The foundation of late Buffalo Bills founding owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. presented a $2.5 million grant to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Mary Owen, Wilson's neice and the foundation's executive vice president and life trustee, joined Hall of Fame President David Baker in Canton, Ohio, to make the announcement.
The funds will be used for a variety of programs and projects at the Hall of Fame, including a holographic theater experience concentrating on the values learned from the game, according to a press release from the Hall of Fame. The grant will also help cover the cost of the digitization of the Hall of Fame archives, with a focus on developing a comprehensive digital archive of every NFL player past and present. Additionally, $1 million of the grant will be used 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," Baker said in the press release. "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."
In 2012, Wilson gave the Hall of Fame a $2.5 million gift to fund the Research and Preservation Center that is now named in his honor. The center, which was dedicated in August 2012, is home to more than 30 million pages of documents and five 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, who serves on the Hall of Fame's advisory committee. “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 Ralph Wilson, Jr. Research and Preservation Center.
Wilson, who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2009, owned the Bills from their founding in 1960 through his death in March 2014.