Each year, the American Humanist Association (AHA) is excited to provide chapter grants to support inspiring humanist projects across the country. This year, it was very rewarding to be able to give grants to all our applicants, especially to some groups hit hard by recent events. Here are the local groups working to improve their outreach and networking that were awarded grants:
The Humanist Community in Silicon Valley is striving to promote the group and attract more members through advertising. Initially, organizers were interested in using a local weekly paper with seemingly good outreach to promote their work. With encouragement from the AHA, the project is now an advertising experiment to compare results from print media and online social media. This will give the group a better sense of how to advertise and measure success for future campaigns. The Community is saving up for physical space and understands they’ll need more dedicated members and donors to help make that a reality.
AHA affiliate Memphis Freethought Alliance is rebranding to become a new AHA chapter called Muddy Waters Freethought Society. Their comprehensive rebranding plan will take a lot of hard work to accomplish. AHA is happy to help them begin their journey by funding the first and most immediate step of updating their logo, website, and social media. Having a dynamic online presence and a clear humanist message will allow them to engage more folks interested in supporting their work.
Stanislaus Humanists are not only saving for a physical space but recently endured a theft and a fire that caused them to lose some valuable marketing materials, making it difficult for them to publicize their group. Their grant will help them produce new table covers, banners, and brochures so they can again have a presence at local events. Tabling at area festivals and conferences is a great way to have a strong presence and show up for causes we care about so people know what humanism is and what our communities do.
Secular Humanists of Rochester participate in various service projects that bring their group out into the community: a local road clean-up, food bank volunteering, and community events like Rally for Abortion Justice, Eco-fairs, Juneteenth Jubilee. But they realized they weren’t effectively raising awareness of their group. Their grant will enable them to produce branded items, including t-shirts, tablecloths, and signs, so they can more clearly represent themselves as humanists when in the community. “While we don’t do these things for personal recognition,” wrote Scott Ehrlinger in the proposal, “we do want to spread the word about the good we do and let others know there are groups doing good that are not tied to religion.”
Florida Humanist Association runs a biennial FREEFLO Conference (aka Freethought Florida) to gather humanists, atheists, and agnostics in Central Florida for multiple days of informative presentations, networking opportunities, exhibitors, and entertainment. For their March 4-6 event, their AHA grant purchased supplies needed so their attendees could assemble hundreds of Hi-Five Snack Packs for children who live in homes with food scarcity. Pack contents included cereal, shelf-stable milk and juice, fruit cups, and more. In the past, their conference service projects have had more time and people than supplies, so the grant filled an important need.
Inspired by FREEFLO, Humanists of West Florida collaborated with the Humanists of Tallahassee to develop the first assembly of humanist, freethinker, and secular groups in the Gulf Coast region (which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida), a highly religious and conservative area. The Gulf Coast Conference—with the theme of “Building Bridges Along the Gulf Coast”—will gather over two dozen groups in historic DeFuniak Springs, FL, on Saturday, June 25. AHA’s grant will help the groups secure the space rental, provide speaker stipends, and offer refreshments to attendees. We’re excited to see what other collaboration opportunities grow from this assembly.
Thank you to all who applied for a grant, and congratulations to our current grant recipients! Stay tuned for more support opportunities for AHA local groups and individuals dedicated to spreading humanism and practicing humanist values in society.