GO Humanity’s Heart of Humanism Awards

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

At the heart of humanism is a simple idea: help others.

Those who take this message to heart work every day to realize a world where all people—regardless of their identity or background—can lift themselves up and access life’s basic necessities.

GO Humanity (formerly Foundation Beyond Belief) gives out Heart of Humanism awards every year to recognize sterling service by individuals and volunteer teams in their network who have made extraordinary contributions to compassionate humanism.

This year, the organization is thrilled to announce winners in the following categories, who will each receive a grant ranging from $50 to $500 to increase the impact of their work. The winners were announced at the American Humanist Association’s Annual Conference last month.

Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year comes with a $100 grant to help a freshman team increase their future impact. This year, the winner is Humanists of Tallahassee, which quickly became one of GO Humanity’s most active teams after joining in July 2021. They work with a local progressive church to provide snack and hygiene kits to people experiencing homelessness, in addition to numerous special holiday and cleanup events.

Photo of the Year

Visibility for one’s work can help improve its impact, and quality photography plays an important role. Each year, GO Humanity picks outstanding images submitted by teams in their monthly reports and their community votes on their favorites.

The winning photo this year comes from North Orlando Oasis’ invasive plant removal project, which has the team venture into the wilderness one Saturday a month to remove invasive plants. The snapshot shows them working on rosary pea and cesar weed.

Backbone Volunteers

Backbone Volunteers—which comes with a $100 grant—recognizes a team that played a consistent and reliable volunteer role in a local organization. This year, that team is Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT), which maintains monthly volunteer commitments for three organizations:

  • The Columbus Ronald McDonald House, which provides meals and housing for families of children being treated at nearby hospitals;
  • The Van Buren Center shelter, which provides housing and meals for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Adaptive Sports Connection, which helps people who need adaptive equipment or instruction to participate in outdoor sports.

Having reliable volunteers means that these organizations can put their energy into addressing other needs.

The Eat. Sleep. Volunteer. Repeat.

This award goes to the GO Team that reports holding the most events during the year. For 2021, that was Humanists of Polk County (formerly Atheist Community of Polk County) in Florida. HPC held an incredible 119 events in 2021—36 more than the team with the next highest tally!

Not including all the events they held before GO Humanity started collecting stats on their food impact, they distributed food to 1,348 people.

HPC’s events include delivering hot meals to people experiencing homelessness, providing food relief to elementary school students in struggling families, and regular cleanups of their adopted stretch of Old Dixie Highway in Auburndale, Florida.

Gimme Food and Shelter

This award recognizes a Food Security Project team with outstanding contributions to causes related to homelessness, food, and water. This year, the award goes to The Food Drive in Melrose, Massachusetts.

The Food Drive’s work includes distributing rescued, surplus, and donated food and diverting wholesome food from landfills. In just three months after joining GO Humanity’s Food Security Project, they rescued over 58,000 pounds!

Brilliance in Resilience 

This new award recognizes outstanding contributions to disaster preparation, response, or recovery. The inaugural awardee is Haitian Freethinkers, a US volunteer team with deep connections to Haiti. When the country was rocked by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August 2021, Haitian Freethinkers raised funds for a local response in the form of food, water, tents, sanitation, clothing, and other basic needs!

Humanism at Work

This largest team award is given to the team that donated the most volunteer hours during the year. For 2021, that was Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI).

In 2021, HAPI gave 3,565 volunteer hours to a large assortment of projects, including food relief for impoverished children, tree plantings, educational events on topics like reproductive health and rights, disaster relief, and regularly donating food to hospital patients and healthcare workers.

Outstanding Leader

This year’s award, recognizing an exceptional team leader, goes to Odhiambo Dans, President of the Kenya Humanist Alliance (KHA).

In 2021, Kenya Humanist Alliance held seventeen events addressing food insecurity and clean water access. They distribute fresh vegetables and food staples to the community—much of it grown on their own farms. KHA’s hundreds of beneficiaries include residents of the team’s orphanage, widows, incarcerated people, and other underserved members of their community.

As KHA’s leader, Dans’ dedication has been a crucial factor in accomplishing all they do. His involvement is hands-on, from tilling KHA’s fields to coordinating with community leaders, to giving food directly to those who need it.

In this video, Dans accepts his award and describes his work.

Heart of Humanism

The Heart of Humanism award recognizes an individual who exemplifies humanist values. This year, the recipient is Sikivu Hutchinson.

Sikivu works to empower young women of color to develop their own voices, self-identities, and political agency with Black feminist and humanist approaches. She is the founder of the Women’s Leadership Project, a Black mentoring and civic engagement program in South L.A. that uses a feminist humanist curriculum.

Sikivu has helped spearhead the creation of a #Standing4BlackGirls task force and a coalition to increase mental health, educational, and job opportunities for Black straight, cis, queer, and trans girls. She talks more about her work in this video.

Help Sikivu continue to empower young adults at womensleadershipla.org/donate.

You can support the work of these amazing teams, sponsor a specific team, or learn more about joining the program at www.gohumanity.world.

Congratulations to all award winners. We know none of them work for recognition, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it!