WASHINGTON  - Muhammad Ali's legacy of respect, hope and understanding among people has an enduring spirit for those who have seen the power that the boxing icon has even as he nears his 70th birthday.

More than 30 years after his last fight, Ali's fame as a humanitarian is immortalized in the Muhammad Ali Center, a non-profit home in Louisville, Kentucky, for far more than souvenirs of the legendary heavyweight champion's career. "It's much more than a building. We are here to create an enduring legacy," said Ali Center spokeswoman Jeanie Kahnke.

"We want Muhammad's legacy to be carried on to the next generation. We are the institution that will carry on Muhammad's legacy." Despite battling Parkinson's disease, Ali has lent his fame to efforts large and small to help people, whether it's neighborhood groups in his hometown of Louisville or helping bring food and medicine to poorer nations. Ali is recalled for his flamboyant character and youthful charm as well as epic fights with the late Joe Frazier and winning a showdown in Africa against George Foreman. For some, Ali's fame comes from his anti-war stance and the courage he showed in being banned from boxing at the peak of his career for refusing to enlist as an American soldier in the Vietnam War.

Still others point to Ali's role in the 1960s US civil rights movement, a proud messenger of black culture and social change that helped pave the way for iconic athletes who followed such as the NBA's Michael Jordan and golf star Tiger Woods. "It's hard to bottle Muhammad Ali's magic but the values that he has been led by and believed in are represented in the Ali Center," Kahnke said.