Foster Friess

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This article is about the businessman and Christian activist. For the California fast food chain, see Fosters Freeze.
Foster Friess
Foster Friess by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Friess in March 2013.
Born Foster Stephen Friess
(1940-04-02)April 2, 1940
Rice Lake, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Occupation Investment Manager
Known for Political Philanthropist

Foster Stephen Friess (born April 2, 1940) is an American businessman and supporter of conservative Christian causes. In a 2001 article, BusinessWeek suggested Friess "may be the longest-surviving successful growth-stock picker, having navigated markets for 36 years, in his own firm since 1974."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Friess was born in 1940 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.[2] As a student at Rice Lake High School, Friess was valedictorian of his class and a member of the basketball and track teams.[3]

A first-generation college graduate, Friess attended the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin–Madison), where he earned a degree in business administration. As a student, he served as president of Chi Phi Fraternity, enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and was named one of the "ten most outstanding senior men".[citation needed]

Friess identifies as a born-again evangelical Christian. Despite his professional success, he was unhappy due to a "marriage flirting with divorce and emotionally distant children"; in October 1978, Friess "did one of those 'born again' things".[4]


After graduating from college, Foster trained to be an infantry platoon leader and served as the intelligence officer for the First Guided Missile Brigade, Fort Bliss, Texas. In 1964, he began his investment career, joining the Brittingham family-controlled NYSE member firm in Wilmington, Delaware, where he eventually rose to the position of Director of Research.

In 1974, Friess and his wife launched their own investment management firm, Friess Associates, LLC. Although success came slowly in its early years, the firm grew to over $15.7 billion in assets managed. Forbes named the Brandywine Fund, a Friess Associates flagship that boasted an average of 20% annual gains in the decade ended 1990, as one of the decade's top performers.[5]

In 2001, Friess Associates partnered with Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), an asset-management firm, to facilitate succession planning and to spread ownership among its partners. AMG acquired a majority interest in Friess Associates in October 2001 and held a 70% interest as of September 2011. A broad group of Friess partners, including senior management and researchers, held 20% equity ownership, while the Friess family retained 10%.[6] The company was purchased by its employees in 2013.[7]

Political activism[edit]

Friess has been an active patron of religious and conservative causes. He donated $250,000 to Santorum's re-election campaign in 2006, and at least that amount to the Republican Governors' Association.[8]

He was instrumental in keeping the political campaign of the 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum alive by financing a super PAC, the Red, White and Blue Fund, which ran television advertisements on behalf of Santorum, who was unable to run a television campaign with his own funds.[9] According to campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission, Friess's contributions to the Red, White and Blue Fund amounted to more than 40% of its total assets, or $331,000 as of 31 December 2011.[10][11]

In the wake of the New Hampshire Republican primary, 2012, and before the South Carolina primary, Friess told Politico that he was "putting together a challenge grant to encourage other wealthy donors to give to the Red, White and Blue Fund, ... he said [the fund] received a $1 million check" the day after the New Hampshire vote.[12] The million dollar donation was conveyed in four checks between November 2011 and January 2012.[11]

In addition to Santorum's faith, pro-life stance, and hawkish foreign policy leanings, the possibility of defeating incumbent President Barack Obama was a major component of Friess's decision to back Santorum's campaign.[13] Friess reportedly considered major contributions to American Crossroads super PAC in hopes of influencing key 2012 senate races.[14]

Friess also donated $100,000 to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to help defeat the Democrats' recall effort in 2011. He has reportedly invested more than $3 million to the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller website.[8] At one of the semi-annual, private seminars held by the Koch brothers in June 2011, Friess was recognized for his donation exceeding $1 million to the Kochs' political activities.[15]

While being interviewed by Andrea Mitchell, regarding contraception, Friess said, "And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so – it's such – inexpensive, you know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."[11][16]

Friess is also an advisor to Turning Point USA, a conservative youth group which publishes the Professor Watchlist. [17][18]


Friess and his wife run the Friess Family Foundation, whose activities include supporting Christian mobile medical services, sponsoring Water Missions International's work to provide clean water in Malawi, and donating to relief and recovery efforts following natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[19]

Friess sponsored a matching grant program to raise $2 million for relief efforts for the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and traveled to the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami in order to speak with local church and organization leaders to identify the best efforts to support.[20] He sponsored another matching grant for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, raising more than $4 million.[20]

He supported a YMCA development in Maryvale, Arizona, along with several local mentoring and ministry programs.[21] He is the principal donor behind the Friess Family Community Campus, a $3.7 million complex equipped with football, baseball, softball fields, and a track at Rice Lake High School in his hometown.[22]

Foster also gained notoriety when news of his 70th birthday party spread.[23] At the lavish event he announced he would give one charity nominated by his guests $70,000. He surprised his guests by giving each of their favorite charities $70,000, totaling over $7 million. [24]

Friess has won a number of awards for his religious work, including the Horatio Alger Award from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans,[25] the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award presented by The Champ in 1999,[26] Canterbury Medal from the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty,[27][28] the Adam Smith Award from Hillsdale College[29] the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation[30] the David R. Jones Award for Leadership in Philanthropy[31] and a Medal of Distinction from the University of Delaware.[32]


  1. ^ Robert Barker (2001-07-16). "Buy-and-Hold Isn't His Style". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Man Atop the Horse". Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Friess Associates". 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  6. ^ "Friess Associates : AMG Partnership". n.d. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  7. ^ Baert, Rick (2013-07-04). "Friess employees to buy back firm from AMG". Pensions & Investments. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  8. ^ a b Isikoff, Michael, "Wealthy Wyoming investment fund manager bankrolling pro-Santorum Super PAC", NBC News, 4 January 2012.
  9. ^ Chrystia Freeland, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, New York: The Penguin Press, 2012, p. 246
  10. ^ "FEC Disclosure Form 3 for RED WHITE AND BLUE FUND". Federal Election Commission. 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  11. ^ a b c Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnam (February 21, 2012). "Super PAC donors revealed: Who are the power players in the GOP primary?". Washington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  12. ^ Kenneth Vogel, "3 billionaires who'll drag out the race", Politico, 2012-01-12, Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  13. ^ Rutenberg, Jim; Confessore, Nicholas (9 February 2012). ""Benefactor Likes Santorum Odds" (limited no-charge access)". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  14. ^ Molly Redden, "Pac Man: An eccentric Republican billionaire contemplates his next move", The New Republic, 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  15. ^ Gavin Aronsen, "The Koch Brothers' Million-Dollar Donor Club", Mother Jones, September 6, 2011.
  16. ^ Eggen, Dan (February 17, 2012). "Foster Friess aspirin joke shows danger to candidates of outside political groups". Washington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Carrying Others Burdens – Friess Family Foundation
  20. ^ a b "Foster Friess". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  21. ^ Debons, Amanda (2008-04-07). "Opening of Maryvale YMCA celebrated". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  22. ^ "Board of Education – Buildings and Grounds Committee". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Atlas Economic Research Foundation :: ATLAS FREEDOM DINNER 2004 Archived July 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Foster S. Friess (2002-05-11). "What Kind of Society is Good for Business and Investing?". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  30. ^ Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership | HOBY Archived June 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ The Fund for American Studies – Alumni
  32. ^ Medals of Distinction / UDconnection

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