Humanist groups provide opportunities for people to build community and to learn and act together for the betterment of society. To expand their impact, the American Humanist Association offers grants to help groups upgrade their capacity in areas including speaker programs, online presence, and service projects. Learn more about the recipients of the 2023 AHA chapter grants:
Humanists of Linn County are using their grant to bring Freedom from Religion Foundation Senior Policy Counsel Ryan Jayne to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, August 6. “We want to serve our membership by leading the way and speaking up as a voice for secularism.” Board members worked hard to secure a large room at the Cedar Rapids Public Library and aim to publicize the event widely to counter the dangerous erosion of church-state separation and growing Christian Nationalism.
Humanists of Greater Portland are using awarded funds to purchase a smart camera with sensitive noise-cancelling microphone and an enhanced speaker system to improve their current hybrid events and upgrade small group discussions to be more accessible to all. Their proposal identified several set-up struggles, including a “Zoom Divide” among the speaker, in-person, and online audience caused by a non-directional microphone and fixed laptop camera. The new equipment will allow them to have hybrid events even when a camera operator is not available and more natural and efficient audience participation for questions and discussions.
Anne Arundel County Secular Humanists are excited to be able to reinstate their MeetUp account, boost two high-profile Community Conversations events with Facebook advertising, compensate upcoming speakers, and provide refreshments to attendees. They aim to continue to increase membership through awareness and engagement, and be a more prominent “refuge and safe space for all who feel left out or alone in a non-secular world.”
Humanists Doing Good are using their money to pay a local graphic artist to create a new logo and a local web designer to make a new website with online membership subscriptions and newsletter capability. With assistance from these professionals, the group will refresh online information, create new brochures to distribute at events, and replace and repair tabling items. They also established connections with a shirt printer so members can wear branded materials. “Participation has been excellent in our events, but we feel we could benefit from a renewed focus on our identity, marketing, volunteers, and sense of comradery.”
Humanists of West Florida will provide reusable waterproof ponchos to 350 unhoused people because keeping dry is a serious challenge for the local population. “We will improve comfort, decrease illness and perhaps, prevent a few deaths that too often result from daily exposure to nature’s wrath.” One poncho distribution will coincide with National Homelessness Awareness Month in November to the Alfred-Washburn Daycare Center for the Homeless, which receives other needed supplies from the group regularly. Another poncho distribution will take place on December 1st to unhoused people who arrive at Martin Luther King Plaza for a free hot meal each Friday.
Congratulations to all our winners – we can’t wait to share your successes. We have some funds remaining, so grant applications are open to all AHA chapters until October 30. We look forward to providing more opportunities for AHA local groups to spread humanism and practice humanist values for society.