Following Wilson’s death in 2014, the foundation was established with a fund of $1.2 billion taken from his sale of the Buffalo Bills football team. The estate’s fund is now believed to be valued at $2 billion after gains made in stock investments. The total is set to be allocated to organizations between the two regions by 2035, when the foundation will be dissolved.
Investing in the cultural sector is a new move for the philanthropic foundation, which has for six years since being established focused largely on causes related to athletics, caregiving, and economic development.
Though Wilson was not known as a major backer of the arts during his lifetime, he did acquire a small trove of valuable paintings by Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley.
“We recognize that arts and culture institutions collectively contribute to very fabric of community identity,” said Mary Wilson, the sports magnate’s niece, who serves as a life trustee on the foundation’s board. “Making them essential in retaining and attracting top talent that fuel our business community.”