When the Buffalo Bills were sold following the death of team founder Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., his family established a foundation in his honor with a large portion of the proceeds. It’s taken a few years for the fruits of that foundation’s labor to come to light, but at the 2020 ESPY Awards, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation was awarded as the “Sports Philanthropist of the Year”.
Here’s a great video package from ESPN (narrated by Bills’ legend Thurman Thomas) with all the details of the generosity.
The 2020 Sports Humanitarian Awards continued tonight on @SportsCenter— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) June 18, 2020
The @RCWJRF has given more than $60M in grants since its inception in 2015, and helped launch the "Don't Retire Kid" campaign in partnership with @espn & the @AspenInstitute last year pic.twitter.com/14SH4BJR5d
Since the founding in 2015, more than $260 million has gone to Western New York and the Detroit-area charities endorsed by Wilson’s foundation. They fund the building of parks and trails, youth sports, and playground spaces.
“We are honored to receive the ESPN Sports Philanthropist of the Year Award,” wrote the foundation in a statement. “We share this recognition with our amazing #ProjectPlay partners and grantees that are working to provide equitable access and a better youth sports experience for all children.”