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The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Donates $2 Million to Hospice Buffalo

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a $2 million gift to The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care as part of their 2015 Transitional Legacy Grant program. The grant will provide $1.5 million to establish the Hospice Caregivers Enrichment Endowment Fund, which will support the recruitment, training and education of Hospice Buffalo’s home health aides, certified nursing assistants and other direct caregiving staff who support patients in their homes, nursing homes and hospice inpatient units. The grant will also provide an additional $500,000 to Hospice’s Mary & Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Endowment Fund. This fund supports and supplements the cost of providing innovative programs and services to Hospice Buffalo’s patients and their family members.

Mary Owen, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Executive Vice President and Trustee, made the announcement today at Hospice Buffalo’s 15th Annual Harvest Festival, which had over 700 attendees, including major donors and media representatives. “We are proud to announce this grant in collaboration with Hospice Buffalo. Ralph and Mary Wilson have long admired Hospice Buffalo’s mission and dedication to the Western New York Community,” said Ms. Owen. “Supporting compassionate care programs for patients and their families who turn to Hospice Buffalo for end-of-life medical, emotional and spiritual support was one of their many missions. Today’s announcement demonstrates Mr. Wilson’s passion and commitment to improving the quality of life for people in Western New York,” Ms. Owen stated. “We hope this gift will inspire other individuals and corporations to take a leadership role in contributing to the work of Hospice and aid the thousands of families they serve.”  

Mr. Wilson, along with his wife Mary, had a long history of supporting Hospice Buffalo’s mission with both their talent and resources. A 2001 gift established the Mary and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Endowment Fund.  In recognition of that gift, the 22-bed inpatient unit on Hospice’s Mitchell Campus was named for them.  Another large gift in 2006 was the lead gift for the Mary and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Counseling Center which houses the Life Transitions Center, Hospice Bereavement Services, the Essential Care for Children program, and Expressive Therapies.

“We are honored to receive this generous gift from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.  Foundation,” said Patrick Flynn, President of the Hospice Foundation.

“Our patients and staff will be enriched by this generous gift,” commented Pat Ahern, RN, MBA, FACHE, CEO of Hospice Buffalo. “Thanks to The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation the Hospice Caregivers Enrichment Endowment Fund will allow Hospice to continue to have a significant positive impact on our patients and their families. Words cannot fully express my joy and gratitude. Mr. Wilson’s spirit will be forever present not only on our Hospice Campus, but also in our hearts.”

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The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a newly funded private foundation headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. The Foundation was established in 2011 by Mr. Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to be used exclusively for charitable purposes. Mr. Wilson passed away on March 25, 2014 after which the Trustees have recently liquidated the majority of his Estate’s assets and funded the Foundation with $1.2 billion in early 2015. It measures in the top five of Michigan based private foundations and has a 20 year lifespan.  The same four individuals who served as trustees for Mr. Wilson’s Estate are designated as Life Trustees of the Foundation. An additional three trustees will be added in the near future.

The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care is one of the nation’s largest hospice and palliative (comfort) care programs, and serves more than 500 patients a day in homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and the Mary & Ralph Wilson, Jr. Hospice Inpatient Unit in Cheektowaga. Hospice Buffalo serves individuals with serious illness and their families and caregivers through a continuum of care spanning the course of illness and bereavement. Hospice Buffalo helps patients make choices about their care, supports those who are grieving, and educates the professional and lay communities on end-of-life issues.