Downtown Boxing Gym

The people—and purpose—
Behind The Work

As we hit the ground running to make a difference, we’re simultaneously learning as much as possible about our communities’ needs. It’s an approach that lets us be responsibly aggressive–acting with the urgency required by our spend-down while also taking the time to understand the complexity of the issues at hand.

With these considerations in mind, in 2015 the Foundation committed $60 million in Transitional Legacy grants, reflecting the personal passion of our namesake and providing grants to many of the organizations Mr. Wilson had a connection to in the past.

We recently expanded and added new Field of Interest endowment funds in the areas of Caregiving, Youth Sports, Community Assets, and Design & Access at regional community foundations. Visit these foundations directly to learn more about funding opportunities:

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
Rochester Area Community Foundation

In most case, grants made from these Field of Interest funds will support very localized projects in their respective regions 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.

We have also identified and funded a small amount of “shovel ready” projects in the core funding areas that provide immediate opportunities and align with our mission. To date, these grant recipients include:

Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $150,000

To support the increased enrollment and job placement of adult participants in its medical coding and pharmacy technician training programs.

Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $1.5 million

To support the transformation of the A. Philip Randolph Technical Education Center into a state-of-the-art construction and skilled trades training facility for youth and adults in metro Detroit.


Ann Arbor SPARK

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $100,000

To support plans for the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run.

Hearts and Hands

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $31,000

To provide general programmatic support during a capacity building process and review.


Teach For America

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $225,000

To support the expansion and development of its early childhood recruitment, development and training programs in both Detroit and Buffalo.

Research Foundation at SUNY (UB)

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $135,000

To connect occupational therapist graduate students with caregivers to provide them with practical, customized solutions for their unique caregiving challenges.


Hunter’s Hope

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $25,000

To support the 2017 Family and Medical Symposium.

Bing Youth Institute

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $200,000

To support the Bing Youth Institute’s BINGO (Boys Inspired through Nurturing, Growth and Opportunities) Mentoring Program in Detroit to bring together men of color serving as mentors to young high school men of color.


Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development (ACCORD)

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $100,000

To support ACCORD’s essential programming, while developing alternative sources of long-term funding for programs.

Detroit Food and Entrepreneurship Academy

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $126,000

To expand the reach and depth of the Academy’s afterschool and summer programs and long-term strategic planning for Small Batch, its revenue generating business.


Soccer for Success
(Independent Health Foundation)

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $650,000

To support the expansion of Soccer for Success in Western New York region by adding five additional sites, increasing the number of students served each year to 3,000 by the 2019-2020 academic year.

New Economy Initiative
(Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan)

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $5 million

To create jobs and build a more entrepreneurial culture by supporting the New Economy Initiative, an effort to build a network of business support organizations, accelerate the commercialization of intellectual property and create greater inclusion in business ownership.


charitySTRONG

Program Area: Livable Communities: Non-profit Capacity

Amount: $225,000

To establish, expand and operate innovative board matching and education programs throughout Western New York, including both Greater Buffalo and Rochester.

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Initiative
(Detroit Employment Solutions)

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $2 million

To provide work experience, skills training and exposure to career pathways for Detroit youth through the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GYDT) Initiative.


Launch NY

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $2.5 million

To create jobs and build a more entrepreneurial culture by supporting Launch NY’s efforts to accelerate the commercialization of intellectual property, and execute planning towards building a broader network of coordinated business support in the region.

Playworks Education Energized

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $1.14 million

To grow and expand programs in Western New York and Southeast Michigan in order to increase the social competencies in elementary students that are critical to educational and life outcomes.


TechHire
(Detroit Employment Solutions)

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $2 million

To support the Detroit Regional TechHire Initiative, and provide the region’s growing IT industry a local, diverse source of talent, while at the same time developing career pathways and employment opportunities of Metro Detroiters of all skill levels.

Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Program Area: Livable Communities: Access & Design

Amount: $500,000

To fund the implementation of several green infrastructure elements as part of the 6568 Woodward Avenue building redevelopment to serve as a case study and education tool for those doing similar development projects in the city and region. With the Foundation taking the second floor of the building as its headquarters, this will provide staff with a direct learning experience.


Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (Albright-Knox)

Program Area: Special Opportunities

Amount: $6 million

While the arts are not our Foundation’s core funding areas, we could not pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate and leverage a historic gift to the Albright-Knox to advance this valuable community asset, and improve access for all residents.

Head Start Innovation Fund
(Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan)

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $2 million

As a new member of the Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, a group of regional and national foundations working to strengthen early childhood development and education, we provided a grant to the Head Start Innovation Fund to expand its good work to the larger region, including Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.


Help Me Grow Western New York
(Niagara University)

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $1.8 million

To support and expand the Help Me Grow Western New York initiative in achieving its goal of helping young children stay on track in meeting developmental milestones and receiving appropriate assistance when they’re not meeting milestones.

Say Yes to Education

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $800,000

To support Say Yes Buffalo and advance the city as a Place of Opportunity for Boys and Young Men of Color.


GreenLight Fund

Program Area: Livable Communities: Non-Profit Productivity

Amount: $250,000

To support the inaugural GreenLight Detroit Fund, which will identify non-profit service gaps, and fund and import innovative solutions to fill those gaps to improve community outcomes for low-income and working class families and children in the region.

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Program Area: Livable Communities: Access & Design

Amount: $345,000

To support a professionally led, community-driven design competition that will help transform West Riverfront Park into an internationally recognized public gathering place.


German Marshall Fund “BUILD” Conference

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $30,000

To support its BUILD conference, a unique transatlantic urban and regional policy and leadership conference, that will take place in the U.S. for the first time this November in Detroit.

National Comedy Center

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $3 million

To increase tourism and economic development in Western New York by supporting the development of the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY.


Inner Circle Greenway
(City of Detroit)

Program Area: Livable Communities: Access & Design

Amount: $2 million

To support the design and pre-construction of all uncompleted portions of the Inner Circle Greenway and overall framework planning to connect the 26-mile loop in the most impactful way.

Operating Engineers 324

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $450,000

To support purchasing and deploying six equipment simulators for both classroom and career event environments that will assist in the engagement, recruitment and education of both apprentices and current journeypersons in skilled trades career opportunities.


Fair Food Network

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $1.5 million

To expand Double Up Food Bucks produce incentive program through innovative technology and communications in Southeast Michigan and Western New York.

Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $240,000

To support informal and professional caregivers of older individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities by funding the development of a “train the trainer” model and dispersing it to St. Clair, Livingston, Washtenaw and Monroe counties and other communities.


Livingston County Catholic Charities

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $90,000

To support the operations of senior service programs (Be Our Guest Adult Day, Volunteer Caregiver and Resource Advocacy) that provide resources and respite to caregivers.

Hearts and Hands

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $31,000

To provide general programmatic support during a capacity building process and review.


Detroit PAL

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $575,000

To provide support for staff and operational capacity to successfully transition the organization into a new and expanded facility, while continuing to provide quality service programs.

Rochester Presbyterian Home

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $151,000

To support the implementation of a new professional development curriculum designed to empower staff and improve the quality of life for residents.


SisterFriends
(Southeastern Michigan Health Association)

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $2 million

To support the establishment and operations of SisterFriends, a project of the Detroit Health Department designed to reduce the infant death rate and increase healthy practices by providing volunteer mentors called SisterFriends to women during pregnancy and for one year after birth.

WNY Mentoring Collective
(Community Connections of NY, Inc.)

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $2,150,000

To support the WNY Mentoring Collective, a cohort of nine mentoring programs using a collaborative approach to expand and strengthen the field of mentorship programs across the region, ultimately connecting more children with mentors.


Macomb Community College Foundation

Program Area: Young Adults & Working Class Families

Amount: $1.1 million

To support a workforce development training program – PRISM (Prosperity Reaches into Southern Macomb) project – that will support training for adults in advanced manufacturing, outreach to introduce and engage high school students in information technology fields, and a pilot on enhancing employer engagement in sustaining workforce training programs.

Council of Great Lakes Governors

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $50,000

To provide sponsorship support for the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ and Premiers’ 2017 Leadership Summit.


Women’s Sports Foundation

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $1 million

To bring the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sports 4 Life program to Western New York and Southeast Michigan to strengthen and grow eight local youth sports organizations in order to attract and retain more girl participants.

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $675,000

To support the implementation of PEDALS (Positive Emotional Development and Learning Skills) early childhood program in Southeast Michigan.


Independent Sector

Program Area: Livable Communities: Nonprofit Support

Amount: $100,000

To support sponsorship of the Independent Sector 2017 national conference in Detroit.

Aspen Institute

Program Area: Children & Youth

Amount: $1,050,000

To support the continued investment in the expansion of quality youth sports opportunities in Western New York, Greater Rochester and Southeast Michigan.


Altarum Institute

Program Area: Caregivers

Amount: $175,000

To support the evaluation of caregiver grants to help shape the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies.

Council of Michigan Foundations

Program Area: Livable Communities: Nonprofit Support

Amount: $60,000

To support and expand Learning to Give, a K-12 program that teaches philanthropy as part of daily curriculum in Wayne County.


Detroit Economic Growth Association

Program Area: Livable Communities: Access and Design

Amount: $175,000

To support the development of a Sustainability Action Agenda for the City of Detroit’s new Office of Sustainability.

Invest Detroit

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $250,000

To support the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition to create jobs and support high-growth company development in Southeast Michigan.


43North

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $250,000

To support the prototyping and refinement of a strategic partnership project in connection with the Western New York-based startup competition.

NY Funders Alliance

Program Area: Livable Communities: Economic Development

Amount: $50,000

To support the biennial NYS Funders Conference in Buffalo this November.


Apply For A Grant

Organizations in Western New York and Southeast Michigan within our four core funding areas are now welcome to apply through our online process.

Apply now