Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson gives $1 million to TreesCharlotte

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and his wife, Rosalind, have donated $1 million to TreesCharlotte and its efforts to grow, protect and diversify the city’s celebrated tree canopy.

“The Richardson family has been so generous in the community,” Dave Cable, executive director of TreesCharlotte, said Wednesday. “And this will help ensure the long-term replenishment and care for our urban forest.”

Founded in 2012, TreesCharlotte is a public-private collaborative dedicated to achieving 50 percent tree canopy coverage by 2050.

With help from 8,500 volunteers, TreesCharlotte has planted or distributed 17,000 6-to-10-foot containerized trees in neighborhoods, parks and schools.

The Richardsons’ gift will go into an endowment. TreesCharlotte hopes to raise $15 million for the endowment over the next couple of years, Cable said. About $5 million has been raised, he said.

A $2.2 million gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the campaign early this year.

Leading the endowment effort are former Charlotte Observer publisher Rolfe Neill and Thrus Morton, president and CEO of Charlotte-based Global Endowment Management.

Richardson told the Observer his donation to TreesCharlotte “is in support of the good work they’re doing and in honor of Rolfe Neill.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak