University of San Francisco Announces First Recipient of Statewide Prize

Philanthropist Lynn C. Fritz to receive inaugural award

SAN FRANCISCO (April 17, 2008)

The University of San Francisco (USF) announced today that philanthropist and businessman Lynn C. Fritz has been named recipient of the first ever University of San Francisco's California Prize for Service and the Common Good, an award that recognizes selfless devotion to public service benefiting the poor and marginalized.

The California Prize, which comes with a $10,000 purse and handcrafted medal, will be given each year to a person who creates advancements or innovations in public service on behalf of underserved populations. Fritz is founder of the Fritz Institute, a nonprofit headquartered in San Francisco. The Fritz Institute's vocation is to serve versus lead, and it does so by creating collaborative and innovative solutions to improve both the preparation for disasters and the operational effectiveness of disaster relief organizations. These solutions save lives and reduce misery, especially of the poorest and most vulnerable in traditionally underserved communities.

Locally, the Fritz Institute's Bay Prep Initiative seeks to advance the ability of the Bay Area to prepare, withstand and recover from a major disaster. The mission of the Bay Prep Initiative is to be the "most prepared region in the United States with the standards and best practices in place to prove it."

"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the University of San Francisco as the first recipient of the California Prize for Service and the Common Good,” Fritz said. Improving the lives of others from behind the scenes is a critical platform for the Fritz Institute. Thus, it is of particular importance to me to be recognized by a university that encourages and educates students to work for a more humane world."

A visionary in the global logistics industry, Fritz was chairman and CEO of Fritz Companies until May 2001, when it was acquired by UPS. Under his stewardship, Fritz Companies was transformed from a small domestic documentation company to a global logistics solutions organization of 10,000 employees in 120 countries.

From his perspective running a multimillion-dollar global company, Fritz was attuned to the realities of major disasters around the world. In 1999, Fritz received a call from his company’s office in Turkey after a large earthquake there. "It became clear there was no organization, no plan for what happened to the spouses and children of our employees in the aftermath of this disaster," Fritz explained. "Shortly thereafter I discovered that disaster recovery organizations were lacking in tools and processes that would be typical for an even modestly run private company. That's when I decided to help these organizations execute better," Fritz recalled.

In announcing the award, USF President Stephen Privett, S.J. said Fritz's work in the area of humanitarian assistance has emphasized excellence and accountability while pursuing a common good that transcends the interests of particular individuals or groups. Privett added that the Fritz Institute promotes a culture of service that respects the dignity of every person.

"Lynn is the ideal recipient of the California Prize," Father Privett said. "He took the knowledge gained in the for-profit sector, and applied it successfully to the non-profit world—helping people in critical need. He exemplifies USF’s mission of educating students to use their knowledge, skills, and sensitivity to serve others."

Fritz will be honored at a dinner hosted by USF on Thursday, May 1, 2008 in The Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange Building, San Francisco. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit The Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco. For more information about the University of San Francisco's California Prize for Service and the Common Good, or for details about the dinner event, please visit