Ralph Wilson Foundation gives $10M to build Detroit neighborhoods

The foundation started by Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Willson has given $10 million to help revitalize Detroit's neighborhoods

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the Ralph Wilson Foundation is giving $10 million to help revitalize Detroit's neighborhoods.

The Ralph C Wilson Foundation announced the $10 million gift to Invest Detroit to help build up Detroit neighborhoods. 

"I'm excited, on behalf of the foundation, to announce a $10 million grant to Invest Detroit neighborhood fund and city of Detroit's work over the next five years," said Lavea Brachman with the foundation," said Lavea Brachman with the foundation.

Businessman and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson started the foundation and called metro Detroit home until he passed away in 2014 

"This grant will help to strengthen and grow these commercial corridors as well as invest in neighborhood parks and development," Brachman said.

It will also help entrepreneurs like Akunna Olumba, the CFO of Pizza Bar, start to realize her dream of being a business owner.

"Our project which will open in the Livernois and 6 Mile area is only here because of the strategic neighborhood fund," Olumba said.

She would be the latest business in the area. Mayor Duggan said, despite construction along Livernois, businesses have thrived in the area and this grant is designed to ensure residents across the city live in thriving communities 

"Thirteen new businesses have opened on Livernois in 2019 in a year filled with construction. This is what happens when you concentrate these efforts," Duggan said."They are very much Integrated in the recovery of the city."

The foundation has helped Detroit for years, specifically in neighborhoods and greenspace.

"They have also been leaders in funding the Joe Louis Greenway and funding parks across the city and funding the rebuilding of our career centers in Detroit high schools," Duggan said.

Wednesday's donation helps improve Detroit but also helps reach a fundraising goal for even more improvements. 

"The strategic neighborhood fund has a goal of raising abut 60 million, just under. And with this grant I'm pleased to report we've reached 85% of goal," said president of Invest Detroit, Dave Blaszkiewicz.