Portland, OR

The richest person in Portland is giving away billions

Ash Jurberg

This week Forbes released a list of the 25 most generous people in the United States.

I love reading articles like these as they are positive and show the good people can do for their communities, and it is great to share positive, uplifting stories with readers.

Featured on the list was Phil Knight- the wealthiest person in Portland.

Knight and his wife Penny gave away $270 million in 2022, meaning he has given $3.7 billion to various organizations over his lifetime.

Let's take a quick look at his story.

The Portland man giving away billions

Phil Knight was born in Portland and grew up in the neighborhood of Eastmoreland. He attended Cleveland High School and the University of Oregon, where he ran track.

With his college track coach Bill Bowerman, Knight created Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. Blue Ribbon Sports eventually evolved into Nike- a company that boasts over $45 billion in revenue yearly.

Knight retired from Nike in 2016 and now focuses heavily on philanthropy.


Knight has more wealth than any of us could ever imagine, but thankfully he has vowed to give away much of his fortune.

"By the time, you know, the lives of my children and their kids run out, I will have given most of it to charity." Phil Knight

According to the Portland Business Journal, "Knight is the most generous philanthropist in Oregon history."

This includes over $2.5 billion in pledges to three universities:

  • The University of Oregon
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Stanford University

He has also donated $500 million to Oregon Health & Science University for cancer research. Last year, he gave $75 million to launch The Phil & Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience, a multidisciplinary effort to study the causes of cognitive decline.

During the start of the COVID pandemic, Knight contributed to the Oregon Community Foundation Recovery Fund to assist with relief efforts across the state.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the charitable giving of Phil Knight? What other organizations in Portland would you like to see him support?

Please leave a comment below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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