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25 Apr

Nike Cofounder Phil Knight and His Wife Pledge $400

Nike Inc. cofounder and chairman emeritus Phil Knight and his wife Penny are upping their commitment to Portland Oregon’s Black community with a $400 million pledge to the Rebuild Albina project.

The initiative is an element of the brand new 1803 Fund, a non-public investing and philanthropy fund that’s geared toward helping Black residents thrive and for communities to flourish. As the primary enterprise by the 1803 Fund, the Rebuild Albina project is designed to assist advance Black Portland residents — and future generations — through investments in education, place and culture and belonging within the Albina community, with advantages which can be hoped to ripple across Portland.

In an announcement, Knight said he and his wife “have long believed locally of Portland.”

He also highlighted how a few of his most significant memories are connected to the Eastside of Portland, including in Lower Albina neighborhood. One example was how Jefferson High School, under the leadership of coaches Bill Sorsby and Doug Basham, was the middle of the “all comers” track meets of Knight’s youth. The previous Nike leader also noted that the handshake deal he made with Bill Bowerman to launch Nike happened in Lower Albina near Memorial Coliseum. As well as, Knight said that Lower Albina was the main target of “the initial agreement struck with Ron Herndon and Tony Hopson to construct a Nike retail store with a share of the profits invested back into the community.”

The 1803 Fund’s chief executive officer Rukaiyah Adams noted the “place-based effort of this magnitude” had never been done in Portland or within the U.S. In his post, Adams leads the 1803 Fund, which is being overseen by a board of directors comprised of representatives from the town’s businesses, nonprofits and Albina communities. Two familiar faces to Knight, who’re serving on that board, are Nike CEO John Donahoe and Nike’s Michael Jordan Brand chairman Larry Miller.

Based on 2020 U.S. Census data for Portland, the typical Black household brings in about $3,000 in monthly income, while Latino households earn $4,500, and Native American households earn nearly $5,000. Compared, white Portland households earn $6,400 on average every month. Reasonably priced housing has turn out to be unattainable for a lot of city residents, as is the case in several other major U.S. cities.

In 2022, the typical monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Portland was $1,904 and the median price for a house was $525,000. In keeping with the town’s data, two-bedroom apartments across the town were considered unaffordable for the typical Black household.

A supporter of Portland’s Black community, Knight has funded Head Start programs locally and nationally for a while, in addition to Self-Enhancement Inc., a company that gives guidance to underserved youth to assist them reach their potential. He has also known and worked with 1803 Fund board members Tony Hopson and Ron Herndon for a long time. Knight helped conceptualize the progressive Albina Nike Community Store in order that profits were shared with the Albina community. The Rebuild Albina project is supposed to assist the town’s Black community have greater. Accessibility to economic opportunity and an overall higher well-being.

Knight and his wife have also dedicated to sizable donations to fight cancer through a Portland-based initiative. In 2008, the couple made a $100 million gift in to recruit leading researchers in the sector to Oregon Health & Science University. In 2015, they followed up that commitment with a $500 million pledge as a part of The Knight Cancer Challenge that raised $500 million more from donors from 14 countries.

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