This is the season of giving, as they say. There are a lot of religions who use this time of year for reflection, charity and general goodwill. I dont see why atheists can't also use this time of year to be benevolent. Any time of year is good of course, but personally I find winter solstice to be one of the most uplifting days of the year, so why not?
I've been asked often why there aren't any atheist charities. Of course, as usual, people are just presuming or parroting things they heard. Of course there are atheist charities. And like in my videos post, I am considering charities that do not promote a specific religion to be an atheist charity.
I found most of these at the Internet Infidels discussion board (and copied descriptive text from there, apologies if that was a problem). But I thought a nice list would be better, plus I added a few more. There are useful sites like CharityNavigator to help you sort through all the charities out there. If there are comments proposing ones that I missed (and surely there are plenty), I will add them to this list, if they are highly rated (not that all of these are). So here goes:
UPDATE 2009: I apologize for not refreshing this list. No time this year. Please feel free to leave some more a-theist charities for me to include in future versions in the comments.Please read the comments for more and add your own! I know there are more good secular charities out there that I have missed. I also recommend donating so some of the excellent critical thinking podcasts out there.
Secular Charities and Aid groups:
a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack.
lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world.
The Union of Concerned Scientists
The leading science-based non-profit working for a healthy environment and safer world.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The USA's premier emergency response organization, over 91% of Red Cross spending is on charitable services.
American Civil Liberties Union
The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of constitutional protections and guarantees relating to First Amendment rights, including the freedom to practice religion and the freedom not to have religion rammed down our throats, equal protection, due process, and right to privacy.
United Nations Children's Fund
UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF provides emergency and disaster relief.
Doctors without Borders
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in nearly 70 countries.
AI’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
In pursuit of this vision, AI’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.
Oxfam International is a confederation of 12 organizations working together with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice. The Oxfams operate in over 100 countries worldwide working with local partners to alleviate poverty and injustice.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of life on Earth. An environmental group that protects natural habitats and the wildlife within them. Focuses on "science-based" initiatives.
Population Connection is the national grassroots population organization that educates young people and advocates progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth's resources. Works against faith-based policies that are supported by the Religious Right.
DefCon: Campaign to Defend the Constitution
DefCon is an online grassroots movement combating the growing power of the religious right. It includes a blog on religious freedom issues, action alerts, and in-depth articles on scientific, religious, and legal issues of the day.
The SEED foundation
National nonprofit that establishes urban public boarding schools to prepare students from underserved communities for success in college.
Project Peanut Butter
Project Peanut Butter is a therapeutic feeding program for malnourished children in Malawi and Sierra Leone, on the continent of Africa. It was founded by Professor Mark Manary, M.D., a pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and a professor of pediatric medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.
Electronic Frontiers Foundation
When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations.
Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.
Our programs serve people who have been economically, politically, or otherwise marginalized. We change our program approach to relate to their culture and circumstances, reaching out in very different ways, for example, to nomads in Tibet, women in Tanzania, or indigenous Mayans in Guatemala. Our aim is to build a bridge of compassion between our donors and the people we serve — people around the world who have the fewest resources.
International Peace Institute
The International Peace Institute (IPI) formerly International Peace Academy is an independent, international institution dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of armed conflict between and within states through policy research and development.
Issue-Specific Secularist Organizations
The ADSN Project.
The Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia's Anti-Discrimination support network (ADSN) is collecting narratives highlighting instances of bigotry against the nontheist community.
Southern Poverty Law Center
SPLC is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of hate groups.
The Alternatives to Marriage Project
The Alternatives to Marriage Project (AtMP) advocates for equality and fairness for unmarried people, including people who are single, choose not to marry, cannot marry, or live together before marriage.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Provides reproductive health care services, advocates for women's reproductive rights, and offers educational services for women.
NARAL Pro-choice America
Focuses mostly on the social and legal activism for women's abortion rights.
Womens Health Organizations
an international nonprofit organization that has been working for 60 years to make reproductive health services safe, available, and sustainable for women and men worldwide.
an international organization that works around the world to increase women's ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, and to reduce abortion-related deaths and injuries.
Teen Pregnancy Reduction
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Sadly this charity is rated with only 2 stars due to low efficiency. However their goal is highly respectable and needed, to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.
Treatment Action Campaign
campaign for treatment for people with HIV and to reduce new HIV infections. Our efforts have resulted in many life-saving interventions, including the implementation of country-wide mother-to-child transmission prevention and antiretroviral treatment programes.
Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
Challenging the myth that "there are no atheists in foxholes." There certainly are.
A national non-profit gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) agency dedicated to reducing homophobia, inequality, hate crimes, and discrimination by encouraging self-acceptance, cooperation, and non-violence.
The legal arm of the Lambda organization that protects GLBT civil rights through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
Dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Human Rights Campaign
Large organization working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights.
National Education Association (NEA) on school vouchers
Provides several arguments for the case against private school vouchers.
Pledge of Allegiance
Restore the Pledge
Support Michael Newdow in his quest to remove the phrase "under God" from the official Pledge of Allegiance, coercively recited by millions of schoolchildren every day.
Evolution/Creationism in the science classroom
National Center for Science Education
Great resource with current news and resources (including the famous "Project Steve" list!) on defending evolution and science against pseudoscience advocates.
Texas Freedom Network
The Texas Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties to counter the religious right
Boy Scouts of America discrimination against atheists, gays
Scouting For All
Composed of mostly former Boy Scouts, it is working to influence the BSA to include all participating youth members and leaders regardless of religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
Children in Poor countries
an organization committed to helping children, their families and communities in 49 developing countries around the world.
a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project. The name "Wikipedia" is a portmanteau (a combination of portions of two words and their meanings) of the words wiki (a type of collaborative Web site) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information.
Church/state separation and secularist organizations
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
A national watchdog organization (with local chapters all around the U.S.---find one near you!) dedicated to preserving religious liberty. It is open to theists and nontheists of all kinds, and is headed by a minister with the United Church of Christ (Rev. Barry Lynn) who can be seen often in the national media and news stories centering on church/state separation issues.
American Civil Liberties Union (click on the "Religious Liberty" link)
A favorite target of the Religious Right. The ACLU defends civil liberties on many fronts including church/state separation, personal privacy, and legal protection through due process. Look for a local chapter in your area to join.
People for the American Way
Progressive group that supports secular values in government. PFAW is an activist organization and PAC (political action committee) working to battle such groups as the Christian Coalition. Click the "Religious Freedom" link for action alerts and information.
Freedom from Religion Foundation
Great organization that defends the rights of nontheists in courtrooms, sponsors a fun-filled annual national convention, and publishes the popular "Freethought Today" (magazine written by and for freethinkers).
Godless Americans Political Action Committee
Endorses and supports U.S. political candidates that support secular values in government and the rights of "godless Americans." We will have our "seat at the table" in formulating public policy.
Democratic association of various individual atheists and atheist organizations. It is a great all-around resource for all-things atheist.
Alliance of leaders of various religions, worldviews, and beliefs that includes Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, agnostics, atheists, et al. It works to promote religious freedom for everyone regardless of religious beliefs as well as civic participation and civility. Nontheists can find theist allies here.
Controversial atheist organization started by the infamous Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Today it fights for the complete separation of church and state, as well as for the rights of atheists in America.
Secular Coalition for America
Vast coalition of secular and freethought organizations (including the Internet Infidels!) dedicated to sending lobbyists to Washington, D.C. to gain support for protecting the rights of nontheist Americans.
Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Explores the causes of religious belief, promotes science in public schools, maintains a list of public lecturers, sells pro-secularist books and other media, and facilitates the giving of humanitarian aid to organizations that are completely secular in nature.
National Secular Society
Supports secularism in the UK, as well as church-state separation.
The Rationalist Association is a focus for rationalist thought and debate in the UK and worldwide. The RA is the UK's leading freethought and rationalist book publisher.
Atheist Foundation of Australia, Inc.
Something for our friends Down Under -- lots of good information, book lists, humor, etc.
Organizations that promote humanism/Atheism
Center For Inquiry
The purpose of the Center for Inquiry is to contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of science and reason, and their applications to human conduct.
Council for Secular Humanism
Large organization that offers support for secular humanists through activities such as magazine publishing, conducting secular ceremonies (weddings, funerals, etc.), educational courses, and summer camps for kids that teach critical thinking skills and secular ethical values.
American Humanist Association
Promotes the spread of humanism and furthering of the humanist philosophy in the U.S. by working with and/or establishing like-minded organizations.
The Continuum of Humanist Education
Online courses available for humanists in areas such as law, science, ethics, and secular humanist philosophy.
The Institute for Humanist Studies (IHS)
A think-tank that offers news, opinions, information, and humor relating to humanism. It works to spread public awareness and acceptance of humanist principles.
British Humanist Association
The largest provider of humanist ceremonies in England and Wales. Offers services for weddings, funerals, and baby-namings as well as general resources on humanism and support for humanist organizations.
Humanist Association of Canada
Provides secular officiants, information, services, and support for humanists in Canada.
Comprehensive resource for positive atheists to learn about atheism, history, philosophy, religious freedom, and responsibility.
Unitarian Universalist Assocation
A popular "church" for atheists, agnostics, deists, very liberal Christians, etc. Check your local yellow pages for one in your community or use this website's handy Congregation locator.
A movement endorsed by several prominent nontheists to adopt a new term ("Brights") with an accompanying philosophy to describe secularists, freethinkers, atheists, naturalists, etc. with the intent of putting forth a positive, and less-stigmatized, perception of ourselves. Many nontheists have encouraged its use, while many others reject it.
The Objectivist Center
A controversial philosophy founded by Ayn Rand that embodies particular principles on various philosophical, political, economic, and religious issues. Objectivists generally are atheists, but atheists are generally not Objectivists.
Learn how to live life free of nonsensical beliefs, and develop your own scientific and critical thinking skills. Also publishes a popular monthly magazine, SKEPTIC, which can be found in major bookstores.
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)
Investigates extraordinary claims from a scientific and rational perspective. CSICOP also puts out a popular monthly magazine, Skeptical Inquirer, found in major bookstores.
American Ethical Union (AEU)
The American Ethical Union (AEU) describes "Ethical Culture" as a humanistic religious and educational movement inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society.
International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
IHEU is the sole world umbrella organization for humanist, atheist, rationalist, secularist, skeptic, laique, ethical cultural, freethought and similar organizations world-wide.
A nonprofit educational organization dedicated to defending and promoting a naturalistic worldview on the Internet. They offer thousands of outstanding essays, reviews, and critiques, covering everything from articles of general interest to scholarly papers by prominent nontheistic philosophers, scientists, historians, and others. Unlike most of our opponents, we even publish responses to our own pieces to encourage readers to make up their own minds. In addition to such encyclopedic resources, other features of the site are outlined in the Secular Web pamphlet, which readers may download, print out, and distribute, as desired.
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