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Ali Center Gets $500,000 Gift From UPS Foundation

Muhammad Ali-9

The UPS Foundation is giving the Muhammad Ali Center $500,000 it says will go toward continuing Ali’s legacy through educational programs at the center.

The legendary boxer and humanitarian died June 3 at the age of 74. The center, which is dedicated to the Louisville native’s life and work, opened in 2005.

The gift was announced Monday during an event at the Ali Center. It will fund four educational programs for young people that teach skills including entrepreneurship and how to turn profits into social action, leadership and service work.

"We’re hoping that young people will be inspired by Muhammad Ali’s core principles, his life journey, and they will continue to support their communities and help their communities be great," said Donald Lassere, the Ali Center’s president and CEO.

UPS President Brendan Canavan said the gift came because the logistics giant wanted to honor Ali.

"Our people really wanted to honor The Greatest," said Canavan. "There are so many parallels between Ali and UPS: connecting global communities, a passion for humanitarian aid, and roots in Louisville. This gift was just the right thing to do."

The programs focus on teaching a range of skills. According to the Ali Center:


  • UCrew instills in students the tools necessary to conceptualize and launch a small social enterprise; produce and market a product or service; and generate profits that are used to combat social issues such as poverty and hunger.
  • The Generation Ali initiative draws its inspiration from Muhammad Ali’s six guiding principles (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) and fosters a new generation of leaders to find a cause worth fighting for to transform the world in positive and compassionate ways.
  • The Creating Our Future program, designed for middle and high school age youth, guides students to explore Ali’s principles and utilize them in a life plan in preparation for their futures.
  • The Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students is a youth-led program consisting of a diverse group of dynamic students who participate in service work, learning projects, and leadership development.

Mayor Greg Fischer said the gift shows that UPS supports Ali’s core values.

"Why this is so important, UPS’s gift here today, is because it says we believe in light, and we believe in goodness, and we believe in people’s ability to scale to great heights – maybe even to float like a butterfly," he said.