Duluth Heritage Sports Center Foundation (DHSCF) Chair Patrick Francisco announced today that the DHSCF was recently awarded a second contribution from the Herbert A. (Herb) Fritch Family Foundation in the amount of $1.9 million dollars. This account, added to the previous gift of $1 million dollars in 2010, brings the Fritch Family’s total contribution to the Foundation of $2.9 million. Herb Fritch grew up in Duluth. After graduating from college, he went on to become a pioneer in the health insurance industry, creating and guiding a number of successful ventures, the latest being HealthSpring, Inc. He also is the majority owner of the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League.
Although he and Barbara reside in Nashville TN, Herb still has very strong ties to Duluth. His mother Marion, now 96 and brother, Gary & his wife Bonnie, are Duluth residents. Herb’s father, Howard, was the manager of the 1963 Central Little League team that finished third in the Little League World Series. That team is commemorated by a banner displayed in the Duluth Heritage Sports Center’s entry plaza.
Regarding his gift Fritch says “I credit much of my success in business today to the leadership skills developed on the playgrounds, baseball fields, and gymnasiums of Duluth; to dear parents who ‘coached’ by example and were always present. It is a privilege to help make those opportunities and support available to present, and future generations of Duluth’s children.”
Francisco says “the Fritch’s generosity is overwhelming. And, it is a powerful endorsement of the values that surround the Duluth Heritage Sports Center. “Their latest gift supports the generosity demonstrated by all of the Duluthians who have donated in any way to make this project a unique success. The Fritches “get it”, and, they give back!”
Francisco also acknowledged the other major givers who contributed early to the project, namely the Alessandro Giuliani family, the Fryberger family, the Mitchell J. and Elva B. Sill family, the Gordon and Betsy Seitz family, David and Lisa Goldberg and family, and the family of James and Elisabeth Dudley. “These positive minded leaders believed in the vision and showed faith in the effort from the beginning. The Fritch gift is the latest in a growing line of caring and giving Duluthians”.
Gerald DeMeo, the Center’s President and CEO echoed Francisco’s comments. “The Fritch gift, coupled with the timely receipt of our remaining pledges and with our users honoring the terms of their agreements, enables us to properly operate the Center without struggling to meet the monthly burden of the significant interest payments associated with our current debt load. This will also make life a bit easier for our key vendors who have lived with us through some very tight times.”