Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds were created to provide permanent, endowed support for programs and initiatives that reflect the personal passions of Mr. Wilson. Those areas of support are: Caregiving, Design & Access, Youth Sports, and Grosse Pointe Community Assets.
The grants made from these Community Foundation-based Funds are distinct from the grants made by the separate Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. In most cases, the grants made from the Legacy Funds serve to support very localized projects across the seven-county region for which a small grant can make all the difference. In some cases, it may also provide an opportunity to test out ideas and programs on a smaller, pilot level.
“It fills our hearts to be able to continue Ralph's spirit of generosity that meant so much to him throughout his lifetime,” said Mary M. Wilson, wife of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. “This legacy grant program is just the beginning of what we hope will be a lasting, positive impact in his name on southeastern Michigan.”
On November 18, 2015, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a series of grants to fund projects and initiatives that reflect the personal passions of the late Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., a Detroit native and the founder and longtime owner of the Buffalo Bills professional football team.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of southeastern 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. Among the grants announced were funds to create the permanent Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation, to align with some of the key priority areas of the Foundation in perpetuity.
The Community Foundation is honored that The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation trustees, as part of their investments, have chosen to work with the Community Foundation in this way, to permanently support organizations and causes that Mr. Wilson cared about so deeply. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Funds support grants in four separate key areas that honor the lifetime interests of Mr. Wilson:
For the three funds that serve southeast Michigan, counties of interest include: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston Counties.
The four permanently endowed Legacy Funds were established at the Community Foundation by The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to honor Ralph’s memory in perpetuity.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Trustees are a dedicated group of community leaders and advocates who serve as advisors for the grant applications that are submitted:
Jeffrey C. Littmann – Chairman
W. Frank Fountain Jr.
Mary M. Owen
Mary M. Wilson
Large sports facilities are not of interest to this fund. Playgrounds are only of interest if they utilize universal access design and are connected to larger recreation corridors within and between communities.
Who May Apply
Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, school or government in southeast Michigan may apply for a grant from the Caregiving Fund, the Design & Access Fund, or the Youth Sports Fund. Southeast Michigan is defined as the 7 counties of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston.
Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, school or government located in the 5 Grosse Pointe communities of Michigan, defined as the City of Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Shores and Grosse Pointe Woods, may apply for a grant from the Grosse Pointe Community Assets Fund. In rare circumstances, organizations not located within the Grosse Pointes but serving their residents may also be considered.
No grants will be made to individuals.
How to Apply
The application process for these funds is expected to go live in November. Please come back to this page for detailed steps on how to apply at that time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
Senior Program Officer
313.961.6675, ext. 123
Contact Surabhi if you have questions about applying to the Youth Sports Fund.
313.961.6675, ext. 135
Contact Tom if you have questions about applying to the Design & Access Fund.
Vice President Program
313.961.6675, ext. 122
Contact Katie if you have questions about applying to the Wilson Caregiving or Wilson Grosse Pointe Fund.