Get to know…Abel Frederic, Vice President of Community Impact

A quick conversation with Abel Frederic will surprise you with his wide range of talents. He is a father, a professional athlete, an executive and a community advocate to name a few.

Abel joined United Way of the Plains in June 2021 and after three years of working to improve outcomes for people in south central Kansas, we are seeing impactful results.

Under his leadership, the free tax prep program has broken records in people served, we’ve made great strides in helping our most vulnerable neighbors regain stability with their finances and their housing, and exceeded over a million books distributed to children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. While there is still more work to be done, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a milestone: Abel’s three-year anniversary at United Way of the Plains.

Abel has played a pivotal part in evolving United Way of the Plains community investment programs now known as Opportunity on the Plains, Impact on the Plains and Promise on the Plains. We hear from both newly funded and long-standing partners about their excitement collaborating with us. In many cases, that is thanks to Abel and his team looking at innovative ways to strengthen social services in Wichita and surrounding communities.

One new grant program he has championed and promoted is Promise on the Plains. This funding cycle helps close gaps and disparities in traditionally underserved communities while also building organizational capacity to strengthen diverse nonprofits doing this work. We’ve seen this grant help nonprofits of all sizes, from a one-person crew helping young men improve their life skills to family-run groups advocating for children in foster care.

Abel Frederic, United Way Vice President of Community Impact, networks with donors at an event.

“At the end of the day, everyone deserves the opportunity to be the best version of themselves if they’re willing to put in the work. I think there’s this misnomer out there that some people from marginalized backgrounds will not put in the work. Many people are willing to work hard. The question is, are others in our community willing to give them a fair opportunity?”

The work at United Way of the Plains touch’s many people in our community, from children to the elderly, people in dire need of assistance to donors willing to help with monetary gifts and their time. Abel helps ensure we are identifying the most pressing needs in the community and delivering assistance in the most impactful ways.

Abel Frederic, United Way Vice President of Community Impact, poses with a basketball and children's book as part of a literacy campaign.

“We take very seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of the donor dollar. We must make the best choices with our donor dollars. If we aren’t being strategic with those dollars, does the community really advance? That is a question we ask ourselves a lot to make sure we hold a high standard in the services we implement. Our high standards include fairness and equity. Because of those standards and the level of professionalism we place on our work, we can help people to be the best version of themselves.”

Abel is a Kansas transplant who came from humble roots with athletic experience in wrestling and mixed martial arts. Like many, the skills he learned from high school and collegiate sports have transferred into a successful career.

“There is a discipline that comes from athletic pursuits, a perseverance that comes from being an athlete. You get really hard criticisms from coaches when you are an athlete. You have to use that feedback to grow and get better.”

At Ottawa University, Abel competed at the collegiate level while obtaining a degree in political science and government. He went on to complete a law degree from Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina. Now, he is a coach at a MMA gym in Wichita.

The work Abel does is motivated by creating a stronger, more inclusive community. It stems from his childhood, watching his mother, a first generation U.S. citizen, persevering through struggles.

“When my parents came here in the late 70’s, things were a certain way. I often think of what my mother had to go through. She was a woman; a black woman and she didn’t speak English. I watched her go through a lot. She was marginalized and vulnerable. I am committed to my work because it allows me to use my life experiences, and my education, to provide a resource for someone else. My mom didn’t always have resources, she had to do a lot on her own, figure it out the hard way. She sacrificed a lot for me. The sacrifices she made aren’t ones that I have to make for my son. They aren’t sacrifices I’ll ever forget. My work is a reflection of my appreciation for what she did for me.”

A Message from the CEO

“I’ve seen first hand the impact Abel is making in our community and I am grateful to have him on our team,” said Pete Najera, United Way President and CEO. “The work is hard, the hours are long and it can take a toll on anyone. But he has persevered through it all and we have a more vibrant and resilient community because of him. Thank you Abel for a great first three years.”

Abel Frederic, United Way Vice President of Community Impact, at the launch event of Serve United.


Published On: June 14, 2024Tags:


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