Champion of Change: Fred Sullivan


Fred Sullivan is an activist, technician, and entrepreneur with a strong background in youth leadership and a passion for social justice. In 2009, he cofounded the Man Up Campaign – a nonprofit that works toward ending gender-based violence by engaging boys and men and starting important dialogues.

As a young adult, Fred moved from his hometown in Iowa to New York City after receiving an opportunity to join a dance company and be mentored by the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. Fred was able to make important connections within the company that gave him opportunities to work in the film department and learn how to code and develop websites at a young age. Soon enough, he was creating online content for a variety of organizations, including social justice and environmental nonprofits. It was that experience that sparked Fred’s interest in nonprofit work and eventually led to the start of the Man Up Campaign.

To Fred, the concept of ‘manning up’ means being responsible for preventing violence against women. The campaign works to engage youth on a global level by establishing inclusivity through the use of common things – such as sports, music, arts and technology – that connect people and bring them together. “Most men are good men, and we need to be more active about changing the structure,” Fred says. By structuring important discussions about gender-based violence around something relatable, the campaign engage youth and create sustainable change at the individual level.

Fred’s hard work with the Man Up Campaign has led to tremendous accomplishments for gender equality and positive change all over the world. His advice for continuing to work towards achieving gender equality? “Encourage an environment where people can envision change. Have people think about what it would be like if women were equal to men.”

Fred is one of the many inspiring people selected as part of our Champions of Change campaign, which honors individuals who have made a difference in the lives of women and girls in the Metro New York area or globally.