Alum gives $5 million to De La Salle

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 29, 2011


There are gifts, and then there’s the kind of gift that keeps on giving.

A check for $5 million is the kind that will be remembered forever.

During a special event recognizing De La Salle Collegiate High School’s outgoing president, Brother Robert Carnaghi, at Warren’s Andiamo Italia on June 26, school officials announced receipt of a whopping philanthropic gift from auto dealer Bill Fox.

The $5 million donation from Fox, a 1950 graduate of De La Salle, is the largest in the school’s history, and will complete its most recent capital campaign, which began in 2004 and included the construction of a new chapel and educational facilities, along with extensive technological upgrades.

“Bill Fox’s gift is a testament to the fact that De La Salle makes a difference for young men and their families, and that the experience of a Lasallian education is worth preserving,” Carnaghi said in a prepared statement released by the school after the gift was announced.

Fox, 78, of Oakland Township, owns Bill Fox Chevrolet in Rochester and Lakeview Ford in Battle Creek. His family owns Volkswagen and Toyota dealerships in Rochester.

“I’ve been pretty lucky. I ended up in a good position in my life where I don’t need the money anymore, and they do, so it’s good for both of us,” Fox said on June 28. “I was proud to give it. I gave it a long, hard thought before I did, and I just couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.

“I think with this little bit of help I gave them they’re going to go on and do bigger and better things, and probably become one of the best boys’ high schools in the United States, if not the world.”

According to De La Salle’s official announcement about the gift, the funds will be used to establish the William M. Fox Endowment Scholarship Fund at the school. The money will also be used for ongoing improvements to De La Salle’s gym and parking facilities.

The “Preserving the Legacy” Capital Campaign, which ended with Fox’s gift, was listed among Carnaghi’s accomplishments at the school since 2002.

The school’s Board of Trustees named Carnaghi “president emeritus” during the tribute event.

De La Salle Collegiate High School is a Catholic high school for boys established in Detroit in 1926 and moved to Warren in 1982. The school has an enrolment of 800 students, with more than 10,000 living alumni.