The organization launched phase two of its fundraising campaign last month.
The Louisville Urban League received a sizable donation toward a planned $35 million West End track and field complex this week.
The Gheens Foundation Inc., one of the largest private foundations in Kentucky, has awarded $1 million toward the Louisville Urban League Sports and Learning Complex’s ongoing fundraising campaign. The Urban League and its CEO, Sadiqa Reynolds, shared news of the donation on several social media channels this week.
“It’s a big boost for the fundraising campaign and it’s also a big boost for the confidence in this project,” Reynolds said of the donation by phone.
She referenced the previous $3 million donation for the complex from the James Graham Brown Foundation, saying all local foundations are now challenged to be engaged with this project.
The Sports and Learning Complex will focus on the indoor track season, which runs from December through March, and will be designed to host a slew of sporting events potentially sponsored by organizations such as USA Track and Field, the NCAA, colleges and universities and local and regional public and private schools.
A large outdoor track also is planned that would be designed to high school standards. It would house bleacher seating and be capable of hosting track meets for high school and youth sports leagues.
The complex is planned on a 24-acre lot on the corner of 30th Street and West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Reynolds has said the complex also could double as a concert venue. And the Urban League is looking at potential retail uses at the complex, such as small restaurants and an athletics apparel and supply shop, to create more revenue streams.
Los Angeles-based AEG, a worldwide event and venue management brand, has been selected to manage the complex. AEG already manages the KFC Yum Center and will manage the new Louisville City FC soccer stadium once it opens next year.
The Gheens Foundation donation gives the project more than $18 million toward its $35 million goal. I have reached out to the Gheens Foundation for comment and this story could be updated.
The donation comes after the Urban League kicked off Phase II of its capital fundraising campaign last month. The Urban League raised a little more than $17 million in the first phase of the campaign, including a $10 million allocation from Louisville Metro Government.
During a June news conference kicking off the second phase of the fundraising campaign, Reynolds said the Urban League aims to raise an additional $20 million by Sept. 30 through the sale of naming rights for each of the 4,000 seats in the indoor facility of the complex. They’ll be offered for $5,000 each.
To start the campaign, 4,000 businesses, foundations and organizations in the region will receive personal letters inviting them to support the complex — and more than 200 in the West End area and downtown will receive hand-delivered letters, Reynolds said last month. That effort has raised more than $250,000 so far.