(Washington, DC, January 13, 2009) Today the American Humanist Association received the final $200,000 check from Lou Appignani, completing the successful Million Dollar Challenge matching grant that dominated the organization’s fundraising efforts in 2008. Despite a severe economic downturn that has hit most non-profits hard, the AHA was able to raise the full amount–$1,000,000–which Appignani doubled.
“Humanism is thriving, even in hard times,” declared American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “Here in Washington, DC, and across America, many nonprofit organizations are reducing expectations. But our contributions actually grew last year and we’re reaching for new heights in 2009!”
“Thanks to Appignani’s astounding Million Dollar Challenge and the tireless support of our donors, supporters and members, we’ve accomplished an amazing fundraising feat in ’08,” Speckhardt said earlier on January 2. “We’re indebted to Lou for his generous gift. His donation to the movement will help us develop more and better programs and initiatives. In addition, his excitement for and dedication to humanism and the AHA can’t help but be contagious, and we expect it will galvanize our members and supporters for some time to come. We can’t thank him enough.”
The Million Dollar Challenge concluded a successful year for the American Humanist Association and for humanism in general: the secular life philosophy has gained significant traction and mainstream recognition.
“Humanism is going strong,” said Maggie Ardiente, director of development of the American Humanist Association. “People are donating now more than ever– even though they’re strapped for cash–because they believe in the cause. With the disturbing developments in the past few years, such as the creation of the Office of the Faith-Based Initiatives, the inappropriate injection of religion into the 2008 elections, and the Bush Administration’s disrespect for science, reproductive rights and marriage equality, people clearly are saying, enough is enough.”
Lou Appignani made a call for others to do as he has done, saying: “We need someone to step up and continue the challenge in ’09. Who will be our next humanist angel?”
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.