For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785

Secular “Nones” Close to Raising $1 Million Walking for the Fight Against Cancer

October 16, 2012

An alliance of organizations representing a key segment of American “nones”—the 1 in 5 Americans who claim no religious affiliation, including atheists and humanists—is taking action in the fight against cancer. Coalescing under the auspices of the Foundation Beyond Belief, a charitable freethought organization, teams associated with the secular movement have so far raised $300,000 for the Light The Night charity walks, which raise funds for lifesaving research and support people battling blood cancers. And thanks to a promise of up to $500,000 in matching donations, these teams are close to crossing the $1 million threshold.

Teams representing branches of the Center for Inquiry—an international organization advocating for science, reason, and secular values—have truly shined, raising over $22,000 alone.

“It is very heartening to see such an outpouring of love and effort coming from the nonreligious community on behalf of people in need—but it’s not surprising,” said Lauren Becker, director of outreach for the Center for Inquiry. “Some may worry that more and more people are rejecting religion, but humanitarian acts like this show that we nonbelievers are deeply connected to our fellow human beings. We have a strong moral foundation; it’s just based on reason and compassion, not religious doctrine.”

Light The Night is a project of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in which local teams walk to raise money to fund cancer research and support for those afflicted. Teams affiliated with the Center for Inquiry have so far raised over $22,000 as of Monday, October 15, with more walks yet to come and more donations yet to be officially tallied. Those donations, as well as all funds raised up to $500,000 by Foundation Beyond Belief teams, are being generously matched by the Stiefel family, which includes secular activist Todd Stiefel, founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. This means that these freethought teams may be able to bring to bear $1,000,000 for this humanitarian cause.

Of all the Foundation Beyond Belief teams, CFI’s Los Angeles branch in particular is among the highest achievers, raising over $7,700 in donations.

Light The Night walks are still taking place. Information on joining a walking team can be found at or by contacting Lauren Becker at

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is