(Washington, DC, January 2, 2009) The faltered economy has wreaked havoc on the donating pull of many non-profit organizations located in Washington, DC and across the United States this past year. But in spite of the downturn one non-profit not only maintained previous donation levels but also grew substantially stronger this past year.
The American Humanist Association brought in over a million dollars in donations in 2008, thanks to Lou Appignani, a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist from Miami, Florida, and his Million Dollar Challenge. The Challenge, unveiled by Appignani in the beginning of 2008, stipulated that Appignani would match donations made to the AHA up to the amount of one million dollars. This week Appignani thus awarded the AHA a donation of $550,000, following a $250,000 down payment he made over the past summer. A final $200,000 will be awarded in January.
“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,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “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 much 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 Initiative, 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.”
Even though the AHA met its astounding fundraising challenge in 2008, it maintains that now is no time to relax. “We’re going to continue to work hard so that not only will we maintain our momentum, but we’ll actually increase our fundraising capacities in 2009,” said Ardiente. “Let’s show Lou Appignani what we can do.”
Lou Appignani echoed Ardiente’s resolve and sounded a clarion call: “We need someone to step up and continue the challenge in ’09. Who will be our next challenger?”