Remembering Fred Prince

As a Trustee of The Prince Charitable Trusts, Fred oversaw giving programs in the D.C. metropolitan area and, along with his co-trustee, Patrick Wood Prince, in Newport, Rhode Island. Since 2000, he approved awards totaling nearly $60m dollars in Rhode Island and the Washington region to protect the environment, support the arts, provide access to quality health care, and support Parkinson research among other priorities.

With his wife Diana, Fred was committed to the places they called home. He was a landowner in Virginia’s Piedmont, where he appreciated the rural character of the Virginia countryside, and a home owner in the District where he enjoyed the culture and diversity of city life. He understood that protecting those resources required ongoing vigilance, commitment and even a bit of grit. He took the long view and remained committed to a variety of strategies that, when taken together, had a multiplying and enduring impact, strengthening the vitality of the communities in which he lived.

While this was his philosophy from the beginning, it was When Mickey Came to Town in the early 1990s when his particular “style” of giving evolved fully. He helped circle the wagons when the Disney Corporation planned to develop a major theme park in a small rural community just outside DC that would have exacerbated sprawl, compromised the natural environment and desecrated historic land.

The Disney campaign became an enduring legacy. The collaboration among a group of “simple Virginians” resulted in the preservation of the rural quality of the Piedmont and has become a model for similar campaigns. It started as a small, grassroots effort of landowners but quickly expanded into a regional debate about growth and ignited a national discussion regarding the importance of preserving historic lands and culture. The Disney campaign launched a smart growth movement in the region and birthed several organizations that are still on the forefront of these issues.

Under Fred’s leadership, the Trusts supported pioneering work in neurology to help advance the understanding and development of new treatments for Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the Trusts supported innovative programs to boost the morale of care givers leading to better outcomes for patients. Among the Trusts major gifts were the establishment of the Frederick Henry Prince Distinguished Professorship in Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and an endowed Arts and Humanities Program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Prince family has maintained homes on Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island, for multiple generations and both trustees of the Prince Charitable Trusts have homes in Newport. The Trust’s activities in Rhode Island are focused on issues of concern to all the communities of Aquidneck Island, including Newport. The Trusts were initial founders of the Aquidneck Land Trust, supported island-wide planning for growth and helped sustain Newport’s diverse cultural institutions, including the Preservation Society of Newport County.

Funeral services will take place Friday, January 5, 2018 at 4:00 PM at Christ Church in Georgetown (3116 O Street, NW, Washington, DC). A memorial service will be held next summer, date and time to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fred Prince’s most cherished organizations: Piedmont Environmental Council or Preservation Society of Newport County (in honor of his great-grandfather who owned the Marble House)