$800,000 in Grants Awarded from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

In Press Release

Over 420 Grants Totaling $10.2 Million Awarded Since Funds Established in 2016  

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation today announced $800,000 in grants to 36 organizations through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds, which focus on regional caregiving, design and access, and youth sports, as well as the Grosse Pointe community. Since the funds were established in 2016, more than 420 grants totaling $10.2 million have been awarded.  

 The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established the endowment funds at the Community Foundation to support issues that were important to the late Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., a Detroit native, former Grosse Pointe resident, and the founder and longtime owner of the Buffalo Bills football team. 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 Wilson Legacy Funds support a diverse set of nonprofits making a huge, positive difference throughout our seven-county service area,” Community Foundation President Richard (Ric) DeVore says. “This year’s grantmaking reaches into the heart of rural, suburban and urban communities investing in organizations that are committed to making southeast Michigan a desirable place to live, work and play.”  

 The endowed Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy 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 by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds managed by the Community Foundation through an open, competitive application process. 

10 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Caregivers ($163,000 Total)  

  • Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute — $20,000 for a program for cancer caregivers in metro Detroit in collaboration with arts and culture organizations
  • Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor — $14,000 for psychosocial needs of Washtenaw County cancer caregivers to cope with the burdens of cancer
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Resource Committee, Inc. — $25,000 for a St. Clair County respite and relief program for primary caregivers of individuals dementia located in rural areas
  • Gilda’s Club-Metro Detroit — $12,000 for psychosocial programs to address the needs of caregivers using educational opportunities and activities focused on underserved communities in Detroit
  • Hannan Center — $13,500 for expansion and evaluation of the DayBreak+ program providing targeted respite opportunities for informal caregivers of older adults in the Detroit area
  • Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit — $12,500 for the expansion of a program to provide essential supplies, equipment and professional respite opportunities in Oak Park and Southfield
  • Life Skills Centers, Inc. — $10,000 for a program designed to benefit caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory impairments in St. Clair County
  • SAGE Metro Detroit — $20,000 for MiGen’s caregiving support group, a peer support initiative for caregiving partners, friends and family members of aging LGBTQ+ community members
  • The Art Experience, Inc. — $14,000 for a pilot program focusing on art therapy for caregivers in Oakland County
  • YMCA of Monroe — $22,000 for a program for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, cancer and/or other diagnoses to promote physical, emotional and mental well-being, and respite care

6 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Design and Access ($270,000 Total)

  • Charter Township of Clinton — $45,000 for a universally accessible kayak launch and a parking lot with green stormwater infrastructure at Woodrow Woody Park along the Clinton River Water Trail
  • Charter Township of Oxford — $25,000 for the design of a shared-use path near Seymour Lake Park for users of all ages and abilities (the Community Foundation will supplement this grant with an additional $25,000 from the Suzanne L. and Raymond Baber Fund, established by donors who lived in the community, for $50,000 total award)
  • City of Monroe — $50,000 for the installation of an adaptive kayak launch at Hellenberg Park on the River Raisin at the gateway to Lake Erie
  • Oakland Charter Township — $50,000 for access improvements at Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park, including multi-use trails connecting to a nearby metropark and other amenities
  • Polly Ann Trailway Management Council, Inc. — $50,000 for the design work to modernize 16.9 miles of the Polly Ann Trail in Oakland County and upgrade the trail surface
  • Township of Shelby — $50,000 for a universally accessible kayak launch and fishing dock at River Bends Park

14 Grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Youth Sports ($285,000 Total)

  • Athletic Factory Inc. — $15,000 for revitalizing a recreational basketball and volleyball in-town league within the Port Huron Community
  • Detroit Roller Derby — $17,500 for expanding the accessibility of roller derby by establishing a roller skate library and eliminating financial barriers to participation
  • Detroit United Lacrosse Association — $20,000 for a recreation-based lacrosse programming delivering character education, mentorship and personal development to youth in Detroit
  • Free Bikes 4 Kidz – Detroit — $15,000 for collecting, refurbishing and donating used bicycles to youth in Detroit and surrounding communities
  • Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey Inc. — $20,000 for establishing an in-town summer field hockey league in Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties
  • Hamtramck Public Schools — $20,000 for introducing Hamtramck Public School students to outdoor recreation and snow sports
  • Huron-Clinton Metroparks Foundation — $25,000 for removing barriers to water safety and swim education by offering free water safety and beginner swim lessons to youth in Livingston, Oakland and Washtenaw counties
  • Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation — $20,000 for implementing a community-based girls in sports program in Detroit
  • Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association — $20,000 for sustaining the growth and safety of a youth mountain biking league serving Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Wayne and Washtenaw counties
  • Monroe County Opportunity Program — $21,000 for offering positive youth development recreation activities for Monroe youth
  • Programs to Educate All Cyclists — $22,500 for a summer cycling program for youth with disabilities in Washtenaw and Wayne counties
  • Team GUTS, Inc. — $22,000 for a summer day camp for youth in Oakland and Macomb counties with special needs
  • Wendy Hilliard Foundation — $22,000 for gymnastic sports sampling and recreation for Detroit youth ages 3-17
  • YMCA of Monroe — $25,000 for creating inclusive and accessible sports opportunities for Monroe County youth with diverse abilities

6 grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Grosse Pointe Community Assets ($82,000 Total)

  • Full Circle Foundation — $10,000 for the purchase of a handicapped accessible van so more individuals can participate in the TEAM 26 program
  • Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education — $20,000 to replace aging playground equipment at Mason Elementary, a Title 1 school in the Grosse Pointe Public Schools district
  • Grosse Pointe Woods Foundation — $10,000 for a play structure appropriate for children ages 2-5 years at the new Tot Lot in Grosse Pointe Woods
  • Services for Older Citizens (dba The Helm) — $12,000 for space enhancements, including outdoor benches, a chess table and evacuation chairs
  • The Family Center of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods — $20,000 for mental health programs and resources for school families in Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods
  • University Liggett School — $10,000 for a collaborative of Grosse Pointe institutions to increase and enhance educational programming in the community

Learn more about the The Legacy Funds