Nike founder and chair emeritus Phil Knight is offloading some of his $32 billion fortune, donating $990 million worth of Nike shares to charity last week, according to regulatory filings.
The donation brings Knight’s philanthropic total to around $1.7 billion this year, adding to a $700 million gift in July, which was apparently made to the Knight Foundation, a charitable organization he controls. The most recent filing likewise doesn’t specifically name the entity that received the gift of 12 million Nike shares, but it does report that both the founder and his wife, Penelope Knight, are directors.
The couple’s substantial philanthropic efforts have so far been largely directed toward education and research. Both directly and through the Knight Foundation, Knight has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to both the University of Oregon and Stanford University, his two alma maters. In 2016, the couple topped The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s list of America’s biggest donors after giving a combined $900 million to the two schools.
In an interview with CBS in 2016, the 80-year-old mogul said he planned to donate most of his fortune to charity. He started the company in 1964 with his track and field coach, the late Bill Bowerman, and helped build it into the $130 billion athleticwear powerhouse it is today.
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Knight is Nike’s second-largest individual stock holder after his son, Travis A. Knight. He stepped down from his role as chairman in 2015 and was succeeded by the company’s president and CEO, Mark Parker.
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