About Sol Price and the Naming Gift

A momentous investment in the wellbeing of society


Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sol Price

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sol Price

In November 2011, the Price Family Charitable Fund made a $50 million gift to endow and name the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. This generous gift honors the life and legacy of the late Sol Price, a visionary entrepreneur who pioneered creative practices in retail, real estate, and philanthropy. He was also a man of great integrity, guided by a strong moral compass to improve quality of life for the less fortunate.

As founder of Price Club (which later merged with Costco), Sol Price revolutionized consumer buying habits through a membership model that provided customers greater value. He was known especially for the care and dignity with which he treated employees. Sol Price worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for families in low-income urban areas by implementing research-based practices related to all of the Price School’s primary fields.

Robert Price, Sol’s son, was determined to carry on his father’s vision for a better society.  He believed that solutions created through interdisciplinary research and broad conversation — and explored in a city like Los Angeles — offer the best path to developing effective public policy and practices. The naming gift reflects a remarkable alignment between the legacy of Sol Price and the mission of the school.


The gift also established the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation to advance ideas and strategies that enhance quality of life for people in urban communities.

Since the 1980s, Price Philanthropies, established by Sol and Robert Price, has helped transform the low-income neighborhood of City Heights in San Diego. Part of this came through the creation of mixed-use real estate development projects as part of their economic development efforts in the area. And they brought imperative public services to the area by developing unique public-private partnerships. They established community and school-based health centers, a thriving Urban Village that includes a library, and a public park on a freeway overpass.

Combining world-class scholarship and expertise from our faculty with on-the-ground efforts of Price Philanthropies, the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation advances a vision for creating more robust communities in the “Century of Cities.”

Read the USC News story announcing the naming gift »
Read the Los Angeles Times article about the gift »
View photos from the naming celebration »
Watch the Sol Price tribute video »