support of USC and the Price School.”