Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports

Categories: Youth, Youth Sports


In 2016, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports at the Community Foundation. The foundations jointly contracted with the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute to produce an independent assessment of the state of play, sports, and recreation for youth in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties. The report, State of Play: Greater Rochester & The Finger Lakes, is anchored in the belief that all stakeholders will benefit if all children in the region – regardless of zip code or ability – are provided access to quality sports and recreation experiences.

The report identifies eight strategies (or “plays”) that stakeholders can use to get and keep all youth active through sports and recreation:

  1. Ask kids what they want;
  2. Reintroduce free play;
  3. Encourage sports sampling;
  4. Revitalize in-town leagues;
  5. Think small;
  6. Design for development;
  7. Train all coaches; and
  8. Emphasize prevention

A collective process involving the Aspen Institute, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and the Rochester Youth Sports & Recreation Task Force identified the following values as important for the success and impact of youth sports and recreation programming:

  1. Clear outcomes;
  2. Teamwork and collaboration;
  3. Innovation;
  4. Community-building; and
  5. Expanding access to opportunities and resources for youth and families who might otherwise not have such access, particularly in communities that have been under-served.

Grant requests should support youth sports and recreation activities and related, small-scale capital needs such as equipment or field and stadium needs within Monroe County.

Typical Grant Size

Ranging in size from $5,000 to $25,000. Slightly smaller or larger grants will be considered.

Prospective applicants with projects requiring substantially smaller grants are encouraged to partner with other agencies to submit a collaborative application.

Most grants will be for a 12-month duration. Accommodation can be made for projects requiring modest extensions. Multi-year requests will not be considered.

Eligibility Criteria

Any 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or organization with a 501c3 fiscal sponsor in Monroe County that serve youth may apply. Government entities and school districts in these counties also may apply, but preference will be given for support of community-engaged programs. Organizations are limited to one application.

To be considered, projects must align with:

  • One or more of the “plays” (listed above, with more detail in the State of Play report);
  • The above-stated values and will be given the highest priority

Low priority will be given to requests for ongoing operational costs, capital campaigns, and annual fund drives. Requests for programming and/or capital costs may include equipment requests, including relevant medical equipment.

Please note: 

  • Tackle football programs are no longer eligible to apply.
  • Organizations serving Genesee or Orleans counties can apply for youth sports funding through the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
  • Applicants that were awarded Youth Sports grants in the previous cycle must submit a progress report or final report before the new application due date.

Application Due Date(s)

The most recent deadline to submit an application was Friday, January 5, 2024.

Future opportunities will be announced in our quarterly e-newsletter, Grant Opportunities. (Click to subscribe.)


Click on our online grant portal to apply.

Notification Date(s)

Grants will be announced in mid-May.


Berta Rivera
Rochester Area Community Foundation
500 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607-1912

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