One of the many perks of being an American Humanist Association chapter is the opportunity to apply for annual Harvey LeBrun Chapter Grants ranging from $300 to $2,000. These grants help chapters develop or expand specific projects, ongoing activities, and improved procedures. This year we are proud to partially or fully fund thirteen of the twenty-three proposals submitted. Here are our 2018 grant winners:
Last Frontier Freethinkers | Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Last Frontier Freethinkers are working to provide 140 Sleep Safe baby boxes (cardboard boxes fitted with mattresses to ensure a safe sleeping environment for newborns) to a local hospital for at-risk moms. They previously raised money—with support from the AHA—to procure the boxes and now are doing donation drives to acquire essential items for mommy and baby to have a great start to life. Boxes include items such as snowsuits, clothing items, hygiene items, and parenting books. The AHA grant will ensure that every box has a sleepsack swaddle blanket—which is a necessity for baby to sleep comfortably and secure alone in the box—and a science-based board book (as well as AHA promotional material).
Greater Richmond Humanists | Richmond, Virginia
Richmond Humanists will host a conference encouraging secular activism, civic and political participation, scientific literacy, critical thinking, and the empowerment of marginalized communities. In addition to talks, they plan to work with: Diversity Richmond to explore LGBTQ issues and how they’ve been affected by our current political regime; Citizens Climate Lobby and the Sierra Club to address climate change in the face of science denialism; Hispanic American Freethinkers and Black Nonbelievers and/or Black Humanist Alliance to discuss racial dynamics, reconciliation, the resurgence of open bigotry, and prominent issues for people of color; TIES (Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science) to discuss evolution in particular and education more generally; Richmond Teachers for Social Justice to address social and economic disparity in public schools; and American Atheists, Americans United, Secular Coalition for America, Freethought Equality Fund PAC, and Liberal Women of Chesterfield County regarding political equality for nonbelievers, separation of church and state, and productive engagement with our political process.
Tri-State Freethinkers | representing Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana
Tri-State Freethinkers will develop community service projects that put more of a focus on families experiencing homelessness. Support from the AHA will help them feed the homeless and demonstrate humanist leadership to make a positive difference in their community.
End of the Line Humanists | West Suburban Chicago
A 2016 AHA grant helped expand the End of the Line Humanist’s 2017 speaker series, which bolstered their membership, made them more visible in the community, educated the public, and greatly increased the enthusiasm of the group. With the 2018 grant, they are planning to invite a secularist folk singer, a representative from the ProTruth Pledge group, and/or host a panel discussion featuring local groups on vital issues for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
Humanist Association of Connecticut
The Humanist Association of Connecticut will table at two fairs this fall to attract new members and increase awareness of the existence of humanists in Connecticut. They believe there is great potential to generate a new chapter for northwestern Connecticut and one between New Haven and Groton.
Humanists of North Central Florida
The Humanists of North Central Florida (HNCFL) will expand outreach and education specifically focusing on strengthening relationships with local minority communities. The objective is to learn how the HNCFL can offer support and solidarity on issues of race/racism. The longer-term result of this effort is to welcome increased minority participation and leadership. Funds will be used to rent space, purchase audio-video equipment, develop and print material, and provide modest compensation for speakers.
Humanist Chaplaincy at the University of Cincinnati | Cincinnati, Ohio
The Humanist Chaplaincy will launch two distinct outreach programs aimed at bringing new members into the chapter, solidifying their participation, and identifying the gaps in their understanding and/or practice of humanism so that we can design future programming accordingly. They will purchase professional-looking tabling materials (signage, tee-shirts, fliers), table on a weekly basis, and follow up on each prospect through individual “coffee dates” as well as invitations to group meetings, for example reaching out to LGBTQ folks who have recently left faith groups and are struggling to adjust to life outside them.
Wild Wonderful Humanists | Morgantown, West Virginia
The AHA grant for Wild Wonderful Humanists will enable them to purchase banners and provide speakers at local secular events such as Pi Day and Darwin Day 2019. Representation at these events will increase the group’s visibility and help them reach more potential humanists locally.
Pittsburgh Freethought Community | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Freethought Community plans to address the important social issue of white supremacy from a humanist (non-theist) perspective while creating greater awareness of AHA / PFC locally. Using the discussion guide developed by Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader of the Washington Ethical Society, and Sincere Kirabo, AHA Social Justice Coordinator, they will conduct a six-session, in-depth study program based on Tony Pinn’s book, When Colorblindness Isn’t the Answer: Humanism and the Challenge of Race. The first five sessions will consist of discussion of the book followed by a final public lecture led by Tony. They will partner with the local UU congregation, Sunday Assembly Pittsburgh, and other PFC secular partners to promote this program.
Morganton Humanist Alliance | Morganton, North Carolina
The Morganton Humanist Alliance is working to make their meetings more accessible to the deaf community by hiring professional interpreters so they can provide both current members and visitors/potential members this accommodation in order to fully participate in meetings, discussions, and social activities. Morganton is home to a campus of the North Carolina School for the Deaf so they would like to be able to reach out to its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other deaf people not connected to the school. They also intend to train any interested current members in American Sign Language (ASL). The AHA grant will be used to offset the costs of producing a high quality video presentation in ASL for their social media pages and website.
Hartford Area Humanists | Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford Area Humanists will purchase promotional materials such as pins with their logo on them to use when attending public events, rallies, marches, and when tabling. They also will create giveaways like bookmarks, flyers, and business cards for our officers to give to elected officials and anyone who expresses interest in learning more about the group.
Piedmont Humanists | Greenville, South Carolina
Piedmont Humanists’ highest priority is to establish a building fund with a goal of purchasing a small facility, rather than meeting in a public venue that would limit their program options. The grant will support their social gatherings, reusable cutlery and tableware for “Go Green” initiative, a presentation projector screen, materials for organizational rebranding and new member incentives, business cards, and a banner.
Humanists of West Suburban Chicagoland | Naperville, Illinois
Humanists of West Suburban Chicagoland will show the movie Losing Our Religion, which requires an up-front license fee. Before and after the movie, they will host socializing opportunities so that new and existing members can share stories about losing their own religion or other topical concerns.
We look forward to sharing more about the chapter projects and programs supported by the 2018 Harvey LeBrun Chapter Grants over the next eighteen months. Thank you to all who applied for a grant and congratulations again to our winners.