Knight match: OHSU reaches $1 billion goal

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – They met the challenge.

Oregon Health & Science University raised the $500 million needed to meet Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife’s challenge.

The Knights offered to donate $500 million toward cancer research at OHSU if the Portland school could raise an equal amount.

“We actually came in and topped it off at $508 million,” said OHSU Foundation President L. Keith Todd.

More than 10,000 donors chipped in to help make the fundraising effort the single largest successful match campaign in the history of US philanthropy.

“What we’re thinking about is the next step and how we can put these incredible and unprecendented resources to use,” said Dr. Tomasz Beers of the Knight Cancer Institute. “We think we have a vision that’s truly unique and that will help us move the world of cancer forward for people around the world.”

The largest contribution came in a year ago when the Oregon legislature approved $200 million to help meet the goal.

Gert Boyle, the matriarch of the Columbia Sportswear empire, gave $100 million.

Overall, there were 50 gifts of $1 million or more.

The $1 billion account will fund the hiring of 250 to 300 researchers, scientists and doctors who will focus on the early detection of cancer. It will allow scientists to focus on discovery instead of securing grants.

“The synergy between what they’re doing and the science at the rest of the institution will be absolutely intriguing and once again lead to discoveries outside the realm of cancer,” said OHSU President Dr. Joe Robertson.

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