The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds
Partnering for Greater Impact
In 2015, 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
Applications are submitted electronically online through the Foundant Grant Lifecycle Manager. No paper, emailed, or pdf applications are accepted.APPLY NOW
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.
- Application available online: November 7, 2022
- Application due: December 2, 2022 at 4 p.m. No exceptions.
- Decisions announced: Early May
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:
Caregivers – Support caregivers – whether paid, voluntary, or family – of persons who are unable to fully care for themselves and with a preference for those who are part of an underserved community. Preference will be given to organizations or projects that provide support to caregivers of older adults. Requests must address the following objective:
- Increase opportunities for caregivers to take advantage of resources.
- Examples of such resources include, but are not limited to, the following: transportation assistance, support for volunteers, and training opportunities.
CommunityAssets–Support significant cultural and historic assets and/or increase access to long-term arts instruction for youth. Requests must address one of the following objectives:
- Increase access to long term arts instruction for children and youth living in under-resourced communities
- Restore and leverage significant historic buildings and architectural landmarks, with a preference for sites that promote cultural tourism
Design and Access
Design and Access – Support enhancement of community access to spaces and programs that support healthy living. Requests must address the following objectives:
- Support for pre-planning, development and/or construction. This may include projects related to increasing the walkability and bikeability of local communities, and improving waterways, greenways and recreation corridors.
It is a preference but not a requirement that these projects:
- Incorporate green design to be environmentally sustainable
- Incorporate universal access design to serve people of all abilities
Please note: Large sports facilities are not of interest.
Youth Sports – Support organizations or projects that provide opportunities for all children to be active through sport. Requests to build collaborations among organizations are encouraged. Requests for projects should include the following objectives from the State of Play WNY Report:
1. Ask kids what they want.
2. Reintroduce free play.
3. Encourage sport sampling.
4. Revitalize in-town leagues.
5. Think small.
6. Design for development.
7. Train all coaches.
8. Emphasize prevention.
- 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.
- Requests may be for capital, programming or operating. For Design and Access, this also may include planning.
- For Caregivers, Design and Access, and Youth Sports, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that meet the guidelines described above and reside in Western New York may apply for a grant. Western New York is defined as Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
- For Caregivers, Design and Access,and Youth Sports, government agencies also may apply. The intent is not to replace public funding but to augment and leverage it.
- For Community Assets, only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that reside in Erie County may apply.
- For Youth Sports, the Fund will not consider requests for traditional sporting goods equipment available through Good Sports (https://www.goodsports.org/goodsportswny/). Please consult with Good Sports prior to submitting your grant request.
- 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.
For additional information on eligibility for each of the funds, please check the 2023 Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds Goals and Objectives for this grant process.
Virtual Information Session
If you have questions about applying to Caregivers, please contact Jonathan Hoose at JonathanH@cfgb.org.
If you have questions about applying to Community Assets, please contact Ba Zan Lin at LinB@cfgb.org.
If you have questions about Design and Access, please contact Ba Zan Lin at LinB@cfgb.org.
If you have questions about applying to Youth Sports, please contact Daycia Clarke at DayciaC@cfgb.org.
For general information, please contact Ba Zan Lin at LinB@cfgb.org.
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 2021 Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds Goals and Objectives and reside in Western New York may apply for a grant.
For Caregivers, Design and Access, and Youth Sports, 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
Please click here for the 2022 Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund Grant Award Recipients.