Nearly $2 Million in Grants Awarded from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan 

In General

Over 385 Grants Totaling Nearly $9.5 Million Awarded Since Inception of Funds in 2016 

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced nearly $2 million in grants to 80 organizations through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds. Since the inception of the funds in 2016, over 385 grants totaling nearly $9.5 million have been awarded. 

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 Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established endowment funds at the Community Foundation to support issues that were important to the late Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., a Detroit native and the founder and longtime owner of the Buffalo Bills football team. Those areas of support are Caregiving, Design and Access, Youth Sports, and the Grosse Pointe community.   

“The Community Foundation is honored to collaborate with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation on this important work,” said Ric DeVore, president of the Community Foundation. “The Wilson Legacy Funds provide generous support to organizations that significantly impact neighborhoods, cities, and communities throughout southeast Michigan. Interest continues to grow in design and access and youth sports grants, emphasizing the power of public spaces and ensuring our youth are active.”  

These endowment 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.  

The following grants were among those provided from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds managed by the Community Foundation through an open, competitive application process. 

14 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Caregivers ($284,838 Total) 

  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc. – Greater Michigan Chapter for development of a program for caregivers aimed at reducing stigma, decreasing cultural and linguistic barriers to accessing support, and providing culturally appropriate services for Arab American affected families
  • Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute for a program for cancer caregivers throughout the community, including in person and virtually, in collaboration with other community groups
  • Bridging Communities, Inc. for a program to incentivize volunteer caregivers of older adults living independently throughout Southwest Detroit
  • Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor for community-based programs meeting the psychosocial needs of cancer caregivers to help them cope with the burdens of caregiving
  • Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan for a program to provide free adult day services to low-income families who benefit from additional respite without adding additional financial burden
  • Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, Inc. for the continued growth of a community-based caregivers support program on the far west side of Detroit
  • Gilda’s Club-Metro Detroit for support groups for caregivers, educational opportunities, and a caregivers retreat with an expanded geographic reach to include their newest location in Detroit
  • Hannan Center to develop and implement a targeted events series for caregivers of older adults living with Alzheimer’s/dementia, helping to provide additional skills, resources, education, and respite opportunities
  • Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, Inc. for a program to help caregivers to reduce strain, improve well-being, and positively affect the older adults in their care
  • Jewish Vocational Service and Community Workshop for a caregivers program offering them a series of stand-alone, bi-monthly webinars on caregiving challenges and self-care
  • Leeway Foundation, Inc. for creation of digitally prescribed educational videos designed to educate and empower Black caregivers
  • New Day Foundation for Families for a program to provide critical financial and mental health support to caregivers and family members of pediatric and adult cancer patients
  • Regents of the University of Michigan for a program to provide dementia sessions for family caregivers including training opportunities and Memory Cafes with caregiver/care recipient
  • Universal Dementia to expand services to offer scholarships primarily for emergency respite and to expand dementia training and coaching support to caregivers

21 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Design and Access ($912,700 Total) 

  • Bailey Park Project for the Bailey Park project, a community park in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt neighborhood
  • Brilliant Detroit for a Kid Success Pocket Park including a stage, treehouse, and mobility path at the Brilliant Detroit Central Hub
  • Charter Township of Commerce for construction of an 8ft wide non- motorized pathway along the north side of 14 Mile Rd connecting Long Park to MDOT’s Metro Trail along the west side of M-5
  • Charter Township of Springfield for the planning and engineering of a new boardwalk and pathway network in Davisburg, which will create safe pedestrian access between Rotary Park and Mill Pond Park
  • City of Detroit for the creation of interpretive signage for the Joe Louis Greenway celebrating neighborhood heritage, to be replicated in other communities bordering the JLG
  • City of Ferndale for final design planning and construction to make Wilson Park more accessible and environmentally sustainable
  • City of Oak Park for development of the Connector Park, connected to the Linear Park
  • City of Saline for the construction of a shared-use pathway in Mill Pond Park along the river
  • Clinton River Watershed Council for a safety campaign where river communities will design and install safety signs, including access to multiple languages, at 13 launch sites along the Clinton River Water Trail
  • County of Monroe for the manufacture and installation of identification and directional signs for the Monroe County Cornerstone Bicycle Route
  • Erie Township for a streetscape and bicycle/pedestrian improvements along S. Dixie Highway including sidewalk improvements to meet accessibility standards.
  • Friends of Pontiac Parks Association for a plan that will transform a neglected urban park and a dilapidated building into accessible recreational gems
  • Friends of the St. Clair River Watershed support for the purchase of kiosks and signs for fourteen Bridge To Bay Trail communities
  • Greektown Neighborhood Partnership for an improved urban streetscape plan for the main corridor of Greektown as a safe and welcoming neighborhood destination, connecting to the surrounding neighborhoods
  • Grosse Ile Township for a new trail with public access to the Gibraltar Bay Unit – one of Detroit River’s most significant coastal wetlands
  • National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, Inc. for the creation of design development documents for a new multi-purpose trailhead that includes a universally accessible kayak launch on the Lower Rouge River Water Trail in Inkster Park
  • Paint Creek Trailways Commission for engineering design services to develop construction documents for the replacement of Bridge 31.7 on the Paint Creek Trail
  • Project Evergreen Foundation, Inc. for recreational facilities and green space at Gmeiner Park in partnership with the City of Detroit, Premier Group, Rocket Community Fund and Tindal Rec Center
  • St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor for the development of a master plan that re-envisions the 340-acre hospital campus into a public space that preserves nature, enhances wellness, and encourages recreation
  • Township of Macomb for non-motorized accessibility that will connect the civic center and other institutions while protecting the environment
  • University District Community Association, Incorporated for the transformation of an underutilized school courtyard into a communal outdoor space for physical activity, play, relaxation, and social connection

36 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Youth Sports ($634,900 Total) 

  • 360 Detroit, Inc. for sports sampling and sports camp for youth in Virginia Park community in Detroit
  • Advancing Macomb Foundation for equipment-sharing coalition for youth sports in four Macomb County communities
  • Athletic Factory Inc. for expanding basketball and volleyball recreation/developmental program in St. Clair County
  • Chaldean Community Foundation for facilitating a no-cost summer youth basketball program for refugees and immigrants ages 10-16 with bilingual Arabic instruction in Macomb County
  • Chandler Park Conservancy for a six-week summer sports sampling camp in Detroit for youth 6-13
  • City of Oak Park for mobile recreation unit with resources for Oak Park youth ages 6-17
  • City of Westland for free summer youth sports programming in Westland and other surrounding communities including Garden City, Inkster, Wayne, Detroit, and Redford Township
  • Clark Park Coalition for promoting free play, sports sampling and competitive leagues in hockey, baseball/softball and soccer for youth in southwest Detroit
  • County of St. Clair for expansion of youth disc golf free play, lessons and leagues in St. Clair County parks
  • Detroit Horse Power for summer and after-school horseback riding programs that instill social-emotional skills for Detroit youth ages 11-19
  • Detroit Institute for Children for youth sports for underserved children with special needs ages 5 – 13 in Detroit’s Marygrove Conservancy and Fitzgerald Neighborhood
  • Detroit Police Athletic League, Incorporated for girls of color baseball and softball program Detroit United Lacrosse Association support for a recreation-based girls and boys lacrosse program to in Detroit youth
  • Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program for a seasonal sports sampler for Detroit youth aged 8-18
  • East Side Youth Sports Foundation for the continuation of a youth hockey program that will serve children in Detroit and surrounding communities
  • Figure Skating in Harlem, Inc. – Detroit for the promoting year-round figure skating opportunities in Detroit for Black and Brown girls
  • Friends of Rutherford Pool for increased access to water safety, recreation, swim lessons, swim team participation, and lifeguard training for economically disadvantaged youth in the Ypsilanti community
  • Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan for sports access for girls running in Southeast Michigan
  • Kids on the Go for a sports program for youth with a wide range of physical and/or developmental disabilities
  • LAHC-Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities for a hybrid summer fitness program in Dearborn
  • LK St. Clair Soccer, Inc. for female soccer coaching training program to increase capacity after school no/low-cost leagues in Macomb County
  • Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation for a pilot that recruits volunteer coach-mentors through a targeted engagement and training program to increase capacity for youth sports for Detroit youth ages 5-17
  • Matrix Human Services for year-long golf activity for Detroit youth ages 12-17
  • Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association for website updates and coaches training for youth mountain bike league growth
  • Mighty Oak Project, Inc for weekly free-play for K-8 youth in underserved residential area of Washtenaw county
  • Motor City Tennis Club for affordable tennis lessons and equipment for underserved Detroit, Hamtramck, and Westland area youths
  • NW Goldberg Cares for summer program expansion and winter neighborhood ice rink programming in Detroit
  • Oakland University for sports sampling and new sports programs for children with autism
  • PeacePlayers International for youth programming to enhance youth voice in sports, play and recreation activities in Detroit
  • Programs to Educate All Cyclists for summer cycling program for youth with disabilities
  • Sheriff PAL Program for staff training, strategic partnerships, and transportation to increase youth enrollment in youth sports in Pontiac
  • Soar Detroit for affordable winter sports sampling and play in Detroit
  • Touchpointe For Youth for sport sampling, parent education, coaches, advance play in Pontiac, Detroit, and Romulus
  • Wayne-Westland Community Schools for high school student coaches and referee training to expand K-5 athletic program offerings in Wayne-Westland community schools
  • Wendy Hilliard Foundation for gymnastic sports sampling and recreation for youth ages 3-17
  • YMCA of Monroe for building a training model for Monroe County coaches including youth mental health, child abuse recognition and prevention, life-saving skills and fundamental instruction

9 grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Grosse Pointe Community Assets ($135,000 Total) 

  • The Family Center of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods to address the teen mental health crisis
  • Full Circle Foundation for TEAM 26, a program that teaches job skills and independent living skills to individuals with special needs who have exited formal education
  • Grosse Pointe Artists Association support to update the classroom and gallery
  • Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education for recess play equipment for elementary and middle school classrooms to support students’ social-emotional health
  • Grosse Pointe North Band and Orchestra Booster Club for relaunched marching band by helping fund purchase of initial set of official uniforms
  • Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra Society to diversify concert programs by purchasing more compositions by underrepresented composers for performance
  • Grosse Pointe Theatre, Inc. to develop and implement theater productions that welcome individuals with sensory needs, including people on the autism spectrum
  • Services for Older Citizens, Inc. (DBA: The Helm) for a new sound and video system for the organization’s large meeting spaces
  • Warren/Connor Development Coalition (DBA: Eastside Community Network) to create a Corridor Improvement Authority to formalize the historic partnership built between Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe, and Grosse Pointe Farms for sustainable economic development on Mack Avenue

Learn more about the The Legacy Funds