The Gift of Forever

Jim and Ellida Fri were active citizens of Memphis, and charitable their entire lives. The Community Foundation continues to see the impact of their commitment to this community through a legacy gift to the Community Partnership Fund.

The couple established the James L. Fri, Jr. and Ellida Sadler Fri Fund at the Community Foundation in 1988. From the beginning of their relationship with the Community Foundation, Jim and Ellida planned to give part of their estate to their children, part to the organizations in the community that they most loved, and part to the Community Partnership Fund to support the work the Foundation does in the community.

Jim and Ellida were married for 31 years, until Ellida’s death in 2004. Over decades, they demonstrated a tremendous commitment to philanthropy. They each served on numerous boards and showed a special commitment to education. Jim served on the board of LeMoyne-Owen College, where he initiated a challenge that led to one of the most successful capital campaigns in the college’s history. Both were avid supporters of the YWCA, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, and several other local organizations.

The couple was jointly honored in 2000 as Outstanding Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Memphis Chapter.

Upon Jim’s death in 2016, the Foundation learned that he and Ellida wished to grant $150,000 to the Foundation for the Community Partnership Fund. Rather than use the entirety of the grant for this year’s grantmaking, the Board of Governors approved using this legacy gift to seed an endowment fund to support the Community Partnership Fund in perpetuity. The Fris’ generosity will continue helping Memphis improve and thrive for generations to come.