The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the recipient of a $2.5 million grant from The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Mary Owen, the Foundation’s Executive Vice President and Life Trustee, was joined by Hall of Fame President David Baker today at the Hall of Fame to make the announcement.
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The grant is earmarked for a variety of Hall of Fame programs and projects that includes a dramatic holographic theater experience concentrating on the values learned from the game. Other initiatives funded by the grant include the digitization of the Hall of Fame archives that will focus on developing a comprehensive digital archive for every NFL player past and present. Also, $1 million of the grant will be set aside to create an endowment to support Hall of Fame programs on an annual basis.
“Ralph Wilson’s legacy was forever bronzed in Canton through his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His great love of the game and strong desire to preserve its history was made ever so evident when in 2012 he provided a generous $2.5 million gift to fund Hall of Fame’s new Research & Preservation Center, now named in his honor. This generous additional gift from the Foundation is further evidence of the special appreciation Ralph had for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its Mission,” Baker shared.
The Pro Football Research & Preservation Center was dedicated in August 2012 and today the state-of-the-art archive is home to more than 40 million pages of documents and six million photographic images.
“We are proud to announce today’s donation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and honored to be a part of preserving the legacy of both Ralph Wilson and the game of football,” said Owen. “This grant will support the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s efforts to fulfill its mission through providing a state of the art museum experience rich in content from the Research and Preservation Center.
Owen, who serves as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Advisory Committee, and Wilson’s niece, was at the Hall of Fame on Wednesday where Owen and Baker made the announcement at the entrance of the world-class archive that bears her uncle’s name.
Wilson was one of the original founders and a guiding force of the American Football League and founder/owner of the Buffalo Bills. He guided the Bills franchise from the team’s inaugural 1960 season through his death in March 2014. Wilson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.