As of Monday October 3 2016, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation will begin taking applications to hand out the $1.2 billion left by the late Ralph...
As of Monday October 3 2016, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation will begin taking applications to hand out the $1.2 billion left by the late Ralph Wilson, a lifelong metro Detroit resident who, for decades, owned the Buffalo Bills professional football team.
And in a wrinkle unusual for foundations, the mandate Wilson left for his foundation before he died in 2014 was for his friends to give away every penny in 20 years or less. The foundation staff will carry out that mandate from a new office in Detroit's New Center district it plans to move into next year.
Wilson directed his money go to the two cities where he devoted his energies — Detroit and Buffalo — and in four areas of his particular interest: children and youth; young adults and working-class families; caregivers who help others in need, and what he called "healthy communities," as defined by economic development and nonprofit productivity and innovation.
The idea to spend down all the money within 20 years, and put the foundation out of business, came from Wilson's desire to see his close friends make the key decisions based on what they knew of his wishes, rather than let the foundation continue indefinitely.
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