The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds

Partnering for Greater Impact

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established endowment funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to provide annual support for programs and initiatives that reflect the personal passions of Mr. Wilson. These areas of support are: Caregivers, Community Assets, Design and Access and Youth Sports.

The grants made from these Legacy Funds held at the Community Foundation are distinct from the grants made by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation directly. In most cases, the grants made from these Funds at the Community Foundation serve to support localized projects across the WNY region, for which a smaller 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.

About the Foundation

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. believed effective change should make an impact from the start, yet carry long into the future. To do both, he earmarked a portion of his estate and the eventual sale of his beloved Buffalo Bills to fund his namesake foundation. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation began operations in 2015 to continue his legacy – one of generosity and innovation, healthy risk taking and collaboration and an unshakeable community focus.

And today, his hand-picked Life Trustees have determined to focus the efforts of the foundation on Mr. Wilson’s home and adopted home regions of Southeast Michigan and Western New York.

How to Apply

Timing for the 2020 grant process for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds will be announced soon. Please see the timeline below for details. 

Grant Opportunity

Grant requests should range between $10,000 and $25,000 for Caregivers, Community Assets and Youth Sports. Design and Access requests should range between $10,000 and $50,000. Funds will be released after grant requirements and obligations have been signed and returned.


  • Early November 2019 – Application process opens online
  • Early January 2020 – Deadline for full application submission 4 p.m.
  • June 2020 – Grant recipient notification
  • One year after project completion – Grant reports due

2019 Youth Sports and Design & Access Information Sessions

To be determined at a later date. Please check back.


The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is honored that the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation trustees, as part of their investments, have chosen to work with us, to permanently support organizations and causes that Mr. Wilson cared about so deeply. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds support grants in four key areas that honor the lifetime interests of Mr. Wilson:


Improve support for caregivers – whether paid or voluntary – through efforts that provide needed skills, resources, education and respite. Caregivers are those who look after dependent individuals such as children with special needs, disabled adults and even older adults. Projects supported through this fund should have a direct impact on caregivers.

Community Assets

Support significant cultural and historic assets and/or increase access to long-term arts instruction for youth.

Design and Access

Increase the health and quality of life of WNY residents of all ages by enhancing outdoor activities within the region.

Youth Sports

Provide opportunities for all children to be active through sport.

For additional information on eligibility for each of the funds, please read the 2019 Ralph C Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds Objectives for this grant process.


If you have questions about applying to Caregivers, please contact Ba Zan Lin at

If you have questions about applying to Community Assets, please contact Jean McKeown at

If you have questions about Design and Access, please contact Cara Matteliano at

If you have questions about applying to Youth Sports, please contact Bridget Niland at

For general information, please contact Laura Schwamborn at

Additional Information


Please click here to view answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Who May Apply

For Caregivers, Design and Access and Youth Sports, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that meet the 2019 Ralph C Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds Objectives and reside in Western New York may apply for a grant.

For Caregivers and Design and Access, government agencies also may apply.

For Community Assets, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that reside in Erie County may apply.

  • There is a limit to one application per organization per funding category
  • Multi-year requests will not be accepted
  • Requests for endowments, religious purposes, attendance at or sponsorship of events and for schools not registered with the NYS Education Department will not be accepted

Past Cycle's Grant Recipients