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: Caregivers, 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.
In 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:
- Caregivers Fund: support for projects within southeast Michigan that assist caregivers of persons who are unable to fully care for themselves and are part of an underserved community
- Design & Access Fund: support for projects in southeast Michigan that serve to increase the walkability and bikeability of local communities and/or increasing outdoor recreational activities within the region
- Youth Sports Fund: support for projects in southeast Michigan that bring high-quality sports programs to youth.
- Grosse Pointe Community Assets Fund: support for projects of anchor nonprofit organizations that provide services and experiences to residents of the 5 Grosse Pointe communities, home to Mr. Wilson during his lifetime.
For the three funds that serve southeast Michigan, counties of interest include: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston Counties.