Phil and Penny Knight Donated $400 Million To Portland Nonprofit

Portland, Ore. — Phil and Penny Knight, well-known philanthropists and founders of Nike Inc., are set to announce a $400 million donation to rebuild Portland’s historically Black Albina area. The donation will be made through their newly established nonprofit organization, the 1803 Fund, which aims to combine elements of private investing and philanthropy.

Story first reported by the Wall Street Journal

The Albina area, a section of inner North and Northeast Portland, has experienced decades of disruption and displacement due to discriminatory real estate and lending practices and redevelopment efforts. Rebuild Albina, the project initiated by the Knights, will focus on areas ranging from education and housing to art, and will include people who no longer live in the area but send their children to schools there and still visit its institutions.

Phil Knight, who grew up in Portland and made the area home to Nike, has voiced increasing concern about the city’s current state of crisis. He hopes the Rebuild Albina project will lift the community and give the whole city hope. The idea for the project came from conversations a few years ago with two men Mr. Knight called “tireless, selfless workers for the community,” Ron Herndon and Tony Hopson, who will sit on the board of the 1803 Fund along with Nike CEO John Donahoe and Nike Jordan Brand chairman Larry Miller.

Rukaiyah Adams, the 1803 Fund’s CEO and a former mergers and acquisitions lawyer who previously led the $6.5 billion capital markets fund at The Standard, aims to raise more money for the project but also to be results-driven. “This isn’t charity, we’re investing,” she said.

Phil and Penny Knight, with a net worth of $47.2 billion, have become perhaps the state of Oregon’s best-known philanthropists and some of the most prominent in the nation. Their donations to the University of Oregon have funded professorships, expanded the main library, and built numerous sports facilities. They have given $1 billion in the past seven years alone to launch and expand the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and $500 million to cancer research at Portland-based Oregon Health & Science University.