Currently national director of the United Coalition of Reason, he is the former director of communications and director of planned giving for the American Humanist Association, an organization he earlier served as editor of its national magazine, the Humanist, from 1995 to 2006, as executive director from 1984 to 1999, and as national administrator from 1980 to 1984. He was also editor of the association's membership newsletter Free Mind from 2002 to 2006 and editor of the Creation/Evolution journal from 1980 to 1991.
Edwords was president of Camp Quest, Inc., from 2002 to 2005 and on the staff of the Ohio camp from 1998 to 2008. He was also vice president of the North American Committee for Humanism from 1990 to 1992 and president of the Humanist Association of San Diego in 1978. He has served on the boards of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (1986–1999), the New York Council for Evolution Education (1982–1994), and the National Center for Science Education (1982–1992). He was chair of the American Humanist Association's Humanist Manifesto III Drafting Committee from 2002 to 2003. On August 7, 1985, he became a co-plaintiff in the successful U.S. District Court lawsuit, Asimov v. United States, against the U.S. Department of Education, brought by the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee re: magnet schools in the Math/Science bill.
Edwords was named Rationalist of the Year by the American Rationalist Federation in 1984, received the Humanist Pioneer Award of the American Humanist Association in 1986, and was named a HumCon Pioneer by the Alliance of Humanist, Atheist, and Ethical Culture Organizations of Los Angeles County in 1992.
Today, in addition to his work for the United Coalition of Reason, Edwords serves on the adjunct faculty of the Humanist Institute, is an advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance, and sits on the Human Origins Initiative, Broader Social Impacts Committee of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is widely published, frequently quoted in news stories, and has lectured throughout the United States and Canada as well as in India, Mexico, and Russia.
He has been married to Mary Caroll Murchison-Edwords since June 1980. The couple have two children: Livia born in 1984 and Julia born in 1986.
- "Frederick Edwords, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, who labels himself an agnostic." Atheism 101, by William B. Lindley, Truth Seeker Volume 121 (1994) No. 2, (Accessed April 14, 2008)
- Biography at the American Humanist Association
- "Contributors" in Scientists Confront Creationism (New York: W.W. Norton, 1983), edited by Laurie R. Godfrey
- "Fred Edwords, a longtime atheist leader who directs an umbrella group, the United Coalition of Reason," "More atheists shout it from the rooftops" by Laurie Goldstein, New York Times, April 26, 2009, (accessed September 29, 2009)
- "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- "Brief Biography of Fred Edwords" on the Secular Web. (Accessed March 5, 2012)