Project Play Western New York Announces New Leadership

Oct 2, 2023

Buffalo, NY – The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation are pleased to announce that Aaron Hord has been named Director of Youth Sports Initiatives at the Community Foundation and will oversee the work of Project Play Western New York (WNY) moving forward. Set in motion by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in 2018, Project Play WNY was born out of State of Play, an extensive regional research initiative that provided critical insight into our children, their activity levels—and how we can make a difference for them. A key area of focus for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is ensuring people of all ages have access to public spaces in their community that encourage and welcome active lifestyles to create a healthier region.

Since launching, the Project Play WNY team has worked tirelessly to advance the mission of engaging our youth in sports with more than 300 cross-sector partners. Under the strategic direction of an Advisory Council, and with input from more than 1,000 community members, Project Play WNY has created four working groups focusing on different key goals of the organization: Reintroduce Free Play, Encourage Sport Sampling, Train All Coaches and Capacity Building for WNY Youth Sports Organizations. Project Play WNY has also built out a robust communication network through its website and social media platforms to provide targeted resources to different audiences looking to inspire kids to be active and engaged in sports.

Aaron moves into his new role after serving as Director, Client Relations at the Community Foundation since 2020. As Director of Youth Sports Initiatives, Aaron is now responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships in the youth sports ecosystem and utilizing tools for advancing collective action, including: convening partners, building coalitions, forging common agendas, organizing media campaigns, initiating grants, and leveraging resources to work toward Project Play WNY’s mission of ensuring all youth in our region have the opportunity to be active through sport regardless of zip code.

Aaron received his B.S. in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

To learn more about Project Play WNY, visit

About Project Play WNY

Project Play WNY is driven and funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s Youth Sports & Recreation focus area in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. It is a collective impact model that includes more than 100 individuals who are focused on ensuring all WNY kids have the opportunity to be active through sport. For more information, visit

About the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

For more than a century, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has enhanced and encouraged long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. Established in 1919, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect the devotion of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his beloved Buffalo Bills NFL team. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson provided that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. Based in Detroit, the Foundation began with a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable, and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit