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Numerous Projects Try To Raise Money In Arthur Ashe’s Name

June 16, 1996

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Tennis great Arthur Ashe called Richmond home, but his legacy has spread across the country _ and with it memorial projects all fighting to raise money.

Richmond’s memorial to the late tennis star and city native, which will be unveiled July 10 on Monument Avenue, has the distinction of being one of the few projects that is paid for.

The projects, including the hoped-for Hard Road to Glory African-American Sports Hall of Fame, are competing with one another for dollars. No fewer than eight organizations are raising money in Ashe’s name.

One is the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center at the University of California at Los Angeles. Ashe was a 1966 graduate of UCLA.

Janet Gong, director of student affairs development at the university, said the project will cost about $6.5 million.

Already, $4 million has been donated by students and faculty. It took the university about a year to raise an additional $1.2 million. That leaves $1.3 million to be raised by March, when the center is to open.

On April 9, another organization started by Ashe held a fund-raiser. The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health held Sports Ball ’96 in New York City to raise $400,000 ``to sustain and expand its community-based programs that aim to improve the health and well-being of poor people living in American cities.″

Yet another Ashe-related group is The Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS, based in New York City. Ashe formed it not long after he publicly announced in April 1991 that he had AIDS. The foundation has raised more than $3 million for AIDS research.

Johnny Ashe, Ashe’s brother, said he is not bothered by the many groups soliciting money in his brother’s name.

``They’re all targeted at different things,″ he said. Some are working in tight geographic areas while others are involved with specific causes, he said. The UCLA effort, for example, is aimed primarily at alumni.

Harrison B. Wilson III, executive director of the Hard Road to Glory African-American Sports Hall of Fame in Richmond, said he is aware of the competition, but he is not worried.

Wilson said the other groups associated with Ashe represent good causes, though ``they’re all somewhat different.″

The estimated price tag for the hall is $20 million.

Ashe died in February 1993 of complications from AIDS.

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