AT A GLANCE


36

Lives Saved by Secular Rescue

$96K

Raised to Save Lives

11

Bills Lobbied by Our Members

Message from the President and CEO

There is only one organization that stands against all of the damaging mythologies people cling to without evidence, and that’s the Center for Inquiry.

Unlike other groups with narrower goals, CFI brings the rigor of critical thinking to all claims of supernaturalism and magical thinking. We shine the light of reason on religious claims as well as those of alternative medicine practitioners. We act to protect people from the charlatanism of psychics, the quackery of homeopathy, and the empty promises of preachers.

We are advocating in the courts and the halls of Congress. We are building freethinking communities in cities and colleges across the country and around the world. We are supporting science teachers in their classrooms and at teacher conferences. And we are standing up for the rights of atheists and free expression at the United Nations and other international bodies.

We litigate, lobby, educate, rescue, and debunk. All toward one purpose: Advancing the cause of reason and science.

Of course, 2017 provided its own special challenges for the reality-based community. The Trump administration is top-heavy with religious Right extremists and science deniers.

President Trump has promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment and to put tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into private school vouchers. He’s given top appointments to a pack of religious zealots such as Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, and Jeff Sessions—not to mention Mike Pence, whose lead Trump has followed with their dangerous expansion of “religious freedom.” This most irreligious of presidents is lavishing rewards on his religious Right supporters like a king opening the royal granaries.

Trump’s picks for the federal judiciary are especially consequential, with many appearing to hold more fealty toward the Bible than the U.S. Constitution. And at the U.S. Supreme Court, we are a single vote away from the emergence of a new doctrine that enshrines religious privilege in law.

But Trump’s administration provides CFI with a double-whammy, as it also embraces the science illiteracy of the anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers.

CFI is nonpartisan, but we don’t back down when our core values—the values of the Enlightenment—are under attack. Along with its subpart, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, CFI is pushing back against this onslaught. But we could not do it without you and your generous support.

Thank you for standing up for reason, science, and secularism. You help make us strong.

Sincerely,

Robyn E. Blumner

Pillars of Progress


Secular Rescue: An Underground Railroad for Atheist Activists

Religious fanatics have targeted secularists for slaughter in the streets, hoping to terrorize the critics of religion into silence. The Center for Inquiry has lost friends and allies in these attacks, and we have dedicated ourselves to doing all we can to bring to safety those whose lives are in danger for speaking their minds.

CFI’s Secular Rescue identifies those writers, activists, and everyday citizens in countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Iraq who are under threat of violence and death, doing all we can financially and diplomatically to help them escape and live. The Atlantic profiled Secular Rescue and its successes at the beginning of 2018, calling it the “Underground Railroad for atheists.”

  • Since its launch, Secular Rescue has given relocation assistance to 36 people and their families so they can begin new lives free from fear. About 30 additional cases are now under review.
  • Secular Rescue earned international recognition when Richard Dawkins introduced the program to audiences of NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon and Real Time with Bill Maher, as well as with profiles of some of those who have been helped in Scotland’s Sunday Herald.
  • Lubna Yaseen, a chemical engineering student from Iraq, faced constant threats against her safety over her outspoken advocacy of secularism and human rights. CFI helped her escape to the United States, and she told her story on The Rubin Report.

Inspiring a Love of Science in Students and Teachers with TIES

The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Studies (TIES) has quickly become one of the brightest stars in CFI’s constellation of programs.

Led by the brilliant and dedicated Bertha Vazquez, its mission is to train middle school science teachers in the most up-to-date concepts of evolutionary science, preparing them to better communicate their subject, navigate anti-evolution backlash, and inspire young minds to develop a love of science.

I have to remind myself every day why I am working so hard; I want to share the thrill that ‘there is grandeur in this view of life’ with America’s young people.”

–Bertha Vazquez

TIES has made incredible progress in the space of a year:

  • TIES held nearly 50 workshops across the country while recruiting a committed bureau of facilitators.
  • The academic journal Evolution: Education & Outreach published a paper by Bertha comparing states’ standards for the teaching of evolution, and the Palm Beach Post ran an op-ed by Bertha opposing Florida’s new anti-science public education law.
  • In November, Bertha was honored by the National Association of Biology Teachers with their Evolution Education Award.

Ms. Bertha Vazquez’s passion and energy continue to inspire her students, her fellow teachers, and our community.”

–National Association of Biology Teachers

Diluting the Danger of Homeopathy

Homeopathy is modern-day snake oil. It’s a $3 billion consumer fraud with no valid medicinal value. Yet CFI is one of the only groups fighting the hands-off treatment the homeopathic industry has received from federal regulators. And we are having a real impact.

CFI convinced the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to act. In 2016, the FTC told retailers that they had to warn consumers that homeopathic remedies have no scientific basis, an admission that they essentially do not work. And after years of sustained effort, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would take a tougher stance against homeopathic products that endanger public safety.

Then we tried to get CVS Health, the largest pharmacy chain in the United States, to follow the new rules.

Go into any CVS and there are evidence-based remedies for colds and earaches sold alongside homeopathic products claiming to treat the same ailments. But there is no warning to consumers that one remedy has met scientific standards and the other is an expensive placebo. This is unacceptable.  

Finally, in 2017, after repeated requests to CVS to follow the FTC mandate were ignored, CFI brought a consumer action against CVS Health. CFI filed a formal complaint with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to stop CVS from defrauding consumers with these useless products.

WEB STATS


4,723,000

CFI Websites 2017 Total Pageviews
393,500 Average Monthly Pageviews

5,500,000

RDFRS Website 2017 Total Pageviews
454,000 Average Monthly Pageviews


10,223,000

Total Organization Pageviews in 2017


Advocacy


U.S. Policy

Advocacy Successes

  • Putting a stop to an attempt to proselytize to public school children, we convinced the Board of Education in Allegany County, Maryland, to remove an unconstitutional religious display at the entrance to a middle school classroom, avoiding an expensive legal battle.
  • The CFI-backed D.C. Death with Dignity Act remains in place despite congressional Republicans’ threats to undermine the will of the District and scrap the law, because supporters like you spoke out when called.

Celebrating Secular Celebrants

When a religious couple gets married, they can have this most deeply meaningful life milestone legally solemnized by someone who reflects their beliefs and values. But in most of the country, nonreligious couples must either take part in a religious ritual or settle for officiation by a government employee. We think that’s not good enough, and it is an unconstitutional privileging of religious beliefs.

That’s why CFI trains and certifies Secular Celebrants and why we have fought to make Secular Celebrants a legal option for couples in states across the country. CFI won a historic victory on this issue in Indiana in 2014, and we continue to make real progress in the courts and in state legislatures:

Fighting Religious Privilege at the Supreme Court

The right to religious freedom is being twisted into a license to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans and anyone else who does not conform to someone else’s dogma. In the Supreme Court case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a wedding cake baker claims his faith gives him the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. CFI’s top legal minds, General Counsel Nick Little and CFI Board Chair Eddie Tabash, argued to the Court that ruling for the baker would “fatally undermine decades of anti-discrimination law in this country,” and our amicus curiae was co-signed by American Atheists and the Secular Coalition for America.

We know the difference between a city council and a board of education: one makes laws, the other literally decides what our children will be taught. So when sectarian prayer was ruled to be acceptable at school board meetings by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, we petitioned the Supreme Court to take up the case, arguing that the coercive impact of government-endorsed prayers on teachers, parents, and public school students must not be ignored.

Science

Science Is Real

Science denial found new inroads into the centers of political power this year, but CFI and its allies have made clear that we will never back down in the fight for facts and real science.

  • We showed how polygraph tests are junk science, no better than a coin flip for telling lies from truth, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly sought to subject White House staff to lie detector tests.
  • We called on the Centers for Disease Control to stand firm for the integrity of science and the dignity of marginalized communities when they were pushed to avoid using terms such as evidence-based, science-based, fetus, and transgender in official documents.
  • We strongly denounced one of the most overtly dangerous and absurd ideas to come from President Trump: the appointment of anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy to a White House “vaccine safety” commission. Kennedy was central to spreading deadly falsehoods linking vaccines and autism, but the backlash seems to have been enough to stall the formation of this needless commission.

International

Fighting Blasphemy Laws and the Persecution of Nonbelievers around the World

Beliefs cannot be not rights-holders. How could an intangible concept — which could not appear before a court of law, or a jury of its peers, to explain or defend itself — hold a right equal to that of a living, breathing person?”

– Michael De Dora

  • Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michael De Dora, then CFI’s chief representative to the United Nations, spoke eloquently for the rights of human beings over ideas, for free expression and freedom of belief, and for putting pressure on states that have failed so badly to uphold these rights.
  • CFI was honored to host Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, in Washington, D.C., where we cosponsored a public forum with Freedom House and joined Shaheed for meetings with members of Congress and White House officials.
  • At the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, CFI was ably represented by human rights activist Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, who delivered a powerful statement against the horrific practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • Shining a harsh spotlight on the Malaysian government’s appalling persecution of atheists, Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, served as our representative for the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council. (Video)

There is no room for this kind of religious persecution in a world community that honors freedom of conscience.”

– Robyn Blumner

Blasphemy Targeted on Facebook

A man in Denmark was charged with the crime of blasphemy for posting a video of himself burning a Quran to Facebook. CFI called upon Denmark, which was the flashpoint for violent protests over blasphemy over cartoons of Mohammed, to repeal its largely ignored blasphemy law.

Facebook sent a delegation to Pakistan to discuss the government’s efforts to track down Pakistanis posting “blasphemous” content. We urged Facebook to protect its users and to use its leverage to encourage Pakistan to “abandon the theocratic, reactionary scapegoating of critics and dissidents.”

COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMENTARY


11

Action Alerts

324

Blog Posts on Free Thinking

30,600

Email Subscribers


2,000,000

Total Emails Delivered


Community


Richard Dawkins Engages Audiences and Sparks Debate

Richard Dawkins, whose book The Selfish Gene was named in a Royal Society survey as the most influential science book in history, twice toured the United States for live events sponsored by the Center for Inquiry. Over 1,500 people purchased tickets to see Richard as he headlined seven engagements in six cities.

Joining Richard on stage for fascinating, unscripted conversations were luminaries from the worlds of science, journalism, and entertainment:

  • Bestselling author of books such as Moneyball and The Big Short, Michael Lewis
  • New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer
  • Pulitzer Prize–winning humorist Dave Barry
  • Evolutionary scientist Jerry Coyne
  • Author and actress Annabelle Gurwitch
  • Real Time with BIll Maher comedy writer Adam Felber

CSICon Las Vegas 2017: Doubling Down on Skepticism

For the second year in a row, hundreds of skeptics assembled in Las Vegas for CSICon, and despite the cloud of unreason emanating from the White House, presenters and attendees made CSICon 2017 the best yet.

The four-day event featured an amazing roster of speakers that included Michael Mann, Eugenie Scott, Britt Hermes, Joe Nickell, Joe Schwarcz, and even a member of the European Parliament, Teresa Giménez Barbat. Plus:

  • Richard Weisman held a special on-stage conversation with Richard Dawkins
  • Maria Konnikova was awarded the 2016 Balles Prize in Critical Thinking for her book The Confidence Game
  • Filmmaker Natalie Newell presented the first public screening of her new documentary Science Moms.
  • Susan Gerbic made it her quest to conduct interviews with as many CSICon speakers as possible and succeeded in publishing well over a dozen for CSICOP.org.
  • During the conference, Communications Director Paul Fidalgo blogged furiously to bring real-time updates and analysis of the presentations for CFI Live at CSICon 2017 (at centerforinquiry.live).

CSICon will be back in Vegas in 2018 and bigger than ever. CSICon 2018 takes place October 18–21 at the Westgate Resort & Casino, and not a moment too soon.

560

Attendees for 2017
15% more than 2016

We’re Openly Secular, and We Vote

Openly Secular is a campaign designed to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance of the nonreligious. This year the campaign’s roster of celebrity endorsements added comedian, author, and actress Annabelle Gurwitch, who made a touching and funny video for the campaign, telling our community, “Being secular people holds us to a responsibility to our community and to our planet that I feel is an extremely honorable way of living.”

On Openly Secular Day 2017 (October 20) 1,670 people sent a total of 12,645 messages to their elected officials in Congress and statehouses to show them that they have a large and active bloc of secular values voters that demands to be heard.

CFI Branches


From protesting and lobbying their representatives to hosting educational lectures and social gatherings, CFI’s local branches ramped up their efforts to build engaged and active communities of secular humanists, skeptics, atheist, and freethinkers.

CFI COMMUNITIES


23

CFI U.S. and International Branches

91

CFI On Campus Affiliate Groups


1,500

Total Events held by CFI Branches


Women’s March

The Women’s March on Washington on January 21 was a truly historic event, and CFI branches were there in force, organizing members in Michigan, Austin, Indiana, and Western New York to stand for women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, church-state separation, freedom of expression, and more. CFI Indiana Executive Director Reba Boyd Wooden was tapped to address the crowd at the Indianapolis march.

March for Science

Pushing back against the forces of climate change denial, creationism in schools, fake medicine, and more, CFI branches took to the streets for the March for Science, taking on leadership roles at marches across the country.

  • CFI Indiana’s Reba Boyd Wooden was one of eight speakers at the 10,000-strong Indianapolis march.
  • In Lansing, CFI Michigan was the sole sponsoring organization of the march and Program Manager Jennifer Beahan gave a rousing speech to an estimated crowd of 6,000.
  • CFI Los Angeles Executive Director Jim Underdown performed a fake psychic reading on the main stage for the L.A. march.
  • CFI Northeast Ohio and CFI Western New York were intimately involved in the months-long planning processes for their local marches.

Getting Enlightened and Lightening up

Educational lectures at CFI branches featured topics such as fake news, free will, evolution, and medical marijuana. Plus:

  • Branches offered great interactive educational programming, such as CFI Portland’s eclipse viewing party and CFI Austin’s Darwin Day extravaganza that attracted over 500 participants.
  • CFI Northeast Ohio and CFI Indiana organized lobby days to educate members on engagement in the political process and to meet with legislators about our core issues.
  • CFI Michigan celebrated its 20th anniversary, and its Secular Summer Retreat had 85 attendees enjoy a full weekend of outdoor activities.

New Digs on the West Coast

CFI’s Los Angeles community made a big transition in 2017, as they moved into a new home after the sale of their property at the Steve Allen Theater. The new facility on West Temple St. is closer to downtown L.A., with spacious and beautiful offices and a theater that will be used for all kinds of events, including the branch’s Feed Your Brain lecture series. In 2018, they will work on improving the theater, installing a kitchen and cafe, and even opening a small bookstore. The members of the CFI community in Los Angeles are putting in the effort to make this new place their own.

International Branches and Affiliates

The Center for Inquiry is not merely a U.S. operation. International branches and affiliates, widely ranging in size and scope, work to advance our mission in countries around the world. Here are just a few highlights of their work in 2017:

  • CFI Kenya is the only humanist organization in Kenya with a physical office location and resources aimed toward the advancement of science, reason, and freedom of inquiry. CFI Kenya runs the amazing Humanist Orphans program, providing children with the resources they will need to attend school, and in 2017 they worked to establish the new Ronald Lindsay Library, named for CFI’s previous president and CEO.
  • CFI China has established seven sub-branches across four provinces. Their work in 2017 included translating freethought and science books into Chinese, conducting field research on science and culture, taking part in academic conferences, and building a strong social media presence.
  • CFI Croatia has been helping the victims of fake psychics, “energy healers,” and other charlatans by educating the victims on the techniques that were used on them and rebuilding their self-confidence and dignity.
  • CFI Poland works to hold events such as debates and lectures, engage with scholars on topics such as secularism and blasphemy, and publish and translate secularist books.

CFI On Campus

Young people on campuses across the country have so much energy and talent that they want to use to advocate for reason and science, and the CFI On Campus program is there to guide and foster this new generation of leaders. Secular humanist, skeptic, and atheist student groups are provided with promotional materials, grants for large speaker events and conferences, and guidance for group leaders as they learn how to run successful campus freethought organizations. Many groups got involved in their local March for Science and organized large-scale educational events, such as the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers’ Darwin Week and the Secular Society of MIT’s creative Carl Sagan Day celebration.

SOCIAL MEDIA


14,200

CFI Youtube Subscribers

46,000

CFI Twitter Followers

54,600

CFI Facebook Likes


286,500

RDFRS Youtube Subscribers

77,000

RDFRS Twitter Followers

1,570,000

RDFRS Facebook Likes


Inquiry


Skeptical Inquirer

Having just celebrated 40 years in publication, Skeptical Inquirer took the challenges to science and reason head-on with timely and vital features. Highlights:

  • David Helfand warned how the public is being turned into “Google-fed zombies,” providing strategies for navigating the new Misinformation Age.
  • Jeanne Goldberg analyzed the way science has been politicized throughout history and the danger it poses to democracy.
  • Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl waded through modern conspiracy theories such as “Pizzagate” to understand how these lies become legends.
  • Philip J. Senter answered the question posed by young-Earth creationists: Could dinosaurs breathe fire? (No.)

Skeptical Inquirer also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the publication of Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene with a special issue and the amazing James Randi made a triumphant return to the magazine he helped found with a new column.

25,750

Skeptical Inquirer Circulation

Free Inquiry

Free Inquiry, the journal of secular humanism, grappled with some of the deepest questions of values and meaning for secular humanists.

  • World-renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett served as honorary chair for a “symposium in print” on naturalism in philosophy. Spanning three issues, the series featured contributions from luminaries such as Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Russell Blackford, John W. Loftus, and Stephen Law.
  • Blasphemy was tackled in a special feature by Flemming Rose, former cultural editor at Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten and the man responsible for commissioning the famous “Danish cartoons” that sparked violent protests across the Muslim world.
  • Another provocative issue celebrated the role of blasphemy in art with contributions from blasphemous artists and a cover that featured a telling depiction of the Prophet Mohammed. 

12,800

Free Inquiry Circulation

Prove Your Powers to the Investigators

It’s not enough to claim to have supernatural powers. (Or, at least, it shouldn’t be.) The Independent Investigations Group (IIG) wants to see it for themselves. Founded in 2000 and based out of CFI Los Angeles, IIG investigates and tests paranormal and extraordinary claims from mind-readers to dowsers to mediums.

Anyone who can successfully prove they have the powers they claim—under proper observing conditions—will win IIG’s $100,000 Challenge. With so many self-proclaimed psychics, mediums, and spellcasters out there, you might think that IIG has had to pay up many, many times. But so far, no winners. Ever.

A favorite example of testing paranormal powers in 2017 featured a martial arts expert who claimed he could knock people off balance without touching them. Provided with three willing and blindfolded subjects, he failed to knock anyone off balance…except maybe himself.

Freethought’s Rich History Brought to Light

Take a journey into a pivotal chapter of American history, spanning over two-dozen towns and more than 100 sites in west-central New York, telling the story of the country’s struggles for secularism and freethought, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and more. Take a trip down the Freethought Trail, a project of CFI’s Council for Secular Humanism.

The Freethought Trail underwent a major expansion in 2017, expanding to 112 historical sites and covering even more of the history of abolitionism and utopianism. Also expanded was coverage of additional women who were pivotal to winning women’s suffrage and advancing women’s rights.

Thanks to a generous grant from the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust of San Diego, California, the Freethought Trail has undergone a complete redesign of its deeply researched website. The new site, featuring a greatly improved user interface and all-new graphics, went live in February 2018.

The Freethought Trail is also home to the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, honoring “The Great Agnostic,” showcasing Ingersoll’s originality, his wit, his power as a persuader, and his role in history—right in the Finger Lakes home where he was born. The Johnson Trust’s grant will also help underwrite a conference in Syracuse, New York, on August 18–19, 2018, celebrating the museum’s 25th anniversary.

Reasonable on the Internet? Inconceivable!

Reasonable Talk is CFI’s online video series, where the passionate and brilliant thinkers, writers, and activists at CFI events share their insights to enlighten minds, spark debate, and inspire action. Seasons 3 and 4 of Reasonable Talk brought some of the best presentations and conversations from Women in Secularism 4 and CSICon 2016, including The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova on con artists, Dr. Paul Offit on the opioid epidemic, and unscripted conversations with Richard Dawkins and James Randi…and much more! Season 5 is already underway, with talks from CSICon 2017.

TESTIMONIALS


Kentaro Yamada

“I still remember the first time I came to CFI Indiana almost seven years ago. Since then, my family and I have been learning English at the CFI English as a New Language class, and now CFI Indiana is an important part of my life. I have met many people and made many friends. CFI Indiana is always open to people for free discussion as long as it is fact-based and science-based. I will continue to support CFI because it provides our community an important place for free discussion.”

Vicki Smith

“CFI had always been a huge help to our campus organization and after spending a summer interning for them, I see there is so much more they do for people on a local, national, and even international level. Those who work and volunteer for CFI have a personal passion for the organization’s mission that inspires those around them. I am grateful I had the opportunity to get to know CFI from the inside and will always carry the experience with me.”

Inside CFI


The People Behind it All

As the Center for Inquiry continued to evolve as a national organization, it was reinvigorated with new talent joining the staff and familiar faces taking on new roles

  • Jason Lemieux became our new director of government relations. Coming from a career on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. Marines, he takes on the enormous task of leading the organization’s national advocacy efforts.
  • Marc Kreidler was promoted to director of digital products and strategy, and stepping into Marc’s previous position as web content coordinator was Alexander Nicaise, a recent University at Buffalo graduate in communication design.
  • Matt Cravatta, a CFI veteran of almost fifteen years, took the reins of the Secular Rescue program, in addition to his duties managing CFI’s print and direct mail operations.
  • Cody Hashman, a part of CFI’s outreach staff since 2013, stepped up to undertake the nearly impossible: mastering the CFI and Richard Dawkins Foundation databases as the new systems administrator.

Point of Inquiry: The Next Generation

Communications Director Paul Fidalgo, author of the daily news roundup The Morning Heresy, stepped behind the microphone (and into the editing software) as the new host and producer of CFI’s flagship podcast Point of Inquiry, where he’s had fascinating conversations with brilliant and accomplished guests:

Earlier in the year, previous hosts Josh Zepps and Lindsay Beyerstein interviewed a wide range of fascinating guests, including Daniel Dennett and Dahlia Lithwick.

898,000

Total Point of Inquiry Downloads
42,000 average downloads per episode

Joe Nickell, Media Darling

When the news media wants to get the reality-based perspective on ghosts, aliens, and other extranormal phenomena, they know who to trust: World-renowned investigator Joe Nickell.

CFI Library

Sharing information with patrons, members, staff, and the media is the primary mission of any library, and we answered over 270 reference questions by either email or phone call this past year. We digitized materials for about 50 or so of the questions (staying in copyright compliance). Timothy Binga, Director of Libraries, also serves as the Treasurer of the Board for the Western New York Library Resources Council, which participates in local and state-wide library initiatives.

The following donors contributed materials to the CFI Libraries during the 2017 calendar year:

  • Anonymous
  • Ed Buckner
  • Buffalo History Museum
  • Stephen R. Clark
  • Valery Countryman
  • Tom Flynn
  • Estate of Henry Gordon
  • Doug Kinney
  • Estate of Marge Mignacca
  • William Moyer
  • Adam Neiblung
  • Joe Nickell

Digitization Projects:

We are laying the groundwork for various digitization projects. Newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, and even some three-dimension artifacts are to be digitized and placed on our websites, New York Heritage, and the Digital Public Library of America.

A few of the items added to our collections this year:

Report of the International Congress For Progressive Thought and the Twenty-Seventh Annual Congress of the American Secular Union and Freethought Federation. St. Louis, MO Oct. 15-20, 1904. New York: Truthseeker Co., 1905. What is unique about this item is that it is signed by all the participants.

Hubbard E, Wm. H. Wise & Co.,, Roycroft Shop,. Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book : Containing the Inspired and Inspiring Selections Gathered During a Life Time of Discriminating Reading for His Own Use. [455th to 464th thousand]. New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., Roycroft distributors, [Anno Domini MCMXXIII [1923]].

Ward CH. Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution. New York: The New Home Library, 1927.

The Works of George Eliot, Cabinet Edition (24 Volumes). London: Blackwood and Sons, 1835.

MEDIA TIMELINE


  1. Jan 10th

    On the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris presents his conversation with Richard Dawkins from Dawkins’s CFI-sponsored speaking tour.

  2. CFI opposes Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

    February

    Coverage: CNN, Foreign Policy, The Daily Caller

    February 9: The Columbus Dispatch talks to Monette Richards about CFI Northeast Ohio’s legislative efforts on Secular Celebrants.

    February 23: Michael De Dora is interviewed about Denmark’s blasphemy prosecution on the Afternoons with Bob Breakenridge radio show.

  3. Mar 7th

    Benjamin Radford is a guest on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show discussing UFOs in American culture.

  4. Facebook Must Not Give In to Pakistan on Blasphemy

    March

    CFI urged Facebook to protect free expression and the lives of its users by refusing to capitulate to Pakistani authorities hunting for “blasphemers” on its platform, and Michael De Dora spoke out against Pakistan at the UN Human Rights Council.

    Coverage: Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News, World Magazine, Los Angeles News Group

  5. Mar 29th

    Benjamin Radford appears on NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss the mystery of missing girls in Washington, D.C.

  6. Apr 23rd

    CFI Communications Director Paul Fidalgo talks to The Daily Beast about the world’s changing religious demographics, particularly in regard to nonbelievers and Muslims.

  7. Apr 24th

    CFI’s own Michael De Dora and Nicholas Little coauthor an op-ed for Religion News Service about why secularism itself is in fact America’s “first freedom.”

  8. CFI Opposes Trump’s “Religious Liberty” Executive Order

    May

    Coverage: HuffPost, Columbus Dispatch, Windy City Times, and even the Catholic League, which referred to CFI sneeringly as a “militant secularist organization.”

  9. May 22nd

    VICE talks to Nick Little about the horrors of female genital mutilation and how it has been justified as being protected by notions of “religious freedom.”

  10. Amanda Knox Takes on Religious Brainwashing in Prisons

    May

    Using her own experiences in prison from the time she was falsely accused of a murder, Amanda Knox speaks at length to CFI Legal Director Nick Little about religious coercion in the prison system for a piece at VICE.

  11. May 27th

    Richard Dawkins is interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition and discusses his work with CFI and his foundation.

  12. Masterpiece Cakeshop and Trinity Lutheran: CFI Challenges Supreme Court to Reject Religious Privilege

    June

    Coverage: Vox, Deseret News, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Outtake, Courthouse News

  13. CFI Fights to Save the Johnson Amendment

    June

    Coverage: Associated Press, Newsweek, Vox, ThinkProgress (twice).

  14. Jul 11th

    Bertha Vazquez of the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science pens an excellent op-ed on Florida’s anti-science education law for the Palm Beach Post.

  15. Jul 16th

    The Albuquerque Journal publishes a special piece by Skeptical Inquirer Editor Kendrick Frazier on the resilience of the Roswell UFO myth.

  16. KPFA Cancels Dawkins Event

    July

    One does not cancel a Richard Dawkins event over isolated complaints about his principled stance against violent, extremist Islamism and expect it to go unnoticed.

    Coverage: Religion News Service, The Guardian, Newsweek, Pacifica Radio

  17. Aug 7th

    Robyn Blumner is quoted by Crux in a piece on the religiously unaffiliated’s alienation from the Trump White House.

  18. Aug 8th

    CFI Michigan is noted for its charitable work at MLive, alerting citizens of the problem of lead contamination in their water.

  19. Aug 11th

    Richard Dawkins appears on Real Time with Bill Maher and discusses TIES and Secular Rescue.

  20. Sep 2nd

    Scotland’s Sunday Herald profiles the Secular Rescue program and Richard Dawkins’s advocacy.

  21. Sep 3rd

    CFI’s Richard Dawkins and Monette Richards talk to The Daily Beast about being good without God.

  22. Sep 7th

    The Los Angeles Times runs a letter from CFI Los Angeles’s Jim Underdown on the reality of the threat of climate change.

  23. Sep 25th

    Wired publishes an exposé on a Trump DOJ nominee who was part of the government’s experiments with Scientology “Purif” treatments, based on CFI’s work in opposing it.

  24. Sep 30th

    WKTV previews CFI Michigan’s event with comedian Julia Sweeney, celebrating its twentieth anniversary.

  25. Oct 12th

    WZZM TV in Grand Rapids reports on CFI Michigan’s National Coming Out Day event.

  26. Oct 24th

    The Hartford Courant interviews Richard Dawkins about free expression.

  27. Oct 26th

    Richard Dawkins is the guest on the Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR.

  28. Oct 30th

    Gizmodo asks Benjamin Radford to help explain why people believe they see ghosts.

  29. Oct 31st

    Tom Flynn and Joe Nickell appear on the Science Channel’s Strange Evidence.

  30. House GOP Takes Another Shot at ‘Johnson’

    November

    Coverage: Vox, ThinkProgress, Metro.us

  31. Nov 9th

    Inverse recalls a deeply moving article about Carl Sagan written for Skeptical Inquirer by his widow and creative partner Ann Druyan.

  32. Nov 13th

    Lubna Ahmed, helped to safety by Secular Rescue, tells her story on The Rubin Report (Video).

  33. Dec 18th

    Gizmodo credits the Center for Inquiry for pushing the FDA to crack down on homeopathy.

  34. Dec 20th

    Futurism takes an empathetic look at belief in ghosts, relying on the wisdom of Joe Nickell.

  35. Dec 24th

    CFI Northeast Ohio’s Monette Richards is quoted by the Columbus Dispatch for the secular perspective on Christmas.

What's Next


Here are just some of the thing’s CFI will be working on throughout 2018:

  • CSICon 2018: The biggest skeptics’ conference will get much bigger, taking place at the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, October 18–21.
  • Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum 25th Anniversary Conference in Western New York, August 18–19.
  • TIES webinar series: Teachers won’t need to live near a workshop location to learn valuable new skills.
  • Translations Project: A major effort to make freethought and science books available in the languages spoken in the countries that need them most.
  • The Four Horsemen Book: A decade ago, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens sat down for what became a historic conversation viewed by millions online and on DVD. In 2018, that conversation will be published in book form for the first time, with new content from the original participants.
  • Website Overhaul: The many-headed beast that is the Center for Inquiry’s many websites will be wrangled together and fully redesigned for a more modern look, easier use, and a unification of CFI’s many programs and initiatives.

Center for Inquiry Board of Directors

David Cowan: Venture capitalist
Richard Dawkins: Evolutionary biologist
Brian Engler: Operations research analyst, nonprofit executive
Kendrick Frazier: Editor, Skeptical Inquirer
Barry Kosmin: Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
Y. Sherry Sheng: Nonprofit executive, educator
Eddie Tabash (Chair, Board of Directors): Attorney, activist
Andy Thomson (Vice Chair, Board of Directors): Psychiatrist
Leonard Tramiel: Physicist, educator

Where Your Money Goes

When you donate to the Center for Inquiry, you rightly expect your gift to be used to further our cause; diligently and with transparency. Every year, we report our revenue and expense ratios. In addition, our form 990 is available on our website.

In 2017, we raised a total of $7,040,908. Seventy-eight percent of that came from individual donors, including more than $4 million in bequests. The balance came from magazine revenue and similar earned income. CFI receives no government funding, and very limited corporate support.

We are keenly aware of the responsibility we have to our donors when it comes to expenditures. This commitment is reflected in our expense breakdown:


Please note that these are not final, audited figures. We save costs by having our audit done later in the year. If you would like to see final, audited figures, please contact the Development Department at development@centerforinquiry.net in August.

Fellows and Advisors

  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: Philosopher, novelist
  • Susan Jacoby: Journalist
  • Woody Kaplan: Political activist
  • Baris Karadogan: Venture capitalist
  • Norman Lear: Television writer and activist
  • Bill Nye Science communicator
  • Carolyn Porco: Planetary scientist
  • Andrés Roemer: Diplomat
  • Todd Stiefel: Freethought activist
  • Greg Stikeleather: Serial entrepreneur
  • Julia Sweeney: Actor and playwright
  • James E. Alcock* psychologist, York Univ., Toronto
  • Marcia Angell MD, former editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine
  • Kimball Atwood IV MD, physician, author, Newton, MA
  • Stephen Barrett MD, psychiatrist, author, consumer advocate, Pittsboro, NC
  • Willem Betz MD, professor of medicine, Univ. of Brussels
  • Irving Biederman psychologist, Univ. of Southern CA
  • Sandra Blakeslee science writer; author; New York Times science correspondent
  • Susan Blackmore visiting lecturer, Univ. of the West of England, Bristol
  • Mark Boslough physicist, Sandia National Laboratories (retired), Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Henri Broch physicist, Univ. of Nice, France
  • Jan Harold Brunvand folklorist, professor emeritus
of English, Univ. of Utah
  • Mario Bunge philosopher, McGill Univ., Montreal
  • Sean B. Carroll molecular geneticist, vice president for science education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Madison, WI
  • Thomas R. Casten energy expert; founder and chairman, Recycled Energy Development, Westmont, IL
  • John R. Cole anthropologist, editor, National Center for Science Education
  • K.C. Cole science writer, author, professor, Univ. of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism
  • John Cook author, physicist, Univ. of Queensland, Australia
  • Frederick Crews literary and cultural critic, professor emeritus of English, Univ. of CA, Berkeley
  • Richard Dawkins zoologist, Oxford Univ.
  • Geoffrey Dean technical editor, Perth, Australia
  • Cornelis de Jager professor of astrophysics, Univ. of Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • Daniel C. Dennett Univ. professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, director of
Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts Univ.
  • Ann Druyan writer and producer; CEO, Cosmos Studios, Ithaca, NY
  • Sanal Edamaruku president, Indian Rationalist Association and Rationalist International
  • Edzard Ernst professor, Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Exeter, UK
  • Kenneth Feder professor of anthropology,
Central Connecticut State Univ.
  • Krista Federspiel medical journalist, author, folklorist
  • Barbara Forrest professor of philosophy, SE Louisiana Univ.
  • Andrew Fraknoi astronomer, U. of San Francisco
  • Kendrick Frazier* science writer, editor, Skeptical Inquirer
  • Christopher C. French professor, department of psychology, and head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths College, Univ. of London
  • Julia Galef writer, podcaster, public speaker
  • Luigi Garlaschelli chemist, Università di Pavia (Italy), research fellow of CICAP, the Italian skeptics group
  • Maryanne Garry professor, School of Psychology, Victoria Univ. of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Murray Gell-Mann professor of physics, Santa Fe Institute; Nobel laureate
  • Thomas Gilovich psychologist, Cornell Univ.
  • David H. Gorski cancer surgeon and researcher at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and chief of breast surgery section, Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Wendy M. Grossman writer; founder and first editor, The Skeptic magazine (UK)
  • Susan Haack Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, professor of philosophy and professor of Law, Univ. of Miami
  • Harriet Hall MD, family physician, investigator, Puyallup, WA
  • David J. Helfand professor of astronomy, Columbia Univ.
  • Terence M. Hines prof. of psychology, Pace Univ., Pleasantville, NY
  • Douglas R. Hofstadter professor of human understanding and cognitive science, Indiana Univ.
  • Gerald Holton Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and professor of history of science, Harvard Univ.
  • Ray Hyman* psychologist, Univ. of Oregon
  • Stuart D. Jordan NASA astrophysicist emeritus, science advisor to Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy, Washington, D.C.
  • Barry Karr executive director, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Amherst, New York
  • Edwin C. Krupp astronomer, director, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, CA
  • Lawrence Kusche science writer
  • Leon Lederman emeritus director, Fermilab; Nobel laureate in physics
  • Stephan Lewandowsky psychologist, researcher, Univ. of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Scott O. Lilienfeld* psychologist, Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA
  • Lin Zixin former editor, Science and Technology Daily (China)
  • Jere Lipps Museum of Paleontology, Univ. of CA, Berkeley
  • Elizabeth Loftus* professor of psychology, Univ. of CA, Irvine
  • Daniel Loxton writer, artist, editor, Skeptic magazine
  • David Marks psychologist, City Univ., London
  • Mario Mendez-Acosta journalist and science writer, Mexico City
  • Kenneth R. Miller professor of biology, Brown Univ.
  • David Morrison space scientist, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Richard A. Muller professor of physics, Univ. of CA, Berkeley
  • Joe Nickell senior research fellow, CSI
  • Jan Willem Nienhuys mathematician, Waalre, The Netherlands
  • Lee Nisbet philosopher, Medaille College
  • Steven Novella MD, assistant professor of neurology, Yale Univ. School of Medicine
  • Bill Nye science educator and television host, Nye Labs
  • James E. Oberg science writer
  • Irmgard Oepen professor of medicine (retired), Marburg, Germany
  • Paul Offit doctor, author, researcher, professor, Univ. of Pennsylvania
  • Naomi Oreskes geologist, science historian, professor, Harvard University
  • Loren Pankratz psychologist, Oregon Health Sciences Univ.
  • Robert L. Park professor of physics, Univ. of Maryland
  • Jay M. Pasachoff Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy and director of the Hopkins Observatory, Williams College
  • John Paulos mathematician, Temple Univ.
  • Clifford A. Pickover scientist, author, editor, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Massimo Pigliucci professor of philosophy, City Univ. of New York–Lehman College
  • Steven Pinker cognitive scientist, Harvard Univ.
  • Massimo Polidoro science writer, author, executive director of CICAP, Italy
  • James L Powell geochemist, author, executive director, National Physical Science Consortium
  • Anthony R. Pratkanis professor of psychology, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz
  • Donald R. Prothero paleontologist, geologist, author, National History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Benjamin Radford investigator; research fellow, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
  • James “The Amazing” Randi magician, CSICOP founding member; founder, James Randi Educational Foundation
  • Milton Rosenberg psychologist, Univ. of Chicago
  • Amardeo Sarma* chairman, GWUP, Germany
  • Richard Saunders Life Member of Australian Skeptics; educator; investigator; podcaster; Sydney, Australia
  • Joe Schwarcz director, McGill Office for Science and Society
  • Eugenie C. Scott* physical anthropologist, former executive director (retired), National Center for Science Education
  • Seth Shostak senior astronomer, SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA
  • Simon Singh science writer; broadcaster; UK
  • Dick Smith film producer, publisher, Terrey Hills, N.S.W., Australia
  • Keith E. Stanovich cognitive psychologist; professor of human development and applied psychology, Univ. of Toronto
  • Karen Stollznow* linguist; skeptical investigator; writer; podcaster
  • Jill Cornell Tarter astronomer, SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA
  • Carol Tavris psychologist and author, Los Angeles, CA
  • David E. Thomas* physicist and mathematician, Peralta, NM
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson astrophysicist and director, Hayden Planetarium, New York City
  • Indre Viskontas cognitive neuroscientist, tv and podcast host, and opera singer, San Francisco, CA
  • Marilyn vos Savant Parade magazine contributing editor
  • Stuart Vyse psychologist, professor, author
  • Steven Weinberg professor of physics and astronomy, Univ. of Texas at Austin; Nobel laureate
  • E.O. Wilson Univ. professor emeritus, organismic and evolutionary biology, Harvard Univ.
  • Richard Wiseman psychologist, Univ. of Hertfordshire, England
  • Benjamin Wolozin professor, department of pharmacology, Boston Univ. School of Medicine

* denotes member of CSI Executive Council

  • Gary Bauslaugh
  • Richard E. Berendzen
  • Martin Bridgstock
  • Richard Busch
  • Shawn Carlson
  • Roger Culver
  • Felix Ares de Blas
  • Nahum Duker
  • Taner Edis
  • Barbara Eisenstadt
  • William Evans
  • Bryan Farha
  • John F. Fischer
  • Eileen Gambrill
  • Luis Alfonso Gamez
  • Sylvio Garattini
  • Laurie Godfrey
  • Gerald Goldin
  • Donald Goldsmith
  • Alan Hale
  • Clyde Herreid
  • Sharon A. Hill
  • Gábor Hraskó
  • Michael Hutchinson
  • Philip A. Ianna
  • W. Kelly
  • Richard H. Lange
  • Bernard J. Leikind
  • William M. London
  • Rebecca Long
  • John Mashey
  • Thomas R. McDonough
  • James E. McGaha
  • Joel A. Moskowitz
  • Matthew C. Nisbet
  • Julia Offe
  • John W. Patterson
  • James R. Pomerantz
  • Gary P. Posner
  • Tim Printy
  • Daisie Radner
  • Robert H. Romer
  • Karl Sabbagh
  • Robert J. Samp
  • Steven D. Schafersman
  • Chris Scott
  • Stuart D. Scott Jr.
  • Erwin M. Segal
  • Carla Selby
  • Steven N. Shore
  • Gordon Stein
  • Waclaw Szybalski
  • Sarah G. Thomason
  • Tim Trachet
  • David Willey

Donors

None of our work would be possible without the steadfast support of our donors and subscribers. We are very grateful for their generosity.

$200,000 +

  • Anonymous
  • Louis Appignani
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  • Anonymous
  • David & Nathalie Cowan
  • James Hervey Johnson Charitable Trust
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  • Eddie Tabash

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$5,000 - $9,999

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Bequests

We gratefully remember the following supporters, whose bequests were received this year:

  • David Baker
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As the so-called “post-truth” and “fake news” era of 2016 indisputably proved, there has never been a greater need for an organization like the Center for Inquiry, championing facts, reason, truth, science, and secularism, all at a time that they are all under threat by the changing tides of national and global events. Everyone who shares these core values will be needed. CFI needs you to be part of the solution, to join the good guys.