The Stephen Girard Society

Since establishing the Stephen Girard Society in July 2009, we are pleased to announce that we have over fifty people who are now lifetime members. The honorary Society was established to recognize those individuals who have notified us of their intention to make a bequest or other deferred gift to the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, or the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. We hope that you will consider including the Center for Inquiry in your estate plans—or please let us know if you already done so.

image of Stephen GirardWho is Stephen Girard? A Man Before His Time

Born in Bordeaux, France, in 1750, Girard went on to become a naturalized American, philanthropist, and banker. He personally saved the U.S. government from financial collapse during the War of 1812. In 1793, Girard responded to a yellow fever epidemic by staying in Philadelphia to personally help the sick and dying. He devoted much of his fortune to philanthropy, particularly the education and welfare of orphans. He set aside the bulk of his estate for the establishment of a secular school. The wording of his will indicates that he did not want the students to be influenced by religious dogma or sectarianism.

Girard Society Recognition Includes:

  • A special welcome letter with a certificate
  • A limited edition gift
  • Your name on a special plaque at the Center for Inquiry
  • Invitations to special events

To learn more about becoming a member of the Stephen Girard Society or making a bequest, please call the CFI Development office at 800-818-7071 or email