Augsburg News

News Archives - 2001

Minneapolis businessman donates $200,000 to Youth and Family Institute of Augsburg College

Feb. 01, 2001

Kirsten Hiemstra and Patrick Flood tour Mexico City.

Philip Fandrei, former president and CEO of Sea Foam, has given $200,000 to the Youth and Family Institute of Augsburg College calling it "one of the greatest evangelical movements of our time."

The Institute, founded by Dr. Merton Strommen in memory of his son who was killed by lightning while on a youth ministry outing, studies the latest research on faith development and what is happening to children, youth and families. From the studied research, the Institute develops conceptual models, training, and continuing education for professionals and volunteers, consultation, workshops and develops new resources. In addition, it supports the undergraduate major in youth and family ministry at Augsburg College.

Fandrei, who was a member of the board of directors in the 1990s, served as director of marketing and administration for three years overseeing growth that helped put the Institute on strong financial footing.

"God gave me some abilities and management, sales and marketing skills are some of them," Fandrei said. "He has also given me the ability to make money. I've always tried to share these abilities with the Christian entity. My goal is to keep giving to other people."

Fandrei said the Youth and Family Institute helps "congregations nurture faith at all times, from the cradle to the grave."

"This is a marvelous thing that has been started," Fandrei said. "They (the Institute) revolutionize and bring back what the Bible tells us to do, use it, live it and talk it."

Dick Hardel, director of the Youth and Family Institute, said that Fandrei is much like Barnabas in the Book of Acts.

"Barnabas was not only an encourager, he made things happen. Phil has offered those same gifts to our Institute with his prayers, business sense and skills, and his financial gifts."

Although Fandrei is not as involved at the Institute as he once was, he remains on the advisory council and is enjoying watching the Institute grow.