FADICA awards the St. Joseph of Arimathea Medal of Service to Dick Abrams

Pictured from left to right: Vivian Shannon, Alicia Simon, Dick Abrams, Archbishop Etienne, Mike Wolohan (Photo by Melissa Timme)

In early May, Alicia Simon and FADICA Board Chair Mike Wolohan traveled to Seattle to present the St. Joseph of Arimathea Medal of Service to Dick Abrams.

St. Joseph of Arimathea, the namesake of this medal, was a private backer of Jesus’ ministry and the person who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion. St. Joseph intervened when it mattered most, not seeking the spotlight, and working behind the scenes to effectively use his wealth in service to Jesus; he lived out his discipleship in the quiet moments.  Dick Abrams personifies these traits of discipleship through humility, with significant impact on early childhood education and the children served by his generosity and leadership.

The generosity and passion of Dick and his late wife, Sharon Abrams, have made significant impact in the Archdiocese of Seattle, particularly in early childhood education (ECE). A visionary leader in the field, Dick Abrams was a primary driver of creating the $6.5 million—and growing—Fulcrum Early Childhood Education Endowment.

Since the inception of the ECE Endowment, Fulcrum Foundation has been able to support 56 Early Learning Programs with Professional Development, Small Capital Grants, Classroom Expansion, College and Certificate Programs, Curriculum and important Screening and Assessments. These programs now serve over 2,000 children in 118 classrooms dedicated to Early Learning. In just six years, enrollment in these programs has increased by 14% and expanded to infant and toddler programs, in addition to Preschool and PreK Programs.

Dick understands why early childhood education is so critical – both for children’s brain development and for character and values formation,” said Alicia Simon, Vice President at FADICA. “He was instrumental in the creation of the Early Childhood Education endowment at Fulcrum, and his impact has been tremendous!

While Dick’s leadership and philanthropy rose to our attention because of his clear, strategic focus and commitment impact, we also admire how he lives out his mission beyond financial support. For example, he makes a virtual visit to one school a month to talk with the leaders and teachers and to see education in action.

Dick has been a partner in thought leadership to Fulcrum and the Archdiocese as they build and develop programming and support for the schools. His friends at Fulcrum describe him as a visionary, advocate, and man of faith. Through this work, they say he has “renewed the Catholic school community” and “provided hope and strength” to children and families facing the challenges of these times surrounding education. Dick’s generous leadership and innovation is a high-level example of what focused, informed, and committed philanthropic leadership can accomplish.

We were honored to celebrate Dick Abrams’s ongoing legacy in Seattle, WA with his family, Archbishop Etienne, and the Fulcrum Foundation. We extend our thanks and gratitude to our member, Fulcrum Foundation, for their hospitality in coordinating this event and for their ongoing partnership in FADICA’s Catholic education work.

Congratulations to Dick Abrams for this well-deserved recognition of generosity, leadership, and faith. We thank him for his work and devotion in ensuring early childhood education is accessible and transformative to children and their families.