Hillsboro, OR

Hillsboro, Nike co-founder billionaire is donating his wealth


For some, giving is greater than receiving. And that old adage rings true for Nike co-founder, Phil Knight. The Stanford University and University of Oregon alumni is worth $48.9 billion dollars.

Knight spent over 52 years with Nike and recently retired in June 2016. He's the 27th richest person in the world.

Forbes estimate that he's donated $1.9 billion dollars since January 2021. In July of 2021 news was released that Phil and his wife had donated a second $500 million dollars to the University of Oregon to build a scientific research center built in their honor.

The donation will go toward building the 175,000 square-foot structure and obtaining 14 to 16 new faculty in bioengineering, biomedical data science, and other related fields.

Phil Knight's ties to the Oregon college go back to his days as a runner on the University's track team. In fact, it was there that he began his sneaker innovation idea with then track coach, Bill Bowerman back in 1958. Those shoes and their design would go on to be a part of what is now known as Nike.

The Knight Foundation is one of the largest philanthropist organizations in the state of Oregon. The foundation's total assets were valued at around $2 billion dollars.

Notably, Knight isn't one to self-advertise his donation history. He's quoted saying, "I'd prefer to let my contributions speak for themselves," in a statement emailed to the Business Journal.

In what must have been a mix of chance, and luck, Knight paid a Portland State University student $35 to design Nike's iconic "Swoosh" logo. The Nike brand is valued at over $33 billion dollars today.

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