A philanthropy magazine recently ranked Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny Knight as the number one philanthropists in the country for 2016.
It’s the first time the Knight couple topped the The Chronicle of Philanthropy Magazine’s annual list of 50 Americans who donate the most money. In 2016, Knights gave $500 million to the University of Oregon and $400 million to Stanford University, totaling $900 million for the year, according to the article.
The Knight’s donation to UO goes toward the creation of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, which is estimated to be completed in a decade. The campus aims to increase scientific discoveries that will improve people’s lives in Oregon.
“In an age of declining public support for scientific research generally and declining public higher education support specifically, Penny and I are delighted to contribute to these critically important areas,” Phil Knight said in UO’s blog, AroundtheO.
Phil Knight, 79, earned his bachelor’s degree from UO and has made many other donations to the university, such as a $10 million donation to help with the construction of the Knight Law Center and a $100 million gift to help support athletics, according to an AroundtheO post.
The Chronicle has compiled a list of top philanthropists every year for 17 years. This year, colleges and universities received almost half of the total money that was donated by the top 50 philanthropists. Other philanthropists in the top five were Michael Bloomberg, Howard and Lottie Marcus, and John Arnold.
The article in The Chronicle states that in 2016, the total amount of money donated by those on the list shrank. The total this year was $5.6 billion, but in 2015 it was $7 billion and in 2014 was $10.2 billion.