AHA Grants Bringing Humanism Online and to the Streets

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

The COVID pandemic isn’t stopping our local groups from finding compelling ways to introduce new audiences to humanism and put humanist values into action for communities in need. The American Humanist Association (AHA) is proud to help fund their work with our annual chapter grants. In 2021, we awarded nearly $10,000 in grants to support six projects that either share humanist programming online or provide humanist services in person.

Sharing Humanist Programming Online

Black Nonbelievers DC will use grant funds to host their online series Legacy II in the Fall of 2021, a continuation of their successful 2020 Legacy program available on the Black Nonbelievers YouTube Channel. The series aims “to affirm and educate all communities on the impacts and legacy of secular humanism, non-belief, cultural and political progressiveness.” It will feature educational problem-solving presentations and workshops on the intersection of race and humanism including:

Political Partnerships, Black Congressional Caucus & Nonbelievers
Black Humanism in the African Diaspora
Black Health: Epidemiology, Vaccines, Skepticism & Community
Young People & Youth Perspectives on Climate Change, Religiosity, Social Issues
Christianity, White Supremacy & True Liberation

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie plans to expand the reach of its Glass City Humanist podcast, hosted by Douglas Berger, using new subscription services and social media advertising. “After the pandemic forced us to meet online it also made us think about making the podcast more effective and relevant in our area. Our area is crying out for a non-religious voice of reason.” Although episodes explore issues from a Northwest Ohio perspective, guests come from all over to represent the vast secular movement and the podcast is always seeking recommendations for presentations and interviews.

Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix received funds to upgrade their YouTube channel content and advertising to attract a wider audience. Along with their videos of Sunday lectures, they are developing shorter and more concise videos like an Intro to Humanism course that will feature a series of 5-10 minute clips, a series on ethics, and a video newsletter. They’ll also be creating 3-5 minute “highlights” of their speaker presentations and experimenting with camera angles to make content more engaging.

Providing Humanist Service in Person

Humanist Society of the Suncoast will partner with Atheists of Florida to provide a monthly STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) kit to a local elementary school to use as a reward program for academic achievement. “Our goal is twofold—encourage academic curiosity in children from low-income families (the school we are currently working with has a student population, which is comprised of 60 percent that live under the poverty level) and to demonstrate that organized humanists and atheists in the community are engaged citizens for the public good.” AHA’s grant enabled the chapter to provide kits to more students and encourage children to stay in school so that they may explore their full potential.

Humanists of West Florida will partner with Food Not Bombs to provide Survival Snack Packs to unhoused people in Pensacola from October 2021 to June 2022. They previously had resources for monthly distribution and our grant will help them to expand towards weekly. Their application explained that weekend access to food for unhoused people is essentially nonexistent in their area, driving people to forage in trash or go hungry. The group’s Survival Snack Packs are biodegradable bags distributed on Fridays that contain servings of proteins and carbohydrates plus two refillable bottles of water. They are inviting media coverage of pack distributions to raise awareness of the homeless crisis and how people can take action.

Humanists of Tallahassee, similar to Humanists of West Florida, recently started a collaboration with Trinity United Methodist Church to provide snack packs weekly to the unhoused population living in downtown Tallahassee. They reach about 60 people during the one-hour session and see a need for more packs as well as the addition of toiletry and clothing items. AHA’s grant was used to increase their snack pack capacity and add hygiene kits. The group is also considering adding another distribution day or another distribution location as they’ve gained more members interested in volunteering.

Thank you to all who applied for a grant and congratulations to our grant recipients! We look forward to opening the 2021-2022 Chapter Grant Application and supporting more of our groups’ important projects.