Charlie Sitzes: A Quart of Support

Charlie Sitzes “If ignorance wins, it’s all over,” says Charlie Sitzes. Last summer we received an e-mail requesting information on how to make a bequest to the Center for Inquiry. That was the beginning of my e-mail correspondence with Charlie, leading to some phone conversations. In September, I visited Charlie. I have been honored to have the chance to get to know him. Like most of our supporters, Charlie is a very interesting person—highly intelligent, retired from a successful career, and a true freethinker.

Charlie has shared bits and pieces of his life. He was born in Missouri, the son of a sharecropper. His family had very limited resources. There was not even electricity until Charlie was twelve years old. His brother wanted him to be a truck driver, which he did for a short time until he could save enough money to take flying lessons. He became a pilot on commercial freight planes and after a year was hired by a commercial airline. For years, he held down two fulltime jobs, juggling his pilot’s schedule with operating a working ranch in Texas.

Now retired, Charlie has the opportunity to, as he says, “be on vacation for the rest of my life.” Seriously, Charlie is constantly reading and thinking. He is very concerned that people seem to have a real lack of curiosity. Charlie says that we need more people who can teach logic and critical thinking.

He discovered the writing of Paul Kurtz and Free Inquiry magazine by accident, and knew at once that he’d found a voice in harmony with his own.  He now subscribes to both Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer. He had never been a major philanthropist before. But he has come to realize that he would li­ke to help fight in the battle between ignorance and knowledge. He saw the Center for Inquiry as his vehicle.

As people age, they begin thinking about their legacy. In fact, when Charlie was considering what he could do to make his little mark on the world, he decided that he would like to do something just like what the Center for Inquiry is already doing—having a real impact on peoples’ lives.

Charlie said, “Since the machinery is already in place, I don’t have to invent the wheel, all I have to do is grease it. Since I can’t afford to buy the whole car, I can still have an impact by donating a quart of gas. You can use my money to leverage more support for the work of the Center.”

Before 2007 ended Charlie made a significant gift to the Center for Inquiry, because he understands that we need support for our programs now. He has also made a bequest to CFI, which will help sustain our work in the future. A very humble man, Charlie remarked that he is pleased that having come from such modest circumstances, he is able at this stage in his life to contribute to a cause that he feels is so very important. Charlie suggested that if everyone would step forward as he has to donate his or her quart of gas, there will be no limit to what can be accomplished.

For more information on how you can make a planned gift to ensure that your legacy is carried on, call CFI Development at 800-818-7071 or e-mail