David McAbee (1997)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from an article in the Capper Foundation Archives published by The Topeka Capital-Journal. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

Exceptional Volunteer Presents Capper Foundation With $10,000 (1997)

by Phil Anderson

David McAbee’s volunteer work at the Capper Foundation paid off in a big way Friday.

In special ceremonies, McAbee presented a check for $10,000 from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

McAbee earned the check for being Northwestern Mutual’s “Most Exceptional Volunteer” for 1997 as part of the insurance company’s national Agent Community Service Award program.

McAbee has been a Northwestern Mutual agent for about 20 years. He has volunteered at Capper for the past eight years and currently serves as chairman of the Capper board of directors.

“I volunteer my time, my efforts, my energies and my resources to the Capper Foundation because it simply feels good,” McAbee said. “It feels good to give back to the community, and it feels good to give back to this great organization.”

Nineteen other Northwestern Mutual agents from across the nation received grants of $5,000 to benefit the community agencies in which they volunteer. More than 100 of Northwestern Mutual’s 7,200 agents throughout the United States were considered for the awards.

McAbee received the top award during the Northwestern Mutual annual agents meeting in July in Milwaukee.

A video presentation of the Milwaukee program, which included a segment on the Capper Foundation, was shown on a TV monitor during Friday morning’s ceremonies.

Many of the other 19 agents receiving awards volunteered with programs in their communities such as Big Brothers-Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Clubs.

McAbee said the committee making the selections was impressed with the work that was done at Capper on behalf of people with disabilities. The committee also took into consideration McAbee’s length of service with the organization.

During his time volunteering at Capper, McAbee has helped steer the organization from a small onsite facility reaching a limited number of children to a multi-based organization that serves more than 3,000 people a year.

Capper officials said the $10,000 would be used in the foundation’s Capital Campaign, which will include campus renovation, the acquisition of technology and program endowment.

Jim Leiker, president of the Capper Foundation, said McAbee’s award not only benefited the organization financially but also helped promote its work on a national level.

“The people who work here do wonderful work, whether anyone is looking or not,” Leiker said. “They’ve been doing that for years. So this puts the spotlight on them and gives them the recognition for a job well done.”

The Capper Foundation, founded in 1920, provides services to children and adults with disabilities. Its objective is to enhance the independence of individuals with disabilities.