Charity of late Bills owner Ralph Wilson to donate $1.2 billion

By Michael Dixon

When Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson passed away in March of 2014, he left $1.2 billion to the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. The late owner had a mandate, though, that every cent be given away within 20 years.

That process has now begun.

As of Monday, October 3, the foundation is taking applications for where the money should go. Wilson, who lived most of his life in the Detroit metro area and owned the Bills from their inception in 1960, naturally hoped that the money would go to those two cities.

“Wilson directed his money go to the two cities where he devoted his energies — Detroit and Buffalo, John Gallagher of The Detroit Free Press said. “And in four areas of his particular interest: children and youth; young adults and working-class families; caregivers who help others in need, and what he called “healthy communities,” as defined by economic development and nonprofit productivity and innovation.”

This is certainly a noble cause for the late owner. Detroit and Buffalo are both cities that can use help, and all of those causes deserve plenty of attention.

Per Gallagher, Wilson had a very specific reason for imposing a 20-year deadline. The late owner hoped that the people who knew him best would decide where the money would go based on what he would have wanted.