CFSEM Awards Grants from Endowment Funds Established to Honor the Legacy of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

In Press Release

DETROIT, Mich., May 23, 2017 – The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announced today that 33 organizations in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties received grants from endowment funds created to carry on the legacy of giving of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established these endowment funds at the Community Foundation to provide support to areas that were important to Mr. Wilson during his lifetime: Caregiving, Design and Access, Grosse Pointe Community Assets, and Youth Sports. Endowment funds are designed to grow over time and provide funding for charitable causes according to the client’s wishes, forever.

“We are delighted to see the diversity of organizations receiving grants from the Wilson Legacy Funds this year,” said Mariam C. Noland, President of the Community Foundation. “Spanning across all the seven counties of southeast Michigan, the grantee’s projects will provide unique opportunities to the region’s residents, as well as create positive impacts in their respective communities.”

The endowment funds at the Community Foundation are complementary to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s efforts to create immediate impact and long-term benefit within the communities of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. To learn more about grants offered by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation directly, please visit

The following grants were awarded from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Foundation Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan through an open, competitive application process:

Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Caregiving

  • Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter – $12,500 for arts and culture programming for caregivers of people with dementia and those for whom they provide care
  • Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute – $25,000 for programming for cancer caregivers at the Institute’s Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills
  • Judson Center Inc. – $25,000 for respite for caregivers of children with disabilities at the Lahser Respite Home in Oakland County
  • McLaren Oakland Foundation – $20,500 for programs for people who have been touched by cancer in Oakland County, with an emphasis on the city of Pontiac
  • National Kidney Foundation of Michigan – $15,500 for a health-management program in Livingston and Washtenaw Counties, aimed at improving caregiver health
  • The Lake House – A Gathering Place for Those Touched by Cancer – $25,000 for the expansion of programs for people who have been touched by cancer
  • Universal Dementia Care – $22,000 for workshops and self-care sessions for caregivers of persons with dementia
  • Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan, Inc. – $10,000 for services for parents of kids with cancer

Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Design and Access

  • Canton Township – $40,000 for the construction design of Lower Rouge Trail
  • City of Chelsea – $10,000 for the design of the Letts Linear Park
  • City of Trenton – $40,000 for the construction of a greenway along West Jefferson
  • DDP Bike Share Corp. – $42,000 for the development of an Accessible Bike Share pilot program
  • Detroit Greenways Coalition – $26,000 for the development of bike lanes on Hamilton in Highland Park
  • Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative – $28,000 for the development of a Downriver trail outreach program
  • Michigan Fitness Foundation – $34,000 for the planning of connections to the Iron Belle Trail
  • Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corp. – $30,000 for the development of traffic calming circles featuring local artists

Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Grosse Pointe Community Assets

  • Grosse Pointe Artists Association – $21,000 for the Art After School program for high school students and for arts programming for persons with dementia and their caregivers
  • Grosse Pointe Woods Shores Little League – $22,500 for softball and baseball programming and field renovations at Ghesquiere Park
  • Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education – $13,475 for mindfulness training for Grosse Pointe middle school students and their teachers and for the evaluation of its impact
  • Services for Older Citizens – $25,000 for the chore service and home safety program for seniors

Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Youth Sports

  • Ann Arbor YMCA – $21,500 for the expansion of a basketball program for middle and high school-aged youth in Ypsilanti
  • Chandler Park Conservancy – $25,000 for summer youth sports programming in Chandler Park
  • Clark Park Coalition – $25,000 to expand tennis programming for youth in southwest Detroit
  • Detroit Horse Power – $15,000 for an after-school expansion of a program that teaches life skills to Detroit youth through riding and caring for horses
  • Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program – $13,000 for the expansion of an after-school athletics and mentoring program for Detroit youth through the implementation of a boulder climbing system and related programming
  • Figure Skating in Detroit – $20,000 for an academic achievement and leadership development figure skating program for girls aged 6 -15
  • Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corp. – $15,000 for expanding a neighborhood-based youth soccer program on Detroit’s east side
  • Midnight Golf Program – $20,000 to expand a mentoring and youth development golf program for high school seniors in metro Detroit
  • Racquet Up Detroit – $7,000 for facility improvements and related activities for a squash program for youth in Detroit
  • U.S. Soccer Foundation – $15,000 for Soccer for Success, an after-school sports-based health and wellness program for middle-school youth in Detroit
  • Vista Maria – $21,200 for the expansion of summer sports programming for youth in Wayne County
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit – $10,000 to pilot a community-based summer youth sports program in Detroit
  • YMCA of Monroe – $25,000 for a regional expansion of tennis programs for K-8 youth

In addition to awarding grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Youth Sports, the Wilson Foundation, along with the Community Foundation and Aspen Institute, will be publishing a comprehensive report detailing the status of youth sports in southeast Michigan. The report will be released to the public towards the end of June.

For updates on the next granting cycle, please visit


 About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed nearly $902 million through more than 60,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties.      

 About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation was established by founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Upon Wilson’s passing in 2014, he requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the foundation which bears his name. The Foundation has a grant making capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Wilson’s wish for immediate impact and innovation, and his desire that the trustees see the impact of the investment in their lifetimes.