David Egner

March 15, 2023

David Egner is the President and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, a Detroit-based organization built upon the ideals of innovation, teamwork, and outcomes. The visionary responsible for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills franchise, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., set up the Foundation with a limited lifespan that must spend down by January 2035. The Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life in the seven-county region of Mr. Wilson’s hometown of Southeast Michigan and the nine-county region of Western New York, the home of his beloved Buffalo Bills. Priority areas for the Foundation include Active Lifestyles; Preparing for Success in Early Childhood, Afterschool, and Young Adults and Working Families; Entrepreneurship and Economic Development; Caregivers; and Nonprofit Support & Innovation

Egner has long been a well-known figure and leader in Michigan philanthropy – from his early years as an executive assistant to the chair at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, to guiding the Michigan Nonprofit Association, a Lansing-based coalition, through its founding and early development. Prior to leading the Wilson Foundation, Egner was President and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation for 19 years, often considered one of the organizations behind driving transformation of Midtown and Downtown Detroit. From 2009-2015, Egner also served as Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI), the largest philanthropic led economic development initiative in the country. NEI is recognized for its inclusive approach to economic development, generating nearly $3 billion in economic impact during Egner’s tenure, while seeing minority business starts assisted by the program exceed more than 2.5X the national average.

Egner’s approach to grantmaking is based on the ideal that the empowerment of community leaders and the creation of shared visions are key to successful philanthropy. He also believes that the most impactful community strategies center on collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors and take into account the effect of market forces. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is set to allocate more than $2 billion dollars in grants by 2035, which is considerably more than its initial corpus of $1.2 billion. Egner has an MBA from Western Michigan University, and a bachelor’s degree from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He and his wife Tammy live in Metro Detroit. They love to spend quality time with their four adult children and their families, including their five grandchildren.