Traverse City Record-Eagle


December 22, 2012

About the Father Fred Foundation

The Father Fred Foundation is named for Father Edwin Frederick, a Catholic priest and 31-year chaplain at Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Center, which closed in 1989.

After the shutdown, he saw a need and began serving what he called "the people who fell between the cracks of government services," sometimes providing financial assistance out of his own pocket. He didn't like the paperwork associated with government funds and relied completely on "local money raised by local people."

In 1990, he and a small group of concerned people and volunteers formed and incorporated the Father Fred Foundation as a nonprofit.

The priest's other major goal was to treat the people he served with dignity and respect and also educate local communities about area poverty and the needs of people caught in its web.

He often told people served by the agency to "Look sharp, feel sharp, and be sharp."

His advice to volunteers was to "Listen to people who come in for help and keep listening," which is boiled down today in the Foundation's motto, "Listen, care, share."

"I hope I have so far made the community mindful that there are people that need help," he said in a 1998 videotaped interview. "Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. All people are worthy. They've got life and ought to be able to enjoy life as much as anyone else. There's a lot of dignity to be given to people who have been just so unfortunate."

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