LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Muhammad Ali Center has received a $500,000 grant from The UPS Foundation to honor the boxer's legacy, according to a news release.

The gift is expected to fund the center's education initiatives, including UCrew, Generation Ali, the character education program dubbed "Creating our Future" and the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students. 

"UPS is our biggest employer in Louisville, with some 22,000 to 25,000 employees," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Monday. "Now for them to  accept this leadership mantle willingly, without any provocation from anybody, just to say, 'We want to help,' -- I think it says a huge amount about our corporate citizens here."

UPS says the gift was the right thing to do. 

"There are many parallels between 'the Greatest' and UPS' strong Louisville roots: connected global communities and a passion for humanitarian work," said Captain Houston Mills, UPS director of airline safety.

Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, says he was amazed at what he saw the day Louisville remembered Ali.

"The outpouring of love and affection that we saw come to this city was incredible," Lassere said.

The Generation Ali program draws its inspiration from Muhammad Ali's six guiding principles: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality.

"We hope to get thousands upon thousands of students from JCPS to come this Fall for one of our programs, said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. "And also to view our temporary exhibit that's coming called Race: Are we so different? This grant will help us do that, which will help thousands of students learn about Muhammad Ali, his legacy, and to be inspired to seek their own personal greatness."

Several UPS employees were in the audience for the large announcement. They say they're excited about how the company is helping children.

"It will help us inspire a new generation of young people to be great, to try and achieve greatness, to try and be the next Muhammad Ali," Lassere said.

Mayor Fischer says he hopes the grant will be one of many gifts to the Muhammad Ali Center.

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