Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Awards $250,000 in grants from Three New Funds Honoring Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

In Press Release

DETROIT – Fourteen southeast Michigan organizations received nearly $250,000 in grants from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan from three new permanent funds that honor the legacy of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

The funds were established at the Community Foundation with a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to support projects and initiatives that reflect the charitable interests of Wilson, a Detroit native and former owner of the Buffalo Bills professional football team. Similar funds were set up with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, who will be announcing a suite of grants later this summer.

“The Community Foundation is honored to be selected by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to carry out Ralph’s charitable legacy by awarding grants to causes that he cared about during his lifetime,” said Mariam C. Noland, Community Foundation President. “Grants from these endowed funds will benefit forever the places he loved and called home.”

The following grants were awarded from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Endowments at the Community Foundation:

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Endowment for Cancer Care

  • Gilda’s Club-Metro Detroit – $16,560 for programs for newly diagnosed cancer patients
  • Henry Ford Health System – $12,500 to support a cancer care program for low-income and underserved patients and their families during treatment
  • Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center – $20,000 for art therapy programs for those diagnosed with cancer
  • The Lake House-A Gathering Place – $15,000 for programs for people touched by cancer

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Endowment for Grosse Pointe Community Assets

  • Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education – $10,000 for the purchase of musical instruments for the band, symphony and concert orchestras in the Grosse Pointe public secondary schools
  • Grosse Pointe Historical Society – $25,000 to implement Online Collections Access for internet users
  • Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra – $10,000 to increase participation with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and other professional musicians and students in community orchestra
  • Grosse Pointe War Memorial – $20,000 for a part-time coordinator to manage programs that honor and serve veterans
  • University Liggett School – $10,000 to support educational programs for the public

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Endowment for Youth Sports

  • Detroit PAL – $20,000 for a football safety program designed to reduce concussions in youth athletes
  • Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program – $20,000 for the expansion of a summer athletics and mentoring program for Detroit youth
  • Grosse Ile Rowing Club – $20,000 for the replacement of a boat used in a co-ed youth rowing program
  • Playworks Education Energizes – $20,000 for a program that promotes physical activity, meaningful play and social skills development for kindergarten to eighth-grade students in Detroit schools
  • Racquet Up Detroit – $20,000 for the expansion of a squash program focused on physical education, academic enrichment and community service for Detroit youth

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York, reflecting Mr. Wilson’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and the people of greater Buffalo, home of his Bills franchise. It is funded by the $1.2 billion irrevocable trust created by Mr. Wilson, who passed away on March 25, 2014. Per his directive, the $1.2 billion corpus will be spent over the course of 20 years in the hopes that its impact will be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

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 $820 million through more than 55,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.  For more information, please visit