Katelyn Abell has a passion for nonprofit organizations. Always looking to make a positive difference in the world, she has long supported causes that she believes in, and imagined founding her own charitable organization one day. In 2018, Abell, who works at Southfield City Centre’s IHS Markit, dragged her brother Bryan Abell to an event for local nonprofit Fleece & Thank You, which provides colorful fleece blankets to children undergoing hospital treatments.
She said he loved the feeling of giving back and recognized the power of helping others.
“My brother was really encouraged to establish his own nonprofit,” says Abell, adding that he had been participating in athletic challenges to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. “He wanted to do something to help military men and women and he asked me to be a co-founder for a 501(c)(3).” In January 2019, Abell and her brother officially founded the Stronger Warrior Foundation.
The foundation’s flagship initiative is called Mission Resupply. “The program is centered around sending care packages to deployed men and women overseas. They could go to Italy or Afghanistan or Iraq,” Abell says. Each member of the designated platoon will receive a hand-built wood crate filled with wish list items.
Prior to the pandemic, the Stronger Warrior Foundation partnered with companies to get raw supplies to build the crates, and with schools and scouting organizations to decorate and fill the crates with toiletries, hygiene products, photos and other items. As a special item, the Stronger Warrior Foundation adds in a dry fit shirt with its foundation logo. Each crate costs about $40 to create, and individuals can sponsor crates or participate in fundraisers to help fund crates for a platoon.
“The shirts are really nice, and they are the same color as their uniform, so we know they will get good use out of it. It’s one of the small tricks my brother knows from being part of the Army,” Abell says.
A second program of the Stronger Warrior Foundation provides support to disabled veterans right in their own homes. Called the Adaptive Warrior program, this effort focuses on financial support for adaptive living additions to homes or vehicles. “We might put in a wheelchair lift, for example,” Abell says.
In addition, the Stronger Warrior Foundation supports a Health & Wellness program, which provides community members with all the tools needed to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Through exercise and nutritional instruction, the Health & Wellness program serves to support individuals and help them meet their fitness goals.
Even the Stronger Warrior Foundation’s website has supportive resources through its Warrior Journal. This section of the website has inspirational stories and tips for living a healthier life, emotionally, mentally and physically.
Most recently, In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Stronger Warrior Foundation held a targeted campaign to donate more than 500 face shields to frontline medical workers in local hospitals.
Like many nonprofit organizations, the Stronger Warrior Foundation is able to fulfill its mission through the support of partners and donors. In 2020, the single largest donor to the Stronger Warrior Foundation has been Iknowvate, an IT outsourcing service provider located at One Towne Square in the Southfield City Centre.
“Our organization is so thankful to have local companies like Iknowvate give corporate sponsorships to the organization. Their generous donation has helped us send warrior crates overseas to deployed men and women,” Abell says, adding that a portion of Iknowvate’s donation helped the Adaptive Warrior Program.
“When a member of the Southfield City Centre business community can fulfill a dream of helping others and then partner with a nearby business for financial support to help make that happen, that’s a testament to the value of leveraging community resources and relationships to build a better world,” says Shelly Freeman, business & economic development director for The City of Southfield. “We’re continually amazed by the great things that come out of the Southfield City Centre business community. We are just looking to see what’s next.”
Learn more about the Stronger Warrior Foundation at strongerwarriorfoundation.org.