Paul Riser

March 7, 2024

A Detroit native, Paul Riser serves as a Senior Program Officer with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (EED) focus area. His duties include managing, identifying, and building relationships with grantees, partners, and stakeholders that allow the Foundation to deploy resources that align with its investment strategies. This involves grant development and administration, strategy creation and alignment, and evaluation and reporting. Additionally, Paul helps to ensure that focus areas that complement EED continue to progress and succeed. Paul’s responsibilities are carried out at the tactical and strategic levels with individual stakeholders and organizations, as well as within coordinated, higher-level, region-wide, multi-stakeholder efforts.

The Entrepreneurship and Economic Development focus area was a natural fit for Paul as it leverages his passion, background, and experience in social entrepreneurship, non-profit work, tech-based and small business support services, and entrepreneurial endeavors. He relishes the opportunity to help influence generational systems change and positively impact people through a lens of equity and inclusion. With the experience of being an entrepreneur himself, Paul brings a deep understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystem building and a desire to listen, learn, and drive measurable change in Western New York and Southeast Michigan. He is greatly inspired by the commitment, energy, optimism, talent, and fortitude of the people in each region. The guiding principles of his work are empathy, equity, inclusivity, continuous learning, innovation, collaboration, humility, servant leadership, and diversity.

Paul graduated from Florida A&M University with a BS in computer science and a minor in mathematics; he later earned an MBA in technology management from the University of Phoenix. In his free time, Paul loves spending time with his family, traveling, cooking, and working on a project that holds a special place in his heart: a partially animated docuseries focused on his father’s life and the impact of his work in the music industry.