Frances Valdez

Executive Director

Frances joined Houston in Action as Facilitator in June 2018 and became the Executive Director in June 2019. Frances practiced immigration law for 13 years and began her career as a Clinical Fellow at the UT Immigration Clinic. She also worked for Baker Ripley working to improve access to legal services for low income immigrants. At United We Dream she developed immigration policy, supported advocacy efforts and managed civic engagement efforts. Frances has served on the board of ACLU of Texas, Culture Source, Inc., The Hollyfield Foundation, The Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, The GLBT Political Caucus, United We Dream, Latino Giving Houston and the State Bar of Texas: Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee.

What areas of expertise do you bring to this work?
My personal goal is to always be of service and a catalyst for social change and social justice in whatever work I do. I am flexible in my approach and have spent the past 20 years working interchangeably through the disciplines of law, policy, advocacy, fundraising, civic engagement and organizing. Because of my unique experience, I have been able to bridge the gap between organizations, professionals and communities that do not normally coalesce. I also bring a vision and historical commitment to improving the infrastructure in Houston that will create the social change needed for marginalized communities. 

What does the phrase “Houston in Action” mean to you?
Houston in Action is a declaration of what Houston has been, is, and always will be; a vibrant and active community that creates a path forward for all residents of this region. Houston in Action represents the collective mindset of our partners that we are stronger when we work together and keep the needs of the communities we seek to engage at the forefront of our work. Houston in Action represents a region of people who despite hardship uses the resilience of our diverse communities to always the means to thrive. 

What do you like the most about Houston and its diverse tapestry of communities?
In almost every part of Houston, you can walk into a public place and find people from numerous backgrounds and communities. We do not have all of the answers in how to create a perfect balance of power or equity, but we coexist and are made up of amazing individuals who are constantly striving to improve our community for all.

Regardless of social identity, people should have equal opportunities to participate in, and have a meaningful impact, on civic life.

United Way of Greater Houston 2020 Census Response Grant