Foster Friess was born in Wisconsin in 1940 and became the first in his family to attend college. To add to the joys of education Friess was blessed to meet and marry, Lynnette Estes. The two would have four children and more than a dozen grandchildren. Foster was dedicated to family, and not just his own.
In 1999, Foster was awarded the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, and in 2000, at the National Charity Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., Foster was named the “Humanitarian of the Year.”
Lynn and Foster gain their philanthropic inspiration from Galatians 6:2: “When we carry one another’s burdens we fulfill the law of Christ.” Foster and Lynn have devoted over $500 million to philanthropy.
Lynn and Foster engage in a wide scope of philanthropic activities. From supporting families of disabled children in Wyoming to supporting those affected by Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In 2012 he was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. The Horatio Alger Award symbolizes personal initiative and perseverance, leadership and commitment to excellence, belief in the free-enterprise system, the importance of higher education, community service, and the vision and determination to achieve a better future.
The Friess Family Foundation provided the museum with its outside playset. In a loving gesture to his wife and a grand gesture to the museum Mr. Friess provided the artifacts for the Annie Oakley exhibit, solidifying the museum as an Annie Oakley location. The exhibit features two of Annie Oakley’s guns, as well as a coin and a card she shot out of the air.
Friess also created Fosters Outriders who currently run Scholarships for the Trades, Coffee Challenge, Harmony Meals, Civics programs, SMILES Wyoming, Litter Brigade and more.
In 2021, President Donald Trump, Senator Jim DeMint, and Congressman Mark Meadows presented Foster with the Conservative Lifetime Achievement Award.
Foster passed away on May 27, 2021, surrounded by his family.