By DENISE GRANT
Findlay resident Bill Frack doubled his gift to northwestern Ohio on Wednesday, donating about $20 million to the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, most of which will go to the Bowling Green State University men’s basketball program.
The rest will go for “community needs in Hancock County,” to address the issues of homelessness and domestic violence.
“We know that there is homelessness out there,” Frack said. “We don’t think of it in Findlay. We think of this as a pretty upscale community, but not everyone is that well off.
“These are two areas I thought I could do some good. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen,” he said.
Frack made his donation to Community Foundation President Katherine Kreuchauf and BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey in a short ceremony at The Heritage nursing home.
“Anyone here who is a basketball fan knows that Bowling Green has pretty serious problems,” Frack said. “The attendance at games is like a funeral home.”
His humor may have been an attempt to put onlookers at ease. The 79-year-old has cancer and could not finish the news conference.
He slumped in his wheelchair and said more than once, “I don’t feel good.”
Still, Frack wanted to make the announcement himself because the donation “does my heart good.”
According to Kreuchauf, three-quarters of annual distributions from a series of existing trusts will go to the men’s basketball program at BGSU.
Frack has asked that a fourth of his estate benefit the homeless and victims of domestic violence in Hancock County.
Foundation officials said after that fund grows to a permanently sustainable level, probably in about five years, organizations will be invited to submit proposals to address these social issues.
Frack has followed BGSU basketball for more than six decades. His father first brought him to watch the Falcons play in 1948 in the old Men’s Gym.
He has remained a devoted fan, and in 2008 provided one of the “leadership gifts” to help start construction of the new Stroh Center.
The university’s arena and convocation center opened in 2011. At the time, Frack announced his estate would make a $10 million donation to BGSU.
He said it is good to be able to leave his assets to “someone I can trust won’t go to Vegas with it.”
Frack has said he made his money by investing.
“We will always know what you have done. You have made history. Bowling Green State University men’s basketball will return to the glory days, and you will have been the game-changer,” Mazey said.
“And the only way we’ll go to Las Vegas will be as part of the Final Four.”
The $20 million gift is one of the largest ever given to the Community Foundation, and the university’s share is the single largest private gift in BGSU history. It is also the largest one-time gift to a Mid-American Conference basketball program.
It is estimated that the endowment will generate about $675,000 a year for men’s basketball in perpetuity.
Last month, Frack contributed about $700,000 to the university. That money allowed it to offer a more competitive compensation package to attract new men’s basketball coach Chris Jans from Wichita State University.
Jans, who attended Wednesday’s announcement, said Frack is a “role model for all of us who have a willingness to become a better person.”
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