Donald Fracassi was raised in Southfield, married Karen Fair, a Southfield High School graduate, and raised six children in Southfield. Fracassi graduated from Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills. He attended the University of Detroit and Lawrence Technological University (LTU). After graduation, he established his first business at the young age of 21.
During Fracassi’s unprecedented tenure as Southfield’s Mayor (30 years), Southfield grew from a rural farming community to one of the Midwest’s leading business hubs. Fracassi marshaled over 100 Fortune 500 companies to settle and call Southfield home. Its residential population has grown to over 71,000 with golden skyscrapers and over 27 million square feet of office space that welcomes a working population of over 175,000 each day. He improved the quality of life for all Southfield residents and visitors. City services that we take for granted today were first implemented in Southfield under Fracassi’s careful watch; the first 911 Emergency System in Michigan, the first Emergency Medical Service System (EMS) and Paramedics program in the entire United States, curb-side recycling programs, assisted senior living developments (McDonnell Towers and Woodridge Apartments), State SmartZone designation, new court building, new police building and City pavilion to name a few.
As Mayor, Fracassi consistently had budgets approved on time and the City built a budget surplus into a “rainy day fund” of over $8 million. He lead the City of Southfield during its largest period of growth from 1967-2001 and he played a major role in building strong relations with all levels of government, Federal, State, County, and local municipalities. He founded the Eight Mile Boulevard Association in 1975. Fracassi negotiated with Japan and Lawrence Technological University to build the first carbon fiber bridge in the United Sates.
Southfield was honored with the National Civic League’s award of “All-American City”. This award is given to only 10 communities in the United States recognizing the communities ability to work together to tackle community-wide challenges and achieve uncommon results.
Fracassi is a man of great dedication and commitment to his community. This is evident with the many awards and honors he has received. The Jewish War Veterans, Ladies Auxiliary, the Southfield Business and Professional Women's Club, and the Air Force Association Straubel Chapter #369 have all recognized his outstanding service with numerous honors. Fracassi has proudly served as the Honorary Co-Chair of the United Negro College Fund Mayors' Scholarship Ball and served on the Providence Hospital Board of Directors.
Fracassi is far from done! He loves the City of Southfield and sees so much more that needs to be done to continue the legacy of Southfield as “The Center of it All!”
In 2003, Fracassi ran for City Council and won. Since taking office, he is working hard to revitalize the Northland Mall site in the Downtown Development district and redevelop the Southfield City Centre area into a more livable and sustainable destination where residents can live, work, and play.
In 2015, Council President Fracassi was called again to step-up and fill the vacated position of Mayor until November. Southfield utilizes the Council-Manager form of government, and thus is governed by the City Council and City Administrator for day-to-day business. Fracassi is running for one of the four available City Council seats in November. He is actively seeking public support for new revenues to protect education, fund road improvements, and maintain public safety.