Lynn and Foster Friess Family Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder is the charitable giving vehicle for Wyoming millionaire Foster Friess. The foundation mostly gives to Republican, Christian, and mentoring programs for youth. It doesn't have a website.

FUNDING AREAS: Christian-based groups, youth art, Republican politics, basic needs

IP TAKE: Right-wing politics and Christian values have defined Friess' giving, but there’s still hope for nonprofits in Jackson, Wyoming, in the future.

PROFILE: Foster Friess is a mutual fund manager well-known for his conservative Christian beliefs and support for right-wing politics. He founded Friess and Associates in 1974 with his wife, Lynn, based on a principle that company fundamentals drive stock prices. Friess became an established growth stock investor thanks to the success of the Brandywine Fund and the Brandywine Blue Fund. The couple, now retired, established the Lynn and Foster Friess Family Foundation.

A significant portion of Friess Family Foundation giving has been centered on faith-based entrepreneurial inner-city programs, especially programs that involve one-on-one mentoring. Over the years, this family foundation has supported mobile medical vans in needy neighborhoods, clean drinking water programs in Africa, and assistance with natural disaster relief efforts. Foster Friess received the Muhamad Ali Humanitarian Award and the Childhelp’s Spirit of the Children Award.

In addition to his support for nonprofits, Friess is also a big Republican donor. According to the Center for Public Integrity, he contributed at least $2.6 million to super PACs for the 2012 election. He spoke at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit and gave $2.1 million to the pro-Rick Santorum Red, White, and Blue Fund that year.

In recent years, the foundation has reported assets between $60 million and $80 million. Other grants include $5 million to the National Christian Foundation and $3,333 to the Council for National Policy, a conservative activism group. The National Christian Foundation has been the largest grantee in recent years; it provides services for people and companies looking to set up foundations guided by Christian faith. Friess has been criticised for supporting organizations like the Crescent Foundation, which aims to convert Muslims to Christianity.

In Jackson, Wyoming, the foundation has given to the Jackson Hole Classical Academy and Community Bible Church. The Friesses set up a donor-advised fund with $26 million at the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole in 2001 after he sold control of his business. The couple has supported many local fundraising events, such as the Old Bill’s Fun Run. The National Museum of Wildlife Art and Good Samaritan Mission have also received support. You can learn more about Friess and his giving style in the WyoFile article, “Wyoming Philanthropist Foster Friess: Hates taxes, opens wallet wide to those in need.”

Contact information for the foundation is 307-733-9587 or 307-739-9699; the mailing address is P.O. Box 9790, Jackson, Wyoming 83001. The foundation does not have a website.

LINKS: