(Detroit Riverfront Conservancy)

The William Davidson Sport House will add to the public offerings on the Detroit Riverfront and provides two public open-air basketball courts and flexible space for a range of programs and events.

The William Davidson Foundation and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy announced that a new Sport House in the future 22-acre park on Detroit’s West Riverfront will be named after Detroit businessman, philanthropist and former professional sports team owner William “Bill” Davidson (1922-2009). 

With its most recent commitments to the Conservancy, the William Davidson Foundation has now granted more than $11 million to the ongoing transformation of Detroit’s international riverfront into a beautiful and accessible world-class gathering place for all. 

The William Davidson Sport House will add to the public offerings on the Detroit Riverfront and features a raised canopy with skylight that provides two public open-air basketball courts and flexible space for a range of programs and events that will welcome visitors from all walks of life. 

Designed by award-winning Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye, who also designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the William Davidson Sport House is slated for completion in 2023. The Sport House will be part of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, also named after a renowned professional sports team owner, businessman and philanthropist.

“No project truly connects the region and plays a more central role in Detroit’s resurgence than the revitalization of more than five miles of the Detroit Riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle,” said Darin McKeever, president and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation.

The Foundation considers the William Davidson Sport House a fitting tribute to its founder, as Davidson owned the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Shock and Tampa Bay Lightning pro sports franchises and is widely considered a visionary in bringing together sports, venues and the community. His sports honors included election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and selection as an inaugural inductee into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Founded in 2005, the William Davidson Foundation’s grantmaking has accelerated since its founder’s death in March 2009 and today it is among the five largest Michigan-based foundations. The Foundation’s priorities — including its focus on Detroit and Southeast Michigan — reflect Mr. Davidson’s.

“The last year and a half have brought so much of our region’s most critical and under-appreciated assets into sharper focus: our resilient small business owners and entrepreneurs, our inspiring arts and cultural institutions, and the public parks and other gathering places where we have found comfort and connection,” added McKeever. “These are areas the William Davidson Foundation knows well, and we look forward to continuing our work with our grantees and other partners to ensure the success of the people and places Southeast Michigan needs for a bright future.”

In total, the William Davidson Foundation has now committed more than $500 million in grants since its inception in 2005. 

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