We are honoring the life and legacy of Edward “Ted” J. Frey, Jr., a devoted and longstanding leader in philanthropy. The Frey Foundation shared a message from Holly Johnson, president, sharing the news that Ted passed away at the age of 77 and honoring his many contributions to Michigan and philanthropy.
Ted was a dedicated champion for his hometown communities as a trustee and long-serving treasurer and secretary of the Frey Foundation. Ted’s parents, Edward and Frances Frey, established the foundation in 1974.
“Ted was a keen advocate of collaboration — so much so that it has become a solid tenant of who we are and how we do our work at the Frey Foundation,” Holly Johnson, president of the Frey Foundation said.
He was a recipient of CMF’s Dr. Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy in 2018, along with his brothers, John M. Frey and David G.Frey, for their exceptional contributions to communities in West Michigan and Northern Michigan.
“The work of philanthropy takes the ability to get down and go to work," Frey said in a video.
Ted and John worked with CMF for over two years to support the planning and launch of the Petoskey-Harbor Spring Area Community Foundation and the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.
“Ted Frey was a believer in patient capital and philanthropy’s role to look strategically at the long-term,” Kyle Caldwell, CMF president and CEO said.
The brothers endowed a Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, the first chair of its kind in the country.
“Working with Ted Frey was always a pleasure. He cared deeply for issues in the state of Michigan, particularly in Northern Michigan,” Dottie Johnson, president-emeritus of CMF said.
Ted and his family have deeply impacted philanthropy through their investments. In West Michigan, Ted and his brothers supported collaboration with other families to fund early care and education in Michigan 25 years ago, which continues to inform community strategy.
Thanks in large part to the environmental passions and financial creativity of Ted and his brothers, in 2009, a landmark conservation effort to protect critical dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline, now known as the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area.
Ted supported the work of the Frey Foundation to help address the lack of housing for people at all income levels and was determined to remove structural barriers in this work.
“His personal giving was often done without fanfare and always aimed at giving hope, promoting healing, building capacity and supporting organizational growth through innovation,” Holly Johnson said.
A celebration of Ted’s life is being planned by his family and more information will be provided in the coming days.