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Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation outlines plans to spend $1.2 billion

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. foundation has big plans for communities in Western New York and Southeastern Michigan - and even bigger money to spend to make it happen.

Matt Warren

When the Buffalo Bills were sold following team founder Ralph C. Wilson Jr.'s death, it was announced that a large portion of the profit from that sale would go to the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. Details are starting to emerge, via The Buffalo News.

With $1.2 billion from the sale of the franchise, the foundation announced Wednesday that they plan on spending all of that over the next 20 years. The majority of the money will be spent in the Detroit and Buffalo areas, Wilson's hometown and adopted hometown, respectively.

"The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation will operate as a grant-making organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Western New York and Southeastern Michigan," read's the foundation's mission statement.

In December, the foundation noted that the vast majority would be spent in these geographical areas, possibly up to $500 million in each location. The time frame is the most interesting part of the new information released, and Wilson's widow, Mary, explained the thought process behind the decision.

"Ralph saw first hand the impact of his generosity in his lifetime," said Mary, noting that Ralph wanted "a direct impact in the lifetimes of those who knew him best."

"This time frame was established so that the organization's impact will be immediate, substantial and measurable," added the foundation in an email to The Buffalo News.

According to the release, the priorities of the foundation are the same as they were when Wilson was alive, focusing on "healthy lifestyles, early childhood and youth development, caregivers, community development and economic growth."

Former Bills players and their foundations will also receive funding regardless of their location. Foundations begun by Doug Flutie, Chris Spielman, Jim Kelly, Bob Chandler, and a host of other former Bills have received funding in the past, and will continue to see donations in the future.

The goal of the foundation is "to ensure that Ralph C. Wilson Jr.'s name will be identified as closely with his generosity as it was with his success in pro sports and business," the mission statement says. They're going to be off to a good start when the first donations begin rolling out later this year.