The Richard Willis Memorial Fund is a non-profit, incorporated organization listed as a 501(c) 3 with the Federal Government. Our primary fund-raiser is a 3 on 3 youth basketball tournament which takes place annually in August. The event is currently in our 24th year and will be held this year on August 17 and 18 at the College of Staten Island. It has become one of the premier charity 3 on 3 youth basketball tournaments in the New York area. Our second fund-raiser is our very popular Valentines Dance which takes place annually the weekend of Valentines Day.
Richard Willis was a community leader through out Staten Island but especially the Grant City and Midland beach areas. He was a devoted husband, wonderful father of 5 sons and the adored grandfather for 15. Unfortunately Richard died in 1993 at the very young age of 57. It was a great loss to our family and the Staten Island Community as a whole.
Richard enjoyed spending time with his family but the thing that set him apart from most was that he donated much of his time to helping other peoples children. He coached basketball, baseball and started up a soccer program at St. Christopher's Parish. He was President of the St. Christopher's Sports Program and Holy Name Society for many years He also donated his time to the religious education of the parish children. He was also one of the Directors and coaches in the old Staten Island Babe Ruth league in the 70's and 80's. He would keep the local gymnasium open for neighborhood teens on the weekends and late nights so as to have a place to play basketball and keep out of trouble.
Our groups purpose is to raise money for educational scholarships and to support needy youth programs in memory of Richard Willis. We distribute these scholarships to worthy children and organizations in the Staten Island Community. When initially started we donated a good portion of our funds to the now defunct St. Margaret Mary's Sports program where Richard finished his basketball coaching career. We have grown from 2 scholarships in one school over the years to 16 scholarships in 8 schools now including: St Charles, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Our Lady of Good Counsel, St Clare, Blessed Sacrament, St Christopher, St Peter/Paul, and St Anns. Over the years we have contributed some of our proceeds to the Children's 911 fund, Make A Wish Foundation for Staten Island Children, St Judes Children fund, CYO, St Peter/Paul Soccer club and the Staten Island Challengers.
Approximately a decade ago the Richard Willis Memorial Fund was very proud to add The Grace Foundation to our list of groups that we support. Our relationship has grown to become a wonderful partnership of respect and support.
Our Fund has been in existence for over two decades and we have distributed all our funds back to the children of the Staten Island community. Our group is comprised 100% of volunteers who care about our Staten Island communities' children and keeping the memory and the volunteerism spirit of Richard Willis alive as a shining example for all to follow.