Waltraud E. (“Wally”) Prechter founded the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program in November of 2001, following the death of her husband. In 2004, the Program was transferred to the University of Michigan Health System and is now the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg and Family Depression Center.
For a quarter century, Wally served as the closest business adviser and confidante to her late husband, entrepreneurial visionary Heinz C. Prechter, quietly helping build the business empire that was Prechter Holdings.
Driven by the spirit of giving back to the community, the Prechter family established the World Heritage Foundation, a philanthropic entity dedicated to helping make a difference, primarily in the areas of health and education. Wally has served as President of the World Heritage Foundation - Prechter Family Fund since its inception in 1985.
In May of 2002, she provided testimony before the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, requesting a significant increase in federal funding of the National Institute on Mental Health and bipolar research. Also in 2002, President George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health to help improve the mental healthcare system in America. In 2004, she served on the Michigan Mental Health Commission, appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm.
Wally has been a positive force in her community, state, and country. She serves in leadership positions in numerous civic and charitable organizations including:
- University of Michigan President’s Advisory Group
- University of Michigan Frances and Eisenberg Family Depression Center National Advisory Board
- University of Michigan School of Education Dean’s Advisory Council
- Henry Ford Health System Foundation Board of Trustees
- College for Creative Studies, Board member
- Michigan Opera Theatre, Trustee
- Rosehill Center Advisory Board
- Downriver Council for the Arts, Board Member
- German American Heritage Foundation: Member
Born in Alfershausen, Germany, Wally attended the University of Erlangen. She emigrated to the United States in 1977 and completed her education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education with honors.
"I think that if you can — if you truly believe in something — you owe it to yourself to help, to give, and to make a difference. Because ultimately that is all you leave behind."
-Waltraud “Wally” Prechter, Founder, Prechter Program