Head of Detroit’s Hudson-Webber Foundation to lead new $1.2-billion philanthropy

Arts / Article
David O. Egner

David O. Egner. Photo courtesy the Hudson-Webber Foundation.

A frequent collaborator with Knight Foundation, David O. Egner, head of the Detroit-based Hudson-Webber Foundation, will serve as the president of a new foundation formed to carry out the wishes of Ralph C. Wilson Jr., the founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills who died in 2014.

The news was announced Thursday by The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, a $1.2-billion institution that plans to give away its entire endowment and investment income over 20 years. The foundation is focused on grantmaking in Southeastern Michigan and Western New York.

Egner has been president and CEO at Detroit-based Hudson-Webber since 1997, and also served as executive director of the funders’ collaborative the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. Knight Foundation is a member of the New Economy Initiative and frequently works with the Hudson-Webber Foundation in Detroit.

“I am honored to have been selected by the trustees of The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation,” Egner said in a statement. “It is a privilege to represent the foundation and the legacy of Ralph Wilson, a man known for his extraordinary generosity, visionary leadership and strong Midwestern values.”

Wilson grew up in Detroit, and decided to locate his newly purchased football franchise in Buffalo in 1959. The Wilson Foundation’s website lists its funding priorities as children, young adults and working-class families, seniors, caregivers and communities.

Michael D. Bolden is editorial director for Knight Foundation. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @michaelbolden.