Project Play:
Southeast Michigan


Project Play has it's own special website with more information
Visit the Project Play website

The purpose of the initiative is to seek both community-wide and specific-stakeholder input to collaboratively build local solutions that address a goal of “building communities in which all children have the opportunity to be active in sports.”


Project Play: Southeast Michigan was launched in late 2017. It is a partnership of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program.

This three-year effort will build upon the recommendations from the State of Play Report, a scan of youth sports in our region conducted to better understand the state of youth sports in our community—with a focus on programs, facilities, quality and access. It represents thousands of diverse voices across the region.

When asked the question, what grade would you give Michigan in getting kids active though sports, surveyed stakeholders gave the region an average grade of C+. We can do better!

Activities included in the new effort will explore lessons learned from the report and find solutions. This includes building on existing community assets and focusing on “doable” projects that have great potential, rather than increasing complexity and diluting efforts.

Specific activities will include:

  • Educating key stakeholders across the region on how to activate strategies in the State of Play report.
  • Developing, implementing and leading a process to drive cross-sector action, via application of Collective Impact methodology with the Partners and the Task Force.
  • Identifying and developing specific local opportunities for innovative partnerships to address gaps and opportunities identified in the State of Play Report.
  • Working with our Partners to identify and bring best practice programs to the community.
  • Recommending funding opportunities to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation that will create leverage and advance the overall goal.
  • Facilitating opportunities to engage other potential funders.

State Of Play

An independent assessment conducted by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program that examines access, quality, and participation in youth sports in Southeast Michigan.

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Built To Play

An initiative designed to give children and youth across Western New York and Southeast Michigan more opportunities for free play through the creation of new, interactive public play spaces.

Learn More


We are currently accepting grant applications for the Ralph C. Wilson Legacy Fund. Grants will support youth sports organizations in Southeast Michigan. The deadline to apply is December 12, 2022, at 5 p.m.

Learn more and apply.

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