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OHSU more than halfway to Knight fundraising goal

Oregon Health & Science University said Wednesday that it is more than halfway toward meeting Phil Knight's $500 million all-or-nothing challenge grant for the university's Knight Cancer Institute.

Seven months ago, Knight announced he would give the Institute the half-billion dollars if OHSU could raise the same amount within two years. At the time, Knight told OHSU officials that the grant was an all or nothing deal — if the university could not meet the challenge, Knight would not make a contribution.

The Knight challenge is considered by fundraisers across the country as the single largest challenge grant ever proposed on such a short timeline. Typically large challenge grants give organizations five to seven years to match.

But OHSU appears to be making major strides. According to the university, more than 3,700 donations and pledges have come in from 47 states totalling about $86 million. About 30 percent of the money raised so far has come from outside Oregon. There have been 20 gifts of $1 million or more.

In addition, last week the Oregon Legislature committed $200 million in bonding authority for a new OHSU South Waterfront building. That $200 million will count toward the $500 match, though OHSU promised legislators it would eventually raise another $200 million separately.

Among the major donors secured so far, Intel Corp. has pledged nearly $2 million worth of equipment, technology and personnel, and the Oregon Community Foundation, which compiles donations and makes grants to a variety of nonprofits around the state, committed $1 million.