Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, and his wife, Penny, pledged a multi-million dollar donation to his hometown of Portland, Oregon to rebuild the city’s Albina area. Nike’s longtime headquarters is in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland.
Located in the north and northeast sections of Portland, Albina is a historically Black community whose locals have been displaced during its more than century-long history through redlining and discriminatory housing practices. Now, Knight has pledged $400 million to assist in rebuilding the area’s Black community for existing and future generations.
“I think it can lift the community and it can give the whole city hope,” Knight told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s the ambition.”
The initiative, Rebuild Albina, will be a part of the newly established 1803 Fund (whose launch was made possible by Knight’s donation), which is touted as a “private equity fund for the people,” and intends to combine philanthropy and private investing.
“1803 Fund is not a conventional investment firm, and it is not traditional philanthropy, though our work will include pieces of both,” the organization states on its website.
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1803 Fund will be led by CEO Rukaiyah Adams, a Standford MBA and law graduate who grew up in northeast Portland. A former mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Adams told the WSJ that she not only intends to raise more funds for the project but also be results-driven in her approach to strengthening the community.
“I think, judging by who Phil is choosing and the team is choosing to lead the organization, I think that’s telling you something about what we expect the magnitude of it to be — and the tone, which is: This isn’t charity, we’re investing,” Adams told the outlet.
Rebuild Albina will focus on a variety of areas — from education and housing to art and culture — intended to strengthen the community for existing and future Black residents.
Knight has made myriad donations over the years to his home state, including funding professorships, buildings and sports facilities at the University of Oregon and donating $500 million to fund cancer research at Oregon Health & Science University.
Related: The Extraordinary Career of Nike Founder Phil Knight