The Louisville Urban League announced a major fundraising gift for its track and field project Monday; it’s the first of this scale in nearly a year. But CEO and president Sadiqa Reynolds said the nonprofit isn’t done yet.
Norton Healthcare pledged $5 million to the project in the form of a $3 million grant and an additional $2 million matching challenge, and with that bought the naming rights to the facility. It will be known as the Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex.
City and nonprofit leaders hailed the investment as a major commitment to a project that some say could contribute to transforming the West End of Louisville, which has suffered from discriminatory policies and a lack of investment for decades.
“It’s the right thing to do, and it’s way past time to do it.,” said Russell Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare, of the investment.
Reynolds, typically outspoken, was cautiously celebratory after a press conference Monday morning.
“I feel pretty good today,” she said. “I have to keep it in perspective, or I get a little bit overwhelmed just thinking about it all, but I do. I feel good.”
The Norton investment brings the total for the facility’s capital campaign to about $24 million.
Last November, the James Graham Brown Foundation put in $3 million. The project also got $10 million from Louisville Metro via a bond, which was almost held up amid last spring’s budget confusion.
In June, the Louisville Urban League launched a campaign called Run With Us, through which it aimed to raise $20 million by selling naming rights to the complex’s 4,000 seats for $5,000 apiece. When the group broke ground on the site in August, it raised about $300,000 that day from seat sales.
Reynolds said Monday that overall seat sales have been fine, but not as strong as she expected. They’ve sold about 250 seats.
There are more fundraising opportunities to consider, too. Reynolds said Opportunity Zone investment is an option, as are New Markets Tax Credits. She said the Urban League could net about $6 million from those credits.
For more context on how the track and field complex fits into overall development taking place in west Louisville, listen to this episode of Here Today: