He is a champion for civil rights, equal rights, and human rights," Yarmuth said "Through his humanitarian work and that of the Ali Center, Muhammad promotes peace and justice. He reminds us that compassion and outreach are part of our obligation as global citizens, and I want to make sure that message endures."

Under the bill, H.R. 3795, State could distribute $5 million per year to groups that "promote global respect, understanding, and communication and to encourage character and leadership development world-wide" and "demonstrate a commitment to preserving the legacy of Muhammad Ali." The bill says the aim of the program is to help prepare future leaders on issues like peace building, conflict resolution, violence prevention and education about other religions and cultures.

Groups that receive the grant money must also act as a "global gathering place ... for negotiation and mediation."