Print this page


November 12, 2001
For immediate release

Waltraud Prechter establishes Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression to join the fight against bipolar disorder

Southgate, Michigan, November 12, 2001—Waltraud "Wally" Prechter, Chairman of Prechter Holdings, Inc. and President of the Prechter family’s World Heritage Foundation, has established a foundation in memory of her late husband and to help find a cure for manic depression. The Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Southgate, Michigan.

Heinz C. Prechter, former Chairman and founder of global automotive supplier ASC Incorporated, fell victim to suicide on July 6 after battling intermittent episodes of manic depression for over 30 years.

"We will build a national alliance of leaders in business, politics, health care, and our communities", said Wally Prechter, President of the World Heritage Foundation, "to raise funds for breakthrough medical research. We will engage the best and the brightest across America to develop a cure for manic depression. If we can prevent just one family from going through what we and thousands of other families are going through today, Heinz’s tragic passing will not have been in vain."

"Heinz [Prechter] touched the lives of thousands and made a difference in our communities, our state, and our country", said Governor John Engler, a long-time friend of industrialist Heinz Prechter. "Through the Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression, the Prechter family will continue to make a difference by raising awareness and reducing the stigma of manic depression. Heinz’s spirit will live on forever."

Depression affects one out of every five Americans over the course of a lifetime. It results in $43 billion in economic loss in America alone and is recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the most debilitating illnesses in the world.

However, the stigma of mental illness prevents millions from seeking proper medical care. Currently, only 10 percent of those suffering from depression receive adequate treatment. According to the American Association of Suicidology, over 30,000 Americans take their own lives every year, that is one suicide every 17 minutes. Nearly 70 percent of suicides are depression related.

Heinz C. Prechter was the quintessential entrepreneur, legendary visionary, community leader, and philanthropist. An immigrant from Germany, Heinz Prechter founded the American Sunroof Company (ASC) in a two-car garage in Los Angeles in 1965 and grew it into the premier global automotive supplier of Specialty Customization and open-air systems.

The Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression is a charitable, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations to the Fund are fully tax-deductible. Please make checks payable to the Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression at One Heritage Place, Suite 400, in Southgate, Michigan 48195.