GOP donor's $1 million tornado victim donation challenge
May 21st, 2013
03:58 PM ET
2 years ago

GOP donor's $1 million tornado victim donation challenge

Washington (CNN) - Major conservative donor and multi-millionaire Foster Friess is planning to donate $1 million to help the victims of the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma and is challenging others to match that amount.

In an email to supporters Tuesday Friess announced his donation. He said he and his wife haven't decided exactly where the funds will go but hopes to have some answers in the next 48 hours.

"We are researching now the best avenues to use in Moore to assure it is delivered with the least amount of overhead and most effectively and efficiently," he said.

Aides said he will fulfill his pledge even if another $1 million is not raised

He mentioned in the note some of his travel to previous disaster sites would help him decide where to direct the funds.

"I learned a lot from prior travels to sites of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, to the 2005 Katrina hurricane, and to the Haiti earthquake about how a lot of money that doesn't get where the donor would like it to get and huge salaries are taken out of by the folks delivering the donations. Our research should be done within a day or so," he wrote. Friess donated to support the relief efforts and did matching grant programs following the tsunami and Katrina.

He told his followers that he wanted to alert them "in case you are thinking of sending money, this might be an opportunity to have it doubled and be more effective in its delivery."

Friess is ranked as the 22nd largest individual donor to outside groups in last year's election cycle, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Of his more than $2.5 million in donations, $2.1 million went to the Red, White and Blue Fund, the super PAC that supported Rick Santorum in the Republican primary.

A successful businessman and former investment manager, Friess' former company was named by Forbes as having one of the 1990's best mutual funds. An evangelical Christian, he credits his religious faith for helping spur his success. He wrote on his website that in October of 1978 "I did one of those 'born again' things and invited Jesus to become the 'Chairman of the Board; of my life.'"


Filed under: Oklahoma
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Perhaps he is donating aspirin: I wonder if he was this generous with Sandy victims?

    May 21, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Kevin Durant is already ahead of you Foster.

    May 21, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. just sayin

    i'm sure we can put joe biden for his usual $10 contribution.

    May 21, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. markss1975

    What would be impressive is if he announced he WASN'T going to use the donation as a tax deduction.

    May 21, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    How much did he donate towards Hurricane Sandy charities? He still has opportunity to make up for it, though.

    May 21, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. California Gary

    Very generous of him. In reading the article though, I didn't see a reference to any donations to the victims of Sandy. I guess he only helps those in "red" states?

    May 21, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    Hey Foster.....where were you after Sandy??? I guess "librul" states don't warrant your "generosity"

    May 21, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Bob

    Trying to buy your way into heaven, huh?

    May 21, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Lisa P.

    Even without seeing the damage estimates I know that $1 million is a pitiful little drop in the bucket. And what conditions will Mr. Freiss attach to his aid, once he gets through reinventing the wheel because he can't find it in his heart to respect the experience and expertise of the people who do disaster relief as a full-time job. Or maybe he just resents the fact that the U.S. government and the Red Cross don't attach any ideological strings to their aid. Perhaps Christ ought to look into resigning from the Board of Foster Freiss' Life if that's all the difference He makes.

    May 21, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. MaryM

    Hmmmm, No word of Foster donating to the victims of Sandy. Can you say partisan hack

    May 21, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    This is nothing but a ploy. This is nothing but an attempt by the right to make it seem as if they don't need federal aid when in actuality they do. But pay like you weigh Foster. How about you cut a check for the Sandy victims while you're at it.

    May 21, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    i'm sure we can put joe biden for his usual $10 contribution.
    ***************
    I wonder how much Dick Cheney is contributing, since he made out so handsomely through his connections with Halliburton and the no-bid contracts he set up for them? Maybe he is just using the funds to build his barrow mound, so he can be buried with all the loot he aquired at taxpayer expense: with any luck we can find the spot, dig him up, and finish the job with a stake shoved where his heart should be.

    May 21, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Stuck_In_a_Blue_State

    Crazy Libs. A $1,000,000 donation to help victims in OK from a conservative warrants ridicule. Seriously? I bet if Soros was the one donating you would be singing his praises. BTW, where is his donation?

    May 21, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Crazy Libs. A $1,000,000 donation to help victims in OK from a conservative warrants ridicule. Seriously? I bet if Soros was the one donating you would be singing his praises. BTW, where is his donation?
    ---------------------------------------------
    How about you donate your food stamps Billy Bob?

    May 21, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. elucidated1

    The best part of the article was out of $2.5 M in donations, $2.1 M went to " White and Blue Fund, the super PAC that supported Rick Santorum in the Republican primary." Priceless.

    May 21, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "I wonder if he was this generous with Sandy victims?"

    Nah, at the time he was busy donating to the GOPers/Teatrolls who tried to obstruct Sandy aid and demand that it be made contingent on the destructive defunding of other social programs.

    May 21, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. The REAL Truth...

    @just sayin – i'm sure we can put joe biden for his usual $10 contribution.
    --------------------------
    Maybe so, but that'll be $10 ahead of yours, or Cheney's !

    May 21, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Tommy G

    Where are the millions from the rich Hollywood elite? Warren Buffett?? Cn we put you down for a few hundred million?? Bill Gates? The Same?? Come on people, it is the least you can do for all of those White House celebrity events that the US taxpayers footed the bill for.

    May 21, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "How about you donate your food stamps Billy Bob?

    Yeah, or maybe this week's meth allowance?

    May 21, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Jennie O

    Liberals are cheap skin flints with their own money. It is a proven fact. Just ask Joe Biden. However, they are extremely generous with other peoples money. Another proven fact.

    May 21, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Stuck_In_a_Blue_State

    How about you donate your food stamps Billy Bob?

    **************************
    First off, I have always worked for a living, including protecting the very freedoms you get to enjoy every morning when you awake. So refrain from the jabs, especially when not knowing who is at the other end. My point was this man donated $1,000,000 to help those in need and folks here have nothing but ridicule. How much did you donate? What about to victims of Sandy? Yeah, exactly what I thought. Isn't a million better than zero. Those folks lost everything...and a man stepped up to help. But, instead of acknowledging it...you lambast him.

    May 21, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Puzzle

    Hey guys,

    Regardless of parties or motivations, it's still $1 million in donations, right? Does it really matter if he's conservative or liberal? Or if he donated to other causes? There are people that are in need, and whether $1 million is a small drop in a big bucket or not it is still going to help meet some of those needs. Let's just all join together in helping to alleviate the suffering brought on by this event.

    May 21, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Thats good !
    I bet T. Boone Pickens raises him by 5 million or more ,
    I hope others do the same .

    At least his donation is going to help some body other then Rick Santorum.

    May 21, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. boreddude

    didn't know haiti and sri lanka were red states.

    May 21, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Joe

    Disaster Relief Donations: Who, What, When, and Why

    Often times, the information disseminated related to disaster events is not always enough for people to know when to give and who to help. Organizations involved with key information and long-term recovery rely upon donations to help those with unmet disaster-related needs.

    Immediate needs for food and shelter are addressed by the organizations that must maintain resources to meet this need. Once the survivors are faced with repairs and rebuilding, decisions after a few weeks raises the question of “Do they have enough money”. This question cannot be answered until insurance companies and governmental agencies complete their assessments, which vary in length of time.

    Charitable organizations that help fill the needs for repairs and rebuilding are primarily based on donations. From 1989-2011 the total damages from weather related disasters were $220 billion, or an average of $15.7 billion a year. The year 2011 was especially vicious, with a record-breaking 1,600 tornadoes causing more than $25 billion in damages, surpassing records for the most tornadoes in a single month and daily. Since 2012, the county is still on track for this costly weather related events. Hurricane Sandy was estimated at over $50 billion in damages alone.

    The agencies that are part of the long term recovery are always at the mercy of donations.
    They help with the under insured, uninsured, special needs population that include the elderly. In addition, people have lost their jobs due to long term damage and destruction of facilities as well as the psychological effects.

    Unity in Disasters, Inc
    3/8/13

    May 21, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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