$800,000 in Grants Awarded from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan 

In Press Release

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation today announced their full slate of annual grants, totaling $800,000 to 37 organizations through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds.

The endowed funds, which the Community Foundation manages, focus on regional caregiving, design and access to public spaces, youth sports, and the Grosse Pointe communities.  

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established the funds at the Community Foundation to support issues that were important to the late Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., a Detroit native, former Grosse Pointe resident, and the founder and longtime owner of the Buffalo Bills football team. Endowed funds at the Community Foundation are designed to grow over time and provide funding in perpetuity for charitable causes according to a donor’s wishes.    

“The Wilson Legacy Funds are an incredible asset for southeast Michigan,” Community Foundation President Richard (Ric) DeVore says. “From support for caregivers of LGBTQ+ older adults, to the installation of an accessible kayak launch, to a new theater program focused on senior citizens, this year’s grantmaking was designed to expand access to a variety of opportunities that make our region a place where everyone can thrive.”  

The endowed Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation are complementary to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s efforts to create an immediate impact within the communities of southeast Michigan and Western New York. The Legacy Funds are a generous, important tool of support, particularly for a range of smaller and midsized nonprofit organizations. Grants from these funds are made annually, and information on the next round of grantmaking will be available this fall.   

Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports, included below, were announced previously in April as Project Play, an initiative of the Community Foundation, in partnership with the Wilson foundation, joined the Detroit Sports Commission to welcome the NFL Draft to Detroit. 

The following grants, totaling $814,030, were among those provided by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds through an open, competitive application process. 

10 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Caregivers ($167,000 Total)

  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc. – Greater Michigan Chapter (Southfield) $12,000 for the Relax & Renew (R&R) pilot program, which offers dementia caregivers a break from their caregiving responsibilities to focus much needed self-care  
  • Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) (Dearborn) $15,000 for new caregiver services that offer culturally and linguistically accessible programming to ease the responsibilities of caregivers in the Arab American community 
  • Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute (Detroit) $17,000 for a program for cancer caregivers in metro Detroit in collaboration with arts and culture organizations  
  • Franklin-Wright Settlements, Inc. (Detroit) $13,000 for a new Caregiver Respite Program that provides designated respite hours, engaging activities, and a secure environment for older adult care recipients allowing their caregivers time to take a much-needed break  
  • Gilda’s Club-Metro Detroit (Royal Oak) $17,000 for caregivers of individuals with cancer to participate in educational workshops, healthy lifestyle activities, social gatherings and resources referrals to minimize the burden of caregiving 
  • Hannan Center (Detroit) $13,000 for expansion of the DayBreak+ program providing respite opportunities including art therapy, wellness activities, a community navigator and counseling for caregivers of older adults living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in the Detroit area     
  • Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit (West Bloomfield) $15,000 for expanded services for caregivers who are at heightened risk of chronic illness and in need of support in developing self-care skills to manage their own health conditions while caring for others  
  • MiGen Michigan LGBTQ+ Elders Network (Ferndale) $15,000 for no-cost training, education, and other supportive programs and services for unpaid caregivers of LGBTQ+ older adults  
  • The Art Experience, Inc. (Pontiac) $25,000 for an expansion of an art therapy program and individual sessions with health and wellness professionals for caregivers in Oakland County culminating with a public art exhibit in November  
  • YMCA of Monroe (Monroe) $25,000 for self-care opportunities for Monroe County caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s, cancer and other chronic diagnoses to promote mindfulness activities, physical fitness, emotional and mental well-being, additional resources and respite care  

6 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Design and Access ($275,000 Total) 

  • City of Marine City (Marine City) $50,000 for an accessible fishing pier and walkway on the Belle River 
  • Charter Township of Canton (Canton) $50,000 for design and engineering services for the installation of an accessible kayak launch as part of the Lower Rouge Trail
  • Independence Land Conservancy (Clarkston) $35,000 for engineering design plans for an accessible recreational trail along a half mile of the Shiawassee River in Holly Township  
  • Macomb County (Mt. Clemens) $50,000 for wayfinding and interpretitive signage along the Clinton River Spillway   
  • NW Goldberg Cares (Detroit) $40,000 for the activation of a vacant lot into a safe and play-focused space    
  • Project Evergreen Foundation, Inc. (Detroit) $50,000 for the revitalization of Milan Park in Detroit  

15 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Youth Sports ($288,030 Total)  

  • Chandler Park Conservancy (Detroit) $20,000 for free play and sports sampling programming that fosters physical, mental, and personal growth 
  • City of Port Huron (Port Huron) $20,000 for installing a volleyball court in the new 16th Street Park, a public space transforming into active, multi-sport fields and play areas  
  • Clark Park Coalition (Detroit) $20,000 for sports sampling and youth-directed, adult-led play   
  • Detroit United Lacrosse Association (Royal Oak) $20,000 for introducing more youth to lacrosse while maintaining existing programming
  • Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program (Detroit) $15,000 for its Beyond The Ring sports sampling seasonal programs  
  • East Side Youth Sports Foundation (Detroit) $15,000 for a youth hockey program that will serve children in Detroit and surrounding communities
  • Figure Skating in Harlem, Inc. – Detroit (Detroit) $20,000 for both year-round figure skating programs and new school year-based skating workshops  
  • Free Bikes 4 Kidz – Detroit (Detroit) $10,000 for collecting, refurbishing, and distributing bicycles to youth in Detroit
  • Friends of Detroit Rowing, Inc. (Grosse Pointe) $20,000 for a pilot program to provide teens in Detroit with the financial assistance necessary to learn, train, travel, and compete in rowing
  • Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey Inc. (Chelsea) — $20,000 for in-town summer leagues and new, self-sustaining programming
  • Kids on the Go (St. Clair Shores) $24,860 for its Fun and Fitness program, which provides inclusive and adaptive sports and wellness programming for children with physical or developmental disabilities
  • LAHC-Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (Dearborn) $20,000 for summer youth fitness camps and family exercise classes designed for Arab and Muslim populations in a culturally-appropriate manner
  • Sheriff PAL Program (Pontiac) $23,170 for a basketball league in partnership with the Pontiac School District and area charter schools
  • Wendy Hilliard Foundation (Detroit) $20,000 for sports sampling by providing instructions in trampoline, tumbling, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics 
  • YMCA of Monroe (Monroe) $20,000 for adaptive sports leagues for children with diverse abilities  

6 grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Grosse Pointe Community Assets ($84,000 Total) 

  • Grosse Pointe Artists Association (Grosse Pointe Farms)$12,500 for upgrades to its volunteer program and art studio 
  • Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education (Grosse Pointe Woods) $15,000 to replace broken or outdated equipment in the art department at Grosse Pointe South High School  
  • Grosse Pointe North Band and Orchestra Booster Club (Grosse Pointe Woods) $11,500 for the acquisition of new marimba, chimes, and vibraphone instruments to advance the musical education of students  
  • Grosse Pointe Theatre, Inc. (Grosse Pointe) $10,000 for Act II, a new theater program focused on senior citizens  
  • Services for Older Citizens (dba The Helm) (Grosse Pointe Farms) $15,000 for improving the acoustics in The Helm’s community center  
  • The Family Center of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods (Grosse Pointe Farms) $20,000 for free programming to address youth mental health, adult isolation, and suicide crises 

To learn more about the endowment, visit