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Frey Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-07-17

At A Glance

Frey Foundation

40 Pearl St. N.W., Ste. 1100

Grand Rapids, MI United States 49503-3028

Telephone: (616) 451-0303


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business
  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $151,012,935

Total giving: $5,308,773






Established in 1974 in MI; endowed in 1988 - Founded by the late Edward J. and Frances T. Frey. Edward J. Frey founded Foremost Insurance Co., the nation's leading insurer of mobile homes and recreational vehicles.

Purpose and Activities

Foundation priorities are: 1) nurturing community arts; 2) community capital projects; 3) enhancing the lives of children and their families; 4) encouraging civic progress; 5) protecting the environment; and 6) strengthening philanthropy.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Building Community

The foundation supports projects that encourage urban revitalization and smart growth. The goal is to foster civic action to improve the livability of existing urban centers and towns in the target communities of western Michigan. The foundation's grantmaking priorities include: 1) Building strong and attractive city centers and revitalized neighborhoods; 2) Fostering public/private partnerships that further city center revitalization; 3) Encouraging incentives for urban revitalization through state and local public policy; and 4) Promoting equitable public financing across cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

Employee Matching Gifts

The foundation matches gifts of trustees, foundation employees, and next-generation board members to publicly supported charities in the current IRS Cumulative List. Governmental agencies are not included. Gifts are matched on a one-to-one basis, up to a maximum total of $25,000 for a full calendar year for any one trustee, a maximum total of $5,000 for the foundation president, a maximum total of $2,500 for any foundation employee, and $1,000 for any next-generation board member. Gifts to any one publicly supported charity must total at least $50 in a single calendar year to qualify for foundation matching for trustees and staff and at least $25 in a single calendar year to qualify for foundation matching for next generation members. Only direct contributions to charities are matched. Contributions ineligible for foundation matching include payments for tuition, fees, dues, and publications.

Enhancing the Lives of Children and their Families

The foundation's goal for this focus area is to promote healthy development of children and their families in the target communities of western Michigan, particularly children under the age of six from disadvantaged populations, so that far more children begin kindergarten ready to succeed. Grantmaking priorities include: 1) Leveraging community systems that ensure school success; 2) Improving parenting skills; 3) Ensuring available quality child care; and 4) Maximizing universal access to preschool programs.

Nurturing Community Arts

The foundation views the arts as a key indicator of community health, and a powerful tool for individual expression. The goals are to stimulate the vitality, effectiveness and growth of community-based arts and to encourage cultural experiences in the target communities of western Michigan. Grantmaking priorities include: 1) Supporting an arts and cultural community, which is strong and diverse; 2) Creating high-quality venues which result in stronger organizations with broader bases of support; and 3) Nurturing broad participation and engagement in the arts, particularly by children.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation made a PRI in the form of a loan to a nature conservancy organization to purchase land to be turned into a park.

Protecting the Environment

The foundation places a major emphasis on land protection. The foundation encourages environmental preservation and seeks to maintain a balance between open land and well-planned development in the target communities of western Michigan. Grantmaking priorities include: 1) Preserving and restoring high-quality lakes and streams; 2) Expanding recreation trails and greenways; 3) Protecting and preserving critical lands (including farmland, parkland, and natural areas of rich biodiversity); and 4) Beautifying scenic transportation corridors, including gateways and the control of billboards.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Child welfare
  • Community and economic development
  • Family services
  • Human services
  • Philanthropy
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $151,012,935 (market value)

Expenditures: $7,549,967

Total giving: $5,308,773

Qualifying distributions: $6,879,512