Appreciating legacies of success

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frey is a familiar name around the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses of the University of St. Thomas. It's on two St. Paul campus buildings, the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center and the Frey Science and Engineering Center.

St. Paul industrialist Eugene Frey and his wife, Mary, were founders of St. Thomas' downtown Minneapolis campus and contributed to establishment of the university's law school, where the moot courtroom bears their name. In 2008, the couple also made a $10 million gift to St. Thomas' Opening Doors capital campaign to establish a fund to provide Frey Opportunity Grants to undergraduate students.

They established the Frey Family Foundation in the mid-'80s and - with proceeds from the sale of their business, Waldorf Corp. - established a fund with the St. Paul Foundation.

When first venturing into grantmaking, "we had a much wider lens" for viewing requests, says son James Frey, the foundation's president and CEO. Over the years, the family worked to "focus efforts more carefully in areas where we could be the most effective."

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Originally published: 09/28/2011, Pioneer Press