Frederic Fransen

Frederic Fransen

Frederic Fransen is a national authority on higher education and philanthropy. He has written for, or been quoted in, papers in 33 states, reaching an audience of more than 50 million readers, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune.

From 1996 until 2006, Fred was variously a program officer, fellow, and senior fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a private operating foundation. From 2001 to 2006, he simultaneously served as director of grants for the Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation.

In 2006 Fred helped The Philanthropy Roundtable initiate a new breakthrough group in higher-education philanthropy. At the same time, he began providing support to donors interested in being more strategic about their higher-education giving.

By 2008, demand for his advisory services led Fred to launch Donor Advising, Research & Educational Services, LLC (DA*R*ES), a national, fee-for-service organization dedicated to providing support and assistance to strategic-minded philanthropists. It has been involved in helping structure and oversee tens of millions of dollars worth of gifts to universities, churches, medical facilities, and nonprofit organizations.

DA*R*ES provides back and front office services for family foundations, engages in strategic planning and project development and management for philanthropists, and acts as an agent in negotiating, structuring, and sometimes restructuring, major gifts and giving programs, particularly in the field of higher-education philanthropy, where donor intent is a major concern.

Fred has a Ph.D. in Social Thought from the University of Chicago.

Read all posts published by Frederic Fransen.


  • The endowment trap

    A recent article (“The Endowment Trap“) in the John William Pope Center’s Clarion Call attracted my attention. In the piece, Vance Fried notes the (limited) justifications for colleges to maintain an endowment (smooth out cash flow, for instance) and the many arguments against big endowments (lower productivity and less responsiveness within institutions that don’t have […]

  • The ladder of charity

    This morning someone forwarded me a story from the Weekly Standard, entitled “A Capitalist Revolt – against Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.” In the short piece Andrew Wilson describes the backlash among Fortune readers against the initiative by Buffet and Gates to get billionaires to publicly pledge to give away at least half of their […]

  • Obama in Austin — Real help in higher education

    Yesterday in Austin, Texas, President Obama called for new efforts to improve college graduation rates. Eleven countries, he noted, have higher graduation rates than the United States, and he wants to see us return to the top of the rankings in this area. Philanthropists will certainly be called anew to participate in the effort to […]

  • The “opportunity cost” of philanthropy

    Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ call for billionaires to give half their net worth to charity is hard to criticize. Surely there is something noble about deciding to devote to the public good half the wealth billionaires have accumulated and will never be able to spend in their lifetimes. But to say that their creating […]

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