Businessman, Philanthropist, MOVIEGUIDE® Supporter Foster Friess Passes on to Glory at 81
By Movieguide® Staff
Businessman, philanthropist, MOVIEGUIDE® supporter, and donor Foster Friess died Thursday, May 27, 2021, at 81, surrounded by family, a statement by the family reports.
“We are grateful for the wonderful life Foster lived and thankful to the many people who have shared their prayers during his illness,” the family’s statement says. “We know many of you mourn with us, and we will have more details soon on Foster’s funeral.”
Friess and his beloved wife, Lynn, who supported MOVIEGUIDE® in the last years of Foster’s life, helped fund the $50,000 Free Enterprise Prize for Movies in 2013 and 2014.
“It’s exciting to honor the best film that best represents the free enterprise system,” Friess said for the inauguration of the prize. “We often make the case economically and rationally for capitalism, but we need to make the moral case for capitalism. No system has ever brought more people out of poverty than capitalism.”
The trophy for the Friess Prize was a depiction of the goose that laid the golden egg. The trophy was created by Marilyn Quayle, the wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle.
“She did an awesome job,” Mr. Freiss said.
“This also may be the only trophy that comes with a Latin motto, thanks to my son, Stephen,” he added. “The Latin motto translated is, ‘Save the goose!’”
The archived About Page of Foster Friess says this about the businessman, philanthropist, husband, father, and grandfather:
Born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin in 1940, Foster Friess is a first-generation college graduate. His mother dropped out of school in the eighth grade to pick cotton in order to save the family farm in Texas. His father dealt cattle and horses.
At Rice Lake High School, “I was valedictorian, class president, student council president, and captain of the basketball, track, golf and baseball teams—all the things that are possible when only 16 kids are in your class!” Foster says with a wry smile before admitting that there were, in fact, 160.
At the University of Wisconsin, Foster earned a degree in business administration, served as president of his fraternity, was named one of the “ten most outstanding senior men,” and won the heart of “Badger Beauty” and Chi Omega president Lynnette Estes, whom he married in 1962. Two sons, two daughters, and fourteen grandchildren followed.
Lacking enthusiasm about the prospects of being drafted as a private first class foot soldier, Foster enrolled in the Reserves Officer Training Corp at the University of Wisconsin. He trained as an Infantry Platoon Leader and served as an Intelligence Officer for the First Guided Missile Brigade in El Paso, TX.
In 1974, Foster and Lynn launched Friess Associates. The firm’s flagship, the Brandywine Fund, averaged 20 percent annual gains in the 1990s, causing Forbes magazine to name it one of the decade’s top mutual funds. Business Week heralded him as the “longest surviving successful growth stock picker” and CNBC’s Ron Insana dubbed him one of the “century’s great investors.” Amidst this professional success, Foster says that his personal life struggled. Behind the scenes, he had “a marriage flirting with divorce and emotionally distant children.” Facing these challenges and bored with his success, he was receptive to Blaise Pascal’s notion: “Within each person is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill. In October of 1978, Foster says, “I did one of those ‘born again’ things and invited Jesus to become the ‘Chairman of the Board; of my life,” a decision to which he credits all subsequent successes, including those which saw the firm grow to a $15 billion portfolio and his personal relationships restored.
Foster has devoted significant resources to philanthropy. In 1999, the “Champ” himself awarded Foster the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, and in 2000, at the National Charity Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.,
Foster was named the “Humanitarian of the Year,” following in the footsteps of Coretta Scott King, Bob Hope, President George H.W. Bush, and Lady Bird Johnson. In 2009, Foster received the “Benefactor of the Year” Paul Weyrich Award. In 2010, he received the “Spirit of the Children Award,” given annually to Childhelp supporters who have generously given their time and good fortune to children’s causes.
Lynn and Foster gain their philanthropic inspiration from Galatians 6:2: “When we carry one another’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ,” and Matthew 25:35-40, “When you do it for the least of my brethren, you do it for Me.” From supporting families of disabled children in Jackson, Wyoming, to assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake, Lynn and Foster engage in a wide scope of philanthropic activities.
Foster believes that private individuals are called to carry others’ burdens–rather than relying on the government to do so. In 1997, Foster told the organizers of the Grand Teton Musical Festival he would give them $40,000 if they refused $11,000 in government funding. They took him up on his offer. . . .
Foster is also interested in “augmenting the news” to make it more informative and fair, and he is the major investor in the Daily Caller news website led by Tucker Carlson.
Through his web presence at FosterFriess.com and his Campfire Blog, Foster works to promote the Founding Father principles of free enterprise, limited constitutional government, fiscal responsibility, and traditional American values. He believes we can find effective, innovative private sector solutions to many of the problems we face.
Over the years, Friess and his wife, Lynn, donated more than $500 million to nonprofit and political causes.
In 2012, Friess supported the founding of TurningPoint USA, a Christian, conservative group active in promoting Christian, conservative principles on America’s college campuses. In 2018, he founded the Outriders Foundation, which promotes “principles of free enterprise, limited constitutional government, fiscal responsibility, and traditional American values.” The foundation works with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to unite Americans of all backgrounds around issues on which they can all agree.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump, former Senator Jim DeMint, and former Congressman Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff, gave Foster a Conservative Lifetime Achievement Award.
Remembrance services for Foster will occur in Scottsdale, Arizona; Jackson, Wyoming; and, his birthplace of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, dates to be determined.
Friess is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lynn Friess, and their four children, Stephen and wife, Polly, Traci and husband, Fausto, Carrie, and Michael and wife, Fanny. Foster and his wife have 15 grandchildren. Also surviving Friess is his brother, Herman, and sister-in-law, Judy.