'This is a Way to Perpetuate Our Values'

Brian and Tamra Fromm, Legacy Society members

Brian and Tamra Fromm are planners.

When it comes to world travel, they have planned their own adventures to places as varied as Thailand, Vietnam, Poland, Wales and – coming up – Croatia.

They also think ahead when it comes to leaving a legacy. That’s why the couple joined the Mackinac Center Legacy Society in 2014 and provided for the Mackinac Center in their wills.

“We believe in planning,” Brian said. “We donate to Catholic organizations and to the Mackinac Center because we believe in the values they stand for.”

The Fromms have a deep appreciation of hard work and self-reliance, drawn from their Catholic faith and a family heritage that includes farming on Tamra’s side and both farming and construction on Brian’s side.

Today they live in the same Grosse Pointe Farms home where Brian grew up. Brian, 46, works in finance at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, and Tamra, 49, is an adjunct instructor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

Introduced to the Mackinac Center by a friend and neighbor, the Fromms said they were impressed with the Center’s principles and the nonpartisan nature of its work.

“We could relate to free markets, the rule of law and limited government,” Brian said.

Tamra also finds that free-market principles align with Catholic social teaching.

At the personal level, “the tenets of the free enterprise system are the most effective way to promote the creativity and dignity of the human person,” she said. 

At the governmental level, Catholic teaching holds that the authorities closest to an issue should take care of it. That aligns with the idea of local control and a state and federal government that is limited to such core functions as infrastructure or defense, the couple explained.

When asked what they see as the major policy challenges facing Michigan, the Fromms named Detroit Public Schools and the Flint water supply.

“Education is always a concern, but it’s not solved by throwing money at it,” Tamra said. “I would love to see education vouchers. I really think that’s critical. Why should free markets be limited to corporations?”

On the situation in Flint, Brian said that lawmakers should focus on solving the problem and avoid partisan finger-pointing.

“We need to dive into what went wrong, but we also need to get a plan to make it better. We need to move forward,” he said. “Right now things are so politicized. What we like about the Mackinac Center is that it tries to offer facts and evidence and propose accountability in government.”

The imbroglio in Flint also points to the larger need for government transparency, and the couple appreciates the Mackinac Center’s efforts to advance open government, Brian said.

“The governor and legislature should open themselves to the people,” he said. 

For the Fromms, joining the Mackinac Center Legacy Society is a way to preserve the values of hard work, limited government and free enterprise, which they support.

“We’ve always believed in hard work and responsibility,” Tamra said. “This is a way to perpetuate our values.” 

The Mackinac Center Legacy Society is open to supporters who name the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in their estate plan. This can be as simple as naming the Mackinac Center in one’s will, or through such vehicles as life insurance plans or charitable gift annuities. Legacy Society members are honored each year at a special luncheon. For more information, please call 989-631-0900 and ask to speak with an advancement officer.