"Star Wars (search)" director George Lucas (search) has donated $1 million to build a memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (search) on the National Mall, backers of the project announced.

"The ideals and principles for which Dr. King fought have never been forgotten and are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago," Lucas said Thursday, adding in a statement that a memorial ensures King's message will endure for future generations.

Other notable supporters of the project include former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Jack Valenti, former president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

More than $40 million has been raised for the memorial, with $100 million needed to finish the project, organizers said.

Congress authorized the memorial in 1996, and groundbreaking is scheduled for late next year on a four-acre site near the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on Aug. 28, 1963.