CFI OPP Introduces SHARE to the White House

February 9, 2010

The recent tragedy in Haiti provided the catalyst for the largest outpouring of charitable giving in United States history. Millions of individuals have contributed amounts ranging from a little as $1 to as much as $3,000,000 (donated by Tiger Woods). Through donations by compassionate skeptics, humanists, and freethinkers from around the world, SHARE--the Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort-- contributed $88,262 within one week of the disastrous earthquake. As a result of this and previous SHARE donation campaigns, the Office of Public Policy has sought to introduce SHARE to President Obama and the White House with the hope that when they send out future notices about organizations collecting for disaster relief SHARE will be on that list. The text of that letter was as follows:

February 8, 2010
President Barack Obama
In care of Jenny Y. Kaplan
Office of Public Engagement
White House
Washington DC

Dear President Obama,

I am proud to bring to your attention Skeptics and Humanist Aid and Relief Efforts (SHARE). About twenty-one years ago, SHARE was developed to provide an alternative for those who wish to contribute to disaster relief efforts without channeling their support through a religious organization. At that time SHARE was called the Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Effort and was a program of the Council for Secular Humanism. The Council has been the leading organization promoting the rights and values of secular humanists in the U.S. and abroad for the last 30 years.

In early 2010, the SHARE program was renamed Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort, still maintaining the acronym SHARE. The SHARE program was also moved under the umbrella of the Center for Inquiry. Many skeptics and secular humanists are frustrated that so many charitable organizations, especially those that help people afflicted by natural or human disasters, are affiliated with religious groups. These organizations sometimes proselytize people in need, which secular donors find deplorable. Moreover many skeptics and humanists seek a way to direct their charitable support through some channel specifically identified with the secular/reason community. SHARE provides that channel.

The money collected through SHARE goes directly to secular relief efforts in the nations or areas afflicted.

Recent campaigns include:

Earthquake in Haiti:

SHARE has collected over $85,000 for the victims of the Earthquake in Haiti. The funds are being donated to Doctors without Borders, to be used for medical supplies and medical relief.

California Wildfires in October 2007 in Southern California:

SHARE contributed $4,985 to the Los Angeles Times Wildfire Fund to help low-income victims of the California wild fires.

Hurricane Katrina:

SHARE collected over $80,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The funds were donated to Americares, a secular organization, to be used for medical supplies and medical relief.

Tsunami:

SHARE collected over $45,000 for the Tsunami victims in Sri Lanka in 2005. Arthur C. Clarke, a Humanist Laureate who resided in Sri Lanka until his death, suggested that the funds should be donated to the nonprofit organization Sarvodaya.

It is our hope in the next notice you send out about the many organizations raising disaster funds you will include SHARE.

It is important American secularist citizens are made aware of a relief effort they may donate to with the understanding it will be disbursed to secular groups doing good work. Thank you for your consideration and understanding in this matter.

Sincerely,

Toni Van Pelt
Vice President and Policy Director

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