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Nancy Frates

CEO, The Peter Frates Family Foundation; Champion, ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE; Mentor and Business Coach

A distinguished businesswoman, Nancy Frates is the mother behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the very apex of viral philanthropy, and is a leader in the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis community.

Driven by the unacceptability of her son’s prognosis, Nancy Frates utilized her business acumen, communication skills, and mama bear drive to network, advocate, and create worldwide awareness in the fight against ALS/MND. In August 2014, her son Peter championed the historic global movement known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (ALS IBC) which ignited a media maelstrom, raising over $220 million in just five weeks.

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The historical pandemic era of our time has presented challenges for everyone. We have all experienced life-changing moments along with plenty of personal reflection about where we have been and where we are going. Simultaneously, we’ve witnessed a society filled with divisiveness, anger, and uncertainty. This isolation, anguish, sadness, and unpredictability we’ve all felt to some extent in 2020 had already happened to Nancy Frates’ family in 2012. That year, a massive curveball was thrown their way when an unforeseen diagnosis forced them to abruptly join the small army battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

In this earnest address, Nancy recounts personal anecdotes from her family’s story as they navigated a world of uncertainty, solitude, tragedy, and triumph. She tells her audience how they forever changed the trajectory of an unheard of, underfunded disease. Heralded by Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook as “a turning point in how we as a people give,” the world of philanthropy was turned upside down as the Ice Bucket Challenge raised a quarter of a billion dollars in 6 weeks through donations as low as $5, $10, and $25.

The resounding message behind Nancy Frates’ inspiration and relatable story is not to give up. In Nancy’s words, “Just keep on going and you’ll find the magic that can happen!”


On March 13, 2012, Nancy Frates’ 27-year-old son Peter was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and their family’s world changed in a moment as they were told that there is no treatment or cure and the prognosis was 2-5 years. Since that day, Nancy has immersed herself in the ALS community as an advocate and thought leader. She has traveled and networked to the offices of CEO’s, senators, congressmen, top doctors, and government authorities. She has testified in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, at the White House and to an FDA panel regarding important issues affecting the ALS community. Nancy has developed strong relationships with many ALS organizations involved in research, patient support, advocacy, and fundraising in addition to ALS priority pharmaceutical companies. She has helped build strong relationships between the ALS Association and new strategic business partners such as Facebook and Major League Baseball.

In August 2014, Nancy’s son Peter along with their family and supporters, known as “Team Frate Train”, inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to go viral, raising $220 million for the ALS Association and its global partners. After an extraordinary and heroic 8-year battle with ALS, J. Peter Frates III passed away on Dec. 9, 2019.

Nancy continues her son’s mission through her passionate speaking engagements which have taken her around the United States and the globe. She inspires others with her family’s story of resilience and determination while continuing the momentum created for their cause. Her motivating talks express gratitude as she presents the extraordinary results and updates to the progress being made in the fight for a cure. Audiences are moved and motivated to see what disruption of a space can accomplish, as she talks about the tipping point not only in the world of ALS but also in the world of philanthropy. Peter committed his life to living as a servant leader. This is the main theme of Nancy’s presentation as she tells the story of Peter’s life and the lessons that can inspire any audience. Through Peter’s example, Nancy encourages others to commit to a life of humility, empathy and servant leadership.

Nancy holds a business degree from Boston College and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Studies from Endicott College. Before devoting her life to her son’s mission, she was an accomplished entrepreneur and business coach.

She presently serves on the Board of Trustees at Endicott College and is a member of the Chairman’s Council of the National Board of Trustees for the ALS Association. She is a patient advocate for several pharmaceutical companies and works closely with many organizations which provide care services to those presently living with ALS. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Peter Frates Family Foundation which assists progressed ALS patients with Home Health Care expenses. In August 2017, New York Times best-selling authors Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge published her family’s story, The Ice Bucket Challenge. Her Ted Talk on, has been viewed over 1 million times.


"She made an extremely difficult story positive, hopeful, and inspiring. Nancy’s family epitomizes strength and one you want by your side in the time of need."

Mark O’Connell, President & CEO of Wolf & Company


"If you are fortunate to have an opportunity to hear Nancy speak, prepare yourself for an emotional and inspirational experience you will remember for a long time."

CEO, Suffolk Construction


"I think I can speak for everyone and say that Nancy was beyond phenomenal. She was inspiring, impressive, and so humble. I was excited to hear her speak, but she exceeded my expectations. I look forward to having more events with Nancy in the future."

Liz Churgin, Director of Corporate Events at Jeffries


"She was a standout for the event, and someone our attendees will be thinking about for quite a while.“

Shannon Murphy, Jefferies


"She could not have been more lovely to deal with and her message resonated so strongly with our audience. I’ve already heard some buzz from our attendees that they want to invite her to speak at future events."

Executive at Pfizer


"You could hear a pin drop as she revealed chapter by chapter of her amazing story of awareness, discovery, family, and the confrontation of inevitable loss."

Chief Development Officer, MassChallenge, Inc.


"People were very moved by Nancy and Pete’s story—moved to donate, moved to share their own stories, moved to want to know more about Pete. We were so proud to have her!"

Melissa Suster, Vice President of Associated General Counsel at AT&T


"Nancy was phenomenal! The leadership hosts and winners were thrilled. Standing O."

Midge Stone, Senior Events Manager at AT&T


"Nancy was our highest rated keynote speaker and the feedback we received from our attendees has been outstanding! Her presentation was impactful, personal, and resonated with every person in that room."

Meghan Dorsey, Director of Events at Medidata Solutions

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