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Penn’s Greenfield Intercultural Center received a $1,000,000 gift this month — the largest in its history — from its co-founder, Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, to improve campus cultural initiatives.

GIC is working to collaborate with other on-campus organizations, such as the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Civic House and College Houses, said Sean Vereen, chairman of the GIC board. The gift will support programs to increase GIC’s presence on campus and create new initiatives promoting intercultural awareness.

“The goal is to build on the current models for GIC intercultural programming and to increase the number of students served,” GIC director Valerie De Cruz wrote in an e-mail.

De Cruz wrote that around 4,000 students participate in various GIC programs, including the Race Dialogue Project, the Franklin Community program and the Intercultural Leadership Program.

The $1,000,000 gift will launch the Intercultural Innovations Program, which is designed to increase participation in the center’s intercultural activities. The donation will also support a part-time staff position.

GIC is still in the process of planning with students, alumni and campus partners to determine how to allocate the funding, De Cruz added.

Administrators under the Vice Provost for University Life and GIC staff had been working to secure the grant from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation for the past few years.

The Foundation — created in 1953 by the Philadelphia-based businessman and philanthropist who gave his name to the organization — serves to reflect Greenfield’s ideal of service. In addition to supporting GIC, it allots grants to local Philadelphia organizations to strengthen arts and culture, education and civic activities.

“This is finally the year when the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed, and the gift was announced,” Vereen said.

Last semester, the center collaborated with the Chaplain’s office to launch an interfaith dialogue program to promote greater understanding of various religions and faiths. The dialogue exemplifies the kind of new programming the center hopes to launch with the gift, De Cruz wrote.

The United Minorities Council and its 25 constituencies that call Greenfield its home will also benefit from the gift.

College sophomore and UMC chairman Chris Cruz hopes to use this “legendary opportunity [for UMC] to leave an even stronger mark on campus that hasn’t been felt before.”

College senior Janice Dow, co-director of the Race Dialogue Project, has been involved with GIC for four years. She is excited about the increased funding opportunities.

“The biggest barrier for all groups on campus is always funding,” Dow said. With the gift, she hopes the RDP and GIC will put on bigger events and promote conversation on race and interculturalism to a larger extent on campus.

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