2016 Progress Report

Robyn Blumner

This aptly named Progress Report gives you a sense of the Center for Inquiry’s incredible ambition and range of endeavors to promote reason and science. From our two flagship magazines, Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer, to our work defending secular activists around the world at the United Nations Human Rights Council, CFI is working to bring the values of the Enlightenment—critical thinking, scientific literacy, humanism, and individual freedom—to the 21st century.

The big news for CFI is that we have formally merged with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (RDFRS). Throughout 2016, the two organizations worked hand-in-glove. Now, we are one, with RDFRS becoming a division of CFI, and the RDFRS board, including Richard Dawkins, joining the CFI board. All of the premier programs of the Richard Dawkins Foundation are continuing with even more exciting plans on the drawing board, including the Openly Secular campaign and the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), which last year held dozens of workshops across the country teaching middle school science teachers how to teach evolution.

To add to the excitement of 2016, a nationwide tour with Richard Dawkins in cities where CFI has staffed branches was a near sell-out. Six thousand people filled theaters and lecture halls to hear Richard expound on evolutionary biology and the true nature of reality. CFI staff and local volunteers worked hard at making the events run smoothly. It was my pleasure and honor to meet many people from the CFI family across the country. I look forward to years of shared activism.

Standing by Richard as he signs books, one hears a procession of gratitude. People tell Richard how his books changed their lives, how The God Delusion cut through the fog of religion, or how The Ancestor’s Tale gave them clarity on how evolution operates, spurring them into a career in science. CFI is in the business of amplifying those ideas and spreading them even more widely. Yes, it does change lives—and societies—for the better.

CFI’s efforts to stand up for secular people here and abroad were particularly active in 2016. As a multi-year project, we have been challenging the exclusion of secular celebrants from those who may solemnize marriages. In too many states, religious leaders are automatically given the right to solemnize marriages alongside certain public officials, while secular celebrants are excluded. In 2014 we won a lawsuit against Indiana’s exclusion, and just at the start of 2017, we heard the good news that an Illinois judge opened the way for secular celebrants there as well.

Another notable CFI victory was the crackdown by the Federal Trade Commission on the marketing of homeopathy, something CFI had urged in formal testimony. Hopefully this will put a dent in the $3 billion a year that Americans spend on this consumer fraud.

Okay, finally, what do you get when you put 500-plus skeptics together and add in richly informative talks, hands-on workshops, and top-flight entertainment? You get CSICon, a name that stands for the best damn time you can imagine. The conference in Las Vegas in October 2016 was exceptional and no doubt the one in 2017 will be even more so. I hope to see you there!

Warm regards,

Robyn Blumner signature

Robyn Blumner

Quantified: Humanism without Borders

CFI addresses to the UN Human Rights Council in 2016: 11

Total raised for Secular Rescue since launch: $101,122.10

People saved by Secular Rescue since launch: 29

Defending Reason, Advancing Freedom, Saving Lives

There was a time when the persecution of secularists and nonbelievers around the world was a largely invisible problem. But in recent years, the overt scapegoating and targeting of secularist writers and activists has become the focus of global attention. Despite the risks to their safety and the enforcement of laws against blasphemy and apostasy, more and more activists are expressing their dissent, and their calls for support are being heard by the international media, world governments, and the United Nations.

No organization has been as instrumental in bringing this cause to the forefront of world concern, and no organization has worked as closely and with such determination to solve this crisis, as the Center for Inquiry.

Secular Rescue Success Stories

Shammi Haque

Shammi Haque: Fierce and fearless in her efforts on behalf of secularism and free expression in Bangladesh, 22-year-old Shammi Haque found herself the target of Islamist assassins, and looked to CFI for help. We supplied her with emergency assistance so that she could relocate and eventually be granted asylum in Germany.

Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury

Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury: After one attempt on his life, this accomplished writer, who is known by the name of Tutul, came to CFI to help him and his family. We helped get them the resources they needed to relocate to Norway, and in 2016 Tutul was honored by author Margaret Atwood with the PEN International Writer of Courage award.

CFI has been at the center of the human rights emergency in Bangladesh since its bloody beginning in 2015, when freethinking writers and activists were being slaughtered in the streets by Islamist militants, each targeted for their public expressions of dissent against religion and its enforcement by the state.

Secular Rescue: Saving Freedom. Saving Lives.

We did not rely solely on persuasion and diplomacy, but worked successfully to save individual lives. With threatened freethinkers coming to CFI for help, we formally established Secular Rescue, and with the support of donors, CFI has so far been able to save the lives of almost thirty individuals, relocating activists (and in some cases, their families as well) to safe havens in other countries.

The threats to free expression worldwide are indeed daunting, but with your help CFI has been able to make substantive progress and have a truly global impact.

Quantified: Action and Advocacy

Number of bills lobbied by CFI’s Office of Public Policy: 16

CFI staff meetings with lawmakers and diplomats: 31

Action Alerts sent to supporters: 25

Actions taken by YOU: Over 8000

homeopathic medicine

Score One for Science: Diluting Homeopathy’s False Advertising

In November, the FTC established new enforcement policies for the marketing of homeopathic drugs, declaring that these products cannot make claims as to their effectiveness without “competent and reliable scientific evidence” to back them up. If no such evidence exists—and it doesn’t—this fact must be stated clearly on all labeling, and note that the product’s claims are based solely on 18th-century theories that have been discarded by modern science. CFI’s input was cited in the FTC’s full report, and we heralded this as a real win for science, reason, and the health of the American public.

Representing the Nonreligious in the Political Arena

No Religious Test

Rep. Don Beyer

At the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, when several presidential candidates promised to ban Muslims from entering the United States, CFI stood strongly for true religious freedom and against government religious tests. We backed the Freedom of Religion Act, which would have made clear that the U.S. does not deny admission to anyone because of their religion or lack thereof. Rep. Don Beyer led the fight for this bill, bringing over 100 other members of Congress on board to cosponsor it. And though it did not pass, Rep. Beyer publicly thanked the Center for Inquiry for our advocacy.

The noble concept of “religious freedom” has been cynically twisted by those who want to use their religion as a means to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, women, and religious minorities. CFI has fought this at every turn, and strongly advocated for true religious freedom: the freedom to believe, think, and speak as one chooses.

Some in Congress tried to shoehorn religiously based discrimination into a Defense Authorization Bill with the “Russell Amendment,” which would have allowed religiously affiliated contractors to discriminate in hiring, impacting LGBTQ employees and job-seekers, religious minorities, women who use contraception, and anyone else whose lifestyle does not comport with an employer’s religious beliefs. We lobbied Capitol Hill and called upon our supporters to tell Congress to kill this discriminatory measure, and you came through. The amendment died in conference.

Supreme Inaction on Religious Privilege

CFI joined with American Atheists in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Zubik v. Burwell, a case involving religious nonprofits looking for an exemption from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act. We urged the court to reject the imposition of an employer’s religious beliefs upon employees, calling the case “ludicrous” and “a transparent attempt to legislate from the pulpit.” Unfortunately, the Court in May passed the buck to the lower courts, refusing a crucial opportunity to take a stand against the privileging of religion.

Central to real religious freedom is the foundational American ideal that no one can be subjected to “religious tests” when it comes to equal treatment, which is why we strongly opposed the proposals to ban or register Muslims seeking to enter the United States.

Joanna Butler, CFI–Northeast Ohio:

Joanna Butler

“I feel that CFI represents my interests in women's issues that affect me and other women. And while I respect other people's religious beliefs, I believe firmly in separation of church and state.”

CFI could not ignore this kind of bigotry against nonbelievers or allow the pernicious stereotype of the “un-American atheist” go unanswered. In a pivotal joint statement by the leadership of the Center for Inquiry, we denounced this destructive and prejudicial attack on American nonbelievers and demanded Marshall’s resignation. Our message was heard throughout the national media, and within days, he and other staffers did indeed step down.

Reaching across the theological aisle has been key to many of CFI’s successes, and we have built a strong reputation as an organization ready and willing to work alongside religious organizations who share our goals. That’s why we were invited to be part of the multi-faith Know Your Neighbor coalition, launched at the White House in December 2015. This led in 2016 to a series of productive roundtable meetings on combating religious discrimination, held over several months by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in which CFI was the sole organization representing nonbelievers and the religiously unaffiliated.

As 2016 was coming to a close, CFI strongly backed an amendment to the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, pushing for new language that included the protection of nonbelievers as well as believers. No American organization was better positioned to make an informed and impassioned case for this change. Working with allies and lobbying members of Congress, the revised IRFA would explicitly include protections for “non-believers” and “non-theists.” The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act was signed into law by President Obama on December 18.

Quantified: Communications and Commentary

2016 blog posts at Free Thinking:390

Press releases sent to media: 42

Subscribers to CFI emails: 29,000

Subscribers to RDFRS emails: 34,000

pro-choice protestors

Antiabortion Pseudoscience Loses Big in the Supreme Court

The state of Texas was poised to cut off access to abortion services for millions of women with a draconian law that put onerous and unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers. Lawmakers claimed this was for the benefit of women’s health, but in fact it would have forced the closing of all but a handful of the state’s clinics, overwhelmingly impacting the poor and minorities. The law was put before the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and in an amicus brief with the Court, we concentrated on a particular area of expertise and focus for CFI: real science versus pseudoscience.

On June 27, the Supreme Court struck down the law. “The fight is not over,” said Little in CFI’s official statement, “and we will continue to work toward the day when the religious right will have to give up on trying to control the lives of women. That will be a good day.”

pro-choice protestors

Quantified: CFI Events

Women in Secularism 4 attendees: 114

CSICon 2016 Las Vegas attendees: 500

Total audience for Richard Dawkins tour: Approx.6000

Connecting Hearts and Minds with Incredible Events

A vibrant and dynamic community of skeptics, humanists, and other freethinkers is what powers the Center for Inquiry, and 2016 was a banner year for the members of this community to connect in person, with major conferences and events that inspired, enlightened, and empowered thousands with fresh ideas, rejuvenated energy, and a renewed sense of a shared mission.

Eddie Tabash speaking at the Reason RallyEddie Tabash at the 2016 Reason Rally

CFI On Demand

Recorded Live in Los Angeles - An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris

In 2016, CFI began an experiment that would allow anyone to experience something of CFI’s great events, whether or not they could attend in person. With CFI Live (at centerforinquiry.live), our communications team delivered real-time, on-the-ground commentary, summaries, and personal impressions of the Reason Rally, Women in Secularism 4, and CSICon.

The complete two-part video of Richard Dawkins’s Los Angeles event with Sam Harris was made available for purchase, or as a benefit of “Planet Level” membership and above.

Reasonable Talk, CFI’s special series of fantastic talks by great freethought luminaries, entered its second season with Paul Offit, Matt Dillahunty, Melanie Brewster, and more.

A furiously busy summer and fall kicked off with an event of truly mammoth scale, the 2016 Reason Rally, which took place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and where CFI played a central, leading role. Our outreach team had the opportunity to personally meet and interact with hundreds of attendees, as they helmed the most prominent display on the grounds of the Rally, thanks to the combined presence of CFI, the Richard Dawkins Foundation, and the Openly Secular campaign. Three of CFI’s leaders were featured speakers for the Rally: CEO Robyn Blumner and Board Chair Edward Tabash, and by video presentation, Richard Dawkins. But American admirers of Prof. Dawkins would soon have wonderful opportunities to see him in person.

Richard Dawkins and Julia SweeneyRichard Dawkins and Julia Sweeney

In October the Center for Inquiry was proud to sponsor Richard Dawkins’s U.S. tour, where thousands of people in select cities watched and listened as Prof. Dawkins engaged in fascinating conversation with a truly remarkable slate of special guests. Former Saturday Night Live star Julia Sweeney joined him for his appearances in Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan; philanthropist and technologist Charles Simonyi joined him in Portland, Oregon; Point of Inquiry co-host Josh Zepps served as interviewer in Philadelphia; and Sam Harris joined Prof. Dawkins for two appearances in Los Angeles, both of which sold out almost immediately.

London Sneden, Sam Houston State University:

London Sneden

“As a leader of a student organization in rural Texas, it is so relieving to know that CFI is working to better not only small communities and the larger society on the domestic front, but on an international level as well. Between its community organizing programs, educational magazines, legal office, public policy office, and involvement at the UN, CFI is a truly well-rounded organization that finds ways to really encompass every aspect of its mission. CFI represents all the potential that the secular movement should be aspiring to and utilizing, and for me personally, it has been both an honor and privilege to work with them as a student leader, intern, and supporter.”

Carol Tavris at CSICon Las VegasCarol Tavris at CSICon Las Vegas

Hundreds of skeptics flocked to the desert in October for CSICon Las Vegas, one of CFI’s most successful conferences ever. The four-day event featured an amazing roster of speakers that included Lawrence Krauss, Eugenie Scott, Maria Konnikova, Jill Tarter, Elizabeth Loftus, special on-stage conversations with the amazing James Randi and Richard Dawkins, performances by illusionists Banacek and Jamy Ian Swiss, and all these ceremonies were mastered by musician and comedian George Hrab. Taking place at the dazzling Excalibur Hotel, there were of course battling knights to witness, as well as an unmissable Halloween party, complete with a skeptical karaoke parody contest. Most important were all the personal connections made between speakers and attendees alike (over 500 of them!) and the big ideas that were discovered and exchanged. As soon as it was over, attendees began to clamor for the next one. Stay tuned in 2017.

Coming to the Stage in 2017: Caught in the Pulpit

Caught in the Pulpit reading audience

This past spring there was a small invited reading in New York City for the play Caught in the Pulpit by Marin Gazzaniga, adapted from the book by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola and sponsored by the Richard Dawkins Foundation. Eight actors including J. Smith Cameron, John Ellison Conlee, Glenn Fitzgerald, and William Hill took part in the reading directed by Michael Sexton. Gazzaniga has been submitting the play for development opportunities with various theater companies and producers with the hope of getting a production scheduled in 2017.

Ashley Miller and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein at Women in Secularism 4Ashley Miller and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein at Women in Secularism 4 (Photo: Josiah Mannion)

On the other side of the country in September, CFI proudly presented the fourth Women in Secularism conference, a truly meaningful event that fostered impassioned discussions and charged debate on a wide variety of issues, including religion’s role in the subjugation of women, how different communities can interact and support each other’s causes, and state of free speech on college campuses. Rebecca Goldstein, Maryam Namazie, Diane Burkholder, Kayley Whalen, Katha Pollitt, Wendy Kaminer, and keynote speaker Bonya Rafida Ahmed were just some of the courageous, brilliant, and accomplished speakers at this remarkable conference.

CFI Branches: Bastions of Reason and Inquiry

Quantified: CFI Communities

CFI branches, U.S. and International: 19

CFI On Campus affiliate groups: 93

Events held by CFI branches in 2016: Over 1500

CFI takes pride in the communities it has organized and supported across the United States, as well as around the world. Whether it's a weekly Sunday morning Coffee and Conversation group in Indianapolis, a community Darwin Day event in Austin, or a stage performance in Los Angeles, CFI brings reason, science, secular humanism, skepticism, and critical inquiry to thousands of people through hundreds of different events and meetings.

CFI branches create bastions of reason and inquiry in big cities and small towns, from those who have been involved in humanism and skepticism for decades to those who are just starting to find their way out of religion.

Volunteer award winners with CFI Indiana pose with their awardsVolunteer award winners with CFI Indiana

Poster: Happy Darwin Day

Popular at many branches are educational lectures, where scientists, philosophers, and other people with interesting things to say are given the opportunity to enlighten and challenge the views of those in the audience. Highlights from 2016 include theoretical physicist and New York Times bestseller Sean Carroll in Los Angeles, engineer and STEM advocate Barbara Oakley in Michigan, and a tour with popular atheist speaker Matt Dillahunty who visited branches in Western New York, Northeast Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Austin.

CFI branches also hosted a variety of opportunities for interesting conversation to take place outside of a formal setting, whether it was a Drinking Skeptically event at a local pub on a Friday night or just an outing to take advantage of some good weather, such as CFI–Michigan's annual camping retreat and CFI–Pittsburgh's annual canoe trip.

While building community for skeptics and nonbelievers is vitally important, CFI branches know that our movement cannot exist within a bubble; they worked hard this year to find cooperative opportunities with other like-minded organizations and people in their areas, such as participating in LGBTQ pride parades, cohosting educational activities with local science organizations, and joining in interfaith social activities to foster understanding and acceptance.

Quantified: Social Media

We love fostering a community of critical thinkers, person to person and online. More than ever in 2016, CFI thrived in the digital space, thanks in large part to the combining of CFI and RDFRS and Richard Dawkins’ devoted and passionate social media following.

CFI YouTube subscribers: 12,500

CFI Twitter followers: 38,000

CFI Facebook likes: 52,000

RDFRS Twitter followers: 71,000

RDFRS YouTube subscribers: 267,000

RDFRS Facebook likes: 1,500,000

And especially in a time where science, secularism, and humanist values are under attack at all levels of government, CFI branches stepped up and made themselves known to their state and local governments. CFI–Northeast Ohio and CFI–Michigan both hosted lobbying days where they visited their respective statehouses to inform their representatives about issues that are important to secular humanists and skeptics.

Fostering the Next Generation of Freethought Leaders

CFI On Campus continued to serve its host of college and high school affiliate groups across North America and around the world by sending packages of promotional materials such as pamphlets, stickers, and magazines; providing a monthly email newsletter, the Campus Inquirer; awarding grants for large speaker events and conferences; and guiding group leaders as they learn how to run successful campus freethought organizations. The year's highlights include Darwin Day celebrations, the Southeast Secular Student Regional Conference (S3RC) co-hosted by three affiliate groups, Freethought Festival 4 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and International Blasphemy Rights Day events that educated campus communities about issues involving free expression and blasphemy rights.

Kenyan children using computers, Kenyan class holding a banner that reads: Humanist Orphans Kenya

CFI–Kenya Brings Hope and Inspiration to Kids in Need

Half a world away, a light of reason and compassion shines bright. There, CFI–Kenya is engaged in deeply meaningful work to educate and care for vulnerable children, promote science and critical thinking, and combat superstition. The impact that these devoted humanists are having on the lives of real people is truly inspiring.

woman holding sign that reads: I'm a voter and I'm Openly Secular

Among its many good works, CFI–Kenya operates the Humanist Orphans program, where children without parents or sufficient family support are provided with the resources they need to attend school, including fees, uniforms, and supplies. Led by George Ongere, CFI–Kenya also runs educational programs to teach things like computer literacy, HIV/AIDS prevention, and the dangers of belief in witchcraft. They coordinate with campus groups to run workshops, debates, and exchange programs. They even help feed children in need.

In 2017, CFI–Kenya will establish the Ron Lindsay Library, named for CFI’s previous president and CEO, whose support for CFI–Kenya was incredibly meaningful to Ongere and his colleagues, and students of the Humanist Orphans program who were moved and inspired by Lindsay’s visit with them in 2015.

We Are Openly Secular

With the merger between CFI and RDFRS, the Openly Secular campaign became a project of the Center for Inquiry. With an aim toward reducing the stigma and discrimination still faced by many nonreligious Americans, Openly Secular invited people across the country to share their personal stories of navigating life as someone with a secular identity, and were joined by rapper Killah Priest and bluegrass musician Pete Wernick (better known as “Dr. Banjo”).

And on November 15, we celebrated Openly Secular Day with a flagship conference event in Milwaukee that featured Julia Sweeney and Hemant Mehta and a call for secular Americans to take the “Tell One Person” pledge, with hundreds participating by finding one new person with whom they could safely talk about their secular identity.

An Award for a Skeptic Ally

Julia Belluz

Julia Belluz, a science and health reporter for Vox, was awarded the 2015 Balles Prize for Critical Thinking. Belluz’s work pushed back against the misuse of science and the promotion of pseudoscience in policy and popular culture, bringing refreshing clarity to complex issues. She was presented with the award at CSICon 2016 Las Vegas.

Respected Journals of Freethought Enter a New Era

In 2016, Skeptical Inquirer celebrated four decades as the foremost publication for the advancement of scientific skepticism and critical thinking. Skeptical Inquirer was launched as The Zetetic in 1976, at the founding of what was then the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, or “CSICOP,” led by figures such as Paul Kurtz, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, James Randi, Ray Hyman, and other brilliant thinkers. For forty years, it has remained deeply inspiring and intellectually nourishing to new generations of skeptics, and profoundly influential in the ever-changing debates over extraordinary claims about pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, science denial, and of course, the paranormal.

covers of Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry magazines

Quantified: The Magazines

Free Inquiry circulation: Approx.18,000

Skeptical Inquirer circulation: Approx.30,000

This milestone was honored with two special 40th anniversary issues of Skeptical Inquirer. The first, featuring contributions from such luminaries as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Lawrence Krauss, took a critical look at the state of the skeptic movement, celebrating its substantial progress, and assessing how it must adapt for the challenges of the next forty years. The second anniversary issue focused on personal journeys to skepticism, in which contributors shared stories and reflections of their individual odysseys that led them to the skeptic movement—a movement that grew in large part from of the pages of Skeptical Inquirer.

Of course, Skeptical Inquirer continued to publish standard-setting investigations and features from leading skeptics like Joe Nickell, Benjamin Radford, Carrie Poppy, Massimo Polidoro, Harriet Hall, Matthew Nisbet, and more. And in the mobile space, Skeptical Inquirer debuted as a standalone digital publication in 2016, available for the first time on its own in the app stores of Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Also taking new steps into the digital realm was Free Inquiry, the premier journal of humanist thought and the critical examination of religion. Once limited to print subscriptions with a web component for subscribers, Free Inquiry introduced digital-only subscriptions for the first time in its 36-year history.

And just in time, as Free Inquiry tackled a wide array of crucial and forward-focused subjects in 2016, such as the dueling essays on existential threats by Michael Shermer and Phil Torres; predictions for the secular movement’s continuing growth from scholars such as Phil Zuckerman, Barry Kosmin, and Ryan T. Cragun; and even a special issue all about death, guest-edited by VICE “death reporter” Simon Davis, with contributions from Caitlin Doughty, Massimo Pigiliucci, and PZ Myers.

Free Inquiry also took a crucial look back, as Leah Mickens chronicled the crucial and often-forgotten role that humanists and freethinkers have played in the major social advancements of the past century.

TIES - Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science

two children in a science class

Sonia Veuga

7th Grade Science Teacher, St. Lucie County, FL:

“As a teacher without a formal science background, I really appreciated your presentation. … I am happy to say that your knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject have made me feel more prepared and excited to teach this subject to my students.”

Mary Martinez

Middle School Science Teacher, Miami Dade, FL:

“I am very concerned about parents calling me when I teach evolution. I needed to know more about evolution so I could defend it. My degree is in elementary education, not science. That’s why I attended the [TIES Workshop]…I left with more knowledge, more confidence, and plenty of classroom resources.”

Welcoming the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science

With the merger of the Center for Inquiry with the Richard Dawkins Foundation, a very special initiative was brought under the CFI banner: the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), a professional development resource to train middle school science teachers in the most up-to-date concepts of evolutionary science, a truly distinctive program with the potential to inspire and energize young minds, and spur a lifelong embrace of critical thinking.

In 2016, an incredible 27 workshops were presented by 18 different TIES Teacher Corps members, for a total of 37 workshops nationwide in less than two years of TIES’s existence. TIES also opened new avenues of opportunity and learning, starting with a new Online Learning Page for teachers and homeschooling parents who may not be able to attend TIES workshops in person, complete with training videos, activities, slide presentations, test materials, and even an evolution page entirely in Spanish for English Language Learners.

The fall of 2016 saw the launch of the TIES Partnerships project, an ambitious and vital undertaking that matches middle school science teachers with scientists in the field of evolutionary biology to help their classroom presentations on evolution come alive with real-world scientific discovery.

The Freethought Trail
statue of Ingersoll

The Long and Winding Freethought Trail

In the 19th century, Western New York state (home to CFI’s Transnational headquarters) was where some of the most important events in America’s social and political movements took shape and changed the world. The Council for Secular Humanism has been devoted to bringing this history to life with the Freethought Trail, a collection of locations in West-Central New York important to the history of freethought, women’s rights, abolitionism, and other progressive and radical movements. Over 100 new sites were added to the Trail in 2016, as well as new stories and discoveries about the people and ideas during this unique period. The Freethought Trail can be visited in person, and there is a wealth of information and new research available at the Trail’s website at freethought-trail.org.

A crown jewel of the trail is of course the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace and Museum, honoring “The Great Agnostic” who blazed new trails for secularism with his soaring and brilliant oratory. In 2016, thanks to the help of the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust of San Diego, renovations and improvements to the museum continued with the reconstruction of the Ingersoll house’s original porch. And in the spring, Ingersoll’s mother, Mary Livingston Ingersoll, was properly memorialized as her newly-discovered gravesite was finally dedicated with a new gravestone at Cazenovia’s Old South Cemetery in a Memorial Day ceremony.

Quantified: Point of Inquiry

2016 Streams on Spotify: 30,000

Point of Inquiry downloads in 2016: Approx.1,600,000

Growth over 2015: 7.1%

Point of Inquiry

For Great Conversations, Get to the Point

Tackling a wide range of crucial subjects, CFI’s flagship Point of Inquiry featured fascinating conversations with authors, activists, and experts in 2016. With brilliant and charming cohosts Lindsay Beyerstein and Josh Zepps, each interview was entertaining and enlightening, always framed in a rational, humanist perspective.

Point of Inquiry 2016 highlights include:

Maria Konnikova and Susan Jacoby
  • The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova discussing the subtle art of con artistry
  • Journalist and author Rebecca Traister exploring the changing conventions for women and marriage
  • Former white supremacist leader Arno Michaels’ journey to overcoming hate and fear
  • Susan Jacoby unpacking the secular components to religious conversions
  • Author Jessica Valenti revealing her struggles against sexism and the future of feminism
  • Michelle Vines opening up about her late in life diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome
  • Speculations about the end of the world with Phil Torres

And of course, there was a lot to say about Donald Trump. Before the election, Trump biographer David Kay Johnston exposed some of Trump’s dirty laundry, and David Neiwert explored the Trump movement’s connections to the “alt-right.” After Trump’s unexpected victory, Amanda Marcotte braced us for the implications of Trump’s policies, and in the year’s most-downloaded episode, the Secular Coalition for America’s Larry Decker looked at why the election went the way it did, as well as the role of secular voters then and in the future.

Media Highlights: A Timeline

Whether the subject is violence in Bangladesh or the 2016 election, alternative medicine rip-offs or attacks on women’s rights, the global struggle for free expression or the paranoia over scary clowns, the Center for Inquiry is an invaluable source for the media, bringing a uniquely informed, skeptical, and secular perspective to the news of the day.


Michael De Dora and Samar Badawi

Samar Badawi Arrested

In January, Saudi Arabia inexplicably arrested human rights activist Samar Badawi, sister of imprisoned dissident Raif Badawi, taking her baby away from her in the process. CFI spoke out strongly and she was soon freed.

Coverage: Associated Press, The Independent, The Guardian

The “Royal Wedding”

The merger of the Center for Inquiry and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science in January wasn’t just big news to our community. It was big news.

Coverage: Religion News Service, Chronicle of Philanthropy, WBFO Radio, Christian Post, The Buffalo News, Salt Lake Tribune

January 28: CFI’s Paul Fidalgo talks to Nick Wing at the Huffington Post about Bernie Sanders and nonbelievers in the 2016 campaign.


February 5: Susan Jacoby notes her connection to CFI in New York Times op-ed.

February 15: Benjamin Radford talks to PBS Newshour about conspiracy theories.

February 15: WCPO in Cincinnati talks to CFI–Northeast Ohio’s Monette Richards about marriage equality.

February 19: Christian Post talks to Michael De Dora as CFI is the only nonreligious group among 100 organizations to call upon the State Department to classify the Islamic State’s killings of Christians as a genocide.


March 2: CFI General Counsel Nicholas Little pens an op-ed for Salon on the milestone Texas abortion case before the Supreme Court.

Fierce Courage from Black Atheists

Several outlets explored the particular experiences of black nonbelievers in the U.S. in pieces that featured CFI’s Debbie Goddard, director of the African Americans for Humanism program.

Coverage: VICE, Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Aeon


Bernie Sanders

April 3: The Daily Beast covers Christian persecution around the world and checks in with Paul Fidalgo.

April 14: CNN talks to Paul Fidalgo about Bernie Sanders and the role of religion in the election.

April 22: Tennessee fails to make the Bible its state book, and ABC News gets commentary from Michael De Dora.

April 22: In a National Geographic feature story, CFI’s Stephanie Guttormson discusses how organizing the nonreligious is like “herding cats.”

Bangladesh: End the Madness

The murders of three more secularist activists in Bangladesh in April, the latest targets of Islamist militants in their years-long campaign of terror against freethinkers, sparks new outrage. CFI demands an end to the slaughtering, and for the Bangladesh government to stop blaming the victims, and to protect its people. In a scathing op-ed for CNN, Michael De Dora and Paul Fidalgo call the government response “shameful,” accusing them of “coddling the killers and chastising the dead.” Also, De Dora tells the full story of this crisis in a piece at Religion Dispatches.

Coverage: NPR, Associated Press, Buzzfeed, Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera English


church officiant at a podium holding a bible

July 15: Free Inquiry editor Tom Flynn talks to Religion News Service about the nonreligious and belief in life after death.

No Politicking from the Pulpit

The Deseret News’s Billy Hallowell was fascinated by the battle over the Johnson Amendment, which prohibited clergy from endorsing political candidates, and Donald Trump’s promise to repeal it. In four separate stories, he included insight from CFI’s Michael De Dora: July 19, July 22, September 13, October 3.

Atheists Demeaned in Leaked DNC Emails

Among the emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee by Wikileaks was a discussion among high ranking staffers that Sen. Bernie Sanders could be hurt by spreading rumors that he is an atheist (which he isn’t). In a July 25 statement jointly signed by members of CFI’s leadership team—Robyn Blumner, Eddie Tabash, Ronald Lindsay, and Tom Flynn—we denounced the anti-atheist bigotry displayed by the staffer, and called for his resignation. The following week, he did just that. Blumner later published an op-ed in the Miami Herald on the failure of Democrats to reach out to their largest demographic: the nonreligious.

Coverage: Huffington Post, Reason, Washington Times, The Daily Dot, Deseret News


Blasphemy Rights Day

Several Christian publications were particularly interested in CFI’s call for an end to blasphemy laws during the week of International Blasphemy Rights Day. The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue lashed out at CFI in a tantrum, calling the idea a “farce” and comparing Richard Dawkins to the KKK.

Coverage: CNS News, Christian Post, Joe My God, The News-Recorder


scary clown

October 11: Joe Nickell discusses Bigfoot sightings in Oregon on NPR station KLCC.

October 20: CFI–Pittsburgh member Jeff Prebeg Jr. wins his bid to get an atheist license plate approved and is interviewed in the Pittsburgh Tribune.

October 29: After the editorial board of The Oklahoman criticizes CFI’s Council for Secular Humanism on the issue of church-state separation, they in turn publish a response by Tom Flynn calling on Oklahoma voters to reject a bill to repeal the state’s “Blaine Amendment.”

Who You Gonna Call? Skeptics.

With the release of the new Ghostbusters movie, there was a lot of interest in real-life “ghost hunters” and the technology they employ in their fruitless pursuits. Journalists looked to CFI’s Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell for the skeptical point of view.

Coverage: Today, Wall Street Journal, Popular Mechanics, Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider

Attack of the Clowns

Leave it to a year like 2016 to be the year America believed itself to be terrorized by evil clowns. Luckily, CFI had on staff Skeptical Inquirer deputy editor Benjamin Radford, who literally wrote the book on the subject, Bad Clowns, and the press sought him out in droves.

Coverage: On the Media, Vox, Afternoons with Bob Breakenridge, Santa Fe New Mexican


pills and related packaging

November 9: Religion News Service wonders what comes next for the atheist movement after the “body blow” of Trump’s unexpected election, and talks to CFI’s Paul Fidalgo.

FTC Takes On Homeopathy

CFI was instrumental in spurring the new regulations placed on homeopathic products in November by the Federal Trade Commission, mandating that they be clearly labeled as unproven and unscientific.

Coverage: Vox, Snopes, Business Insider, Smithsonian, The Buffalo News


December 12: The popular political blog Little Green Footballs recommends a Skeptical Inquirer subscription as a holiday gift. No arguments from us.

December 19: CFI–Los Angeles executive director Jim Underdown debuts in a news series for WGN TV News debunking paranormal claims, “That’s Bull****!”

Richard Dawkins and Y. Sherry Sheng

The People at the Center of it All

In April, CFI was proud to welcome veteran activist, organizer, and master gardener Y. Sherry Sheng to the Board of Directors, bringing a wealth of experience in nonprofit advocacy and leadership in areas as varied as wildlife and environment to telecommunications and financial regulation.

Quantified: Web Stats

CFI websites (including CSI and CSH) average monthly pageviews: Approx.446,000

CFI websites total pageviews: Approx. 5,300,000

RDFRS website average monthly pageviews: Approx.748,000

RDFRS website total pageviews: Approx.9,000,000

As part of the merger with the Richard Dawkins Foundation, on December 31, 2016 the CFI Board of Directors also welcomed three additional members: venture capitalist David Cowan; psychiatrist and author of Why We Believe in Gods, Dr. Andy Thomson; and of course RDFRS’s founder and namesake, Prof. Richard Dawkins himself.

Cody Hashman, an indispensible member of the outreach team since 2012, became CFI’s Program Manager, which includes coordination of the Openly Secular campaign.

Nora Hurley, the woman behind the scenes of Point of Inquiry, booking guests and engineering the show, was promoted to Executive Producer of the program, taking full creative and managerial leadership of CFI’s flagship podcast.

Coming in from the Richard Dawkins Foundation, Stephanie Guttormson took on the role of Director of Public Engagement for CFI, as well as Program Manager for CFI’s Washington, D.C. branch. CFI also gained Dave Churvis, previously RDFRS’s Program Manager, and now doing yeoman’s work as CFI’s Database Administrator.

Matt Licata, who had served as CFI’s Webmaster since 2011, was promoted to Director of Digital Product and Strategy. More than building gorgeous websites, Matt is now in charge of designing CFI’s online presence, crafting strategies, and developing the tools needed to execute those strategies.

A Quarter Million Dollar Success

Louis Appignani's Quarter Million Dollar Matching Challenge

Freethinking philanthropist Louis Appignani put a challenge before us in 2016: Raise a quarter-million dollars before the end of the year, and he’d match it. We asked you to take him up on his challenge in October, and by December we had crossed the finish line! We couldn’t be more grateful to you and to Louis for your generosity and devotion to this cause.

Former President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay continues to bring his invaluable insight and intellect to our mission in his new role as a CFI Research Fellow.

CFI–Portland welcomed Nicole Orr as its new administrative assistant. Nicole is a freelance children’s author and previously worked with the National Novel Writing Month organization.

A Brain Trust Like No Other

The Center for Inquiry is an institution that benefits from the talent, intellect, and dedication of an incredible roster of directors, fellows, consultants, and advisors. Together, CFI and the Richard Dawkins Foundation have brought together an unmatched assembly of scientists, educators, activists, journalists, philosophers, investigators, and other luminaries who have put their names, energies, and efforts to advancing our shared mission. Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Susan Jacoby, Carolyn Porco, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Norman Lear, Lawrence Krauss, Steven Pinker, Eugenie Scott, Bill Nye, and E.O. Wilson are just a sampling of the brilliant thinkers and activists that have associated with the Center for Inquiry.

CFI - Center for Inquiry

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
  • Sherry Sheng: Nonprofit executive, educator
  • Eddie Tabash (Chair, Board of Directors): Attorney, activist
  • Andy Thomson: Psychiatrist
  • Leonard Tramiel: Physicist, educator

Honorary Members of the Board of Directors

  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: Philosopher, novelist
  • Susan Jacoby: Journalist
  • Lawrence M. Krauss: Theoretical physicist and cosmologist
Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science - A Division of the Center for Inquiry

Advisory Board of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science

  • 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

Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

  • James E. Alcock*: Psychologist, York University
  • Marcia Angell MD: Former editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine
  • Kimball Atwood IV MD: Physician, author
  • Stephen Barrett MD: Psychiatrist, author, consumer advocate
  • Willem Betz MD: Professor of medicine, University of Brussels
  • Irving Biederman: Psychologist, University of Southern CA
  • Sandra Blakeslee: Science journalist, author
  • Susan Blackmore: Visiting lecturer, University of the West of England, Bristol
  • Mark Boslough: Physicist, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Henri Broch: Physicist, University of Nice, France
  • Jan Harold Brunvand: Folklorist, professor emeritus
 of English, University of Utah
  • Mario Bunge: Philosopher, McGill University
  • Sean B. Carroll: Molecular geneticist, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Thomas R. Casten: Founder and chairman, Recycled Energy Development
  • John R. Cole: Anthropologist, National Center for Science Education
  • C. Cole: Science writer, professor, Annenberg School of Journalism
  • John Cook: Author, physicist, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Frederick Crews: Literary and cultural critic, professor emeritus of English, University of California, Berkeley
  • Richard Dawkins: Evolutionary biologist, Oxford University
  • Geoffrey Dean: Technical editor, Perth, Australia
  • Cornelis de Jager: Professor of astrophysics, University of Utrecht
  • Daniel C. Dennett: Philosopher, director of
 the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University
  • Ann Druyan: Writer and producer; CEO of Cosmos Studios
  • Sanal Edamaruku: President, Indian Rationalist Association and Rationalist International
  • Edzard Ernst: Professor, Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth
  • Kenneth Feder: Professor of anthropology,
 Central Connecticut State University
  • Krista Federspiel: Medical journalist, author, folklorist
  • Barbara Forrest: Professor of philosophy, SE Louisiana University
  • Andrew Fraknoi: Astronomer, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA
  • Kendrick Frazier*: Science writer, editor, Skeptical Inquirer
  • Christopher C. French: Professor, department of psychology, and head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • Julia Galef: Writer, podcaster, public speaker
  • Luigi Garlaschelli: Chemist, Università di Pavia (Italy)
  • Maryanne Garry: Professor, School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Murray Gell-Mann: Professor of physics, Santa Fe Institute; Nobel laureate
  • Thomas Gilovich: Psychologist, Cornell University
  • 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, University of Miami
  • Harriet Hall MD: Family physician, former U.S. Air Force physician, investigator
  • David J. Helfand: Professor of astronomy, Columbia University
  • Terence M. Hines: Professor of psychology, Pace University
  • Douglas R. Hofstadter: Professor of human understanding and cognitive science, Indiana University
  • Gerald Holton: Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and professor of history of science, Harvard University
  • Ray Hyman*: Psychologist, University 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
  • Lawrence M. Krauss: Theoretical physicist; director, Origins Initiative, Arizona State University
  • 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, University of Bristol
  • Scott O. Lilienfeld*: Psychologist, Emory University
  • Lin Zixin: Former editor, Science and Technology Daily (China)
  • Jere Lipps: Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley
  • Elizabeth Loftus*: Professor of psychology, University of California, Irvine
  • Daniel Loxton: Writer, artist, editor, Skeptic magazine
  • David Marks: Psychologist, City University, London
  • Mario Mendez-Acosta: Journalist and science writer, Mexico City
  • Kenneth R. Miller: Professor of biology, Brown University
  • David Morrison: Space scientist, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Richard A. Muller: Professor of physics, University of California, Berkeley
  • Joe Nickell: Senior research fellow, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
  • Jan Willem Nienhuys: Mathematician, Waalre, The Netherlands
  • Lee Nisbet: Philosopher, Medaille College
  • Steven Novella MD: Assistant professor of neurology, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Bill Nye: Science communicator and television host
  • James E. Oberg: Science writer
  • Irmgard Oepen: Professor of medicine (retired), Marburg, Germany
  • Paul Offit: Virologist, author, professor, University of Pennsylvania
  • Naomi Oreskes: Geologist, science historian, professor, Harvard University
  • Loren Pankratz: Psychologist, Oregon Health Sciences University
  • Robert L. Park: Professor of physics, University of Maryland
  • Jay M. Pasachoff: Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy and director of the Hopkins Observatory, Williams College
  • John Paulos: Mathematician, Temple University
  • Clifford A. Pickover: Scientist, author, editor, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Massimo Pigliucci: Professor of philosophy, City University of New York–Lehman College
  • Steven Pinker: Cognitive scientist, Harvard University
  • 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, University 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, University 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, National Center for Science Education
  • Seth Shostak: Senior astronomer, SETI Institute
  • 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, University of Toronto
  • Karen Stollznow*: Linguist, skeptical investigator, writer, podcaster
  • Jill Cornell Tarter: Astronomer, SETI Institute
  • Carol Tavris: Psychologist and author
  • David E. Thomas*: Physicist and mathematician
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist and director, Hayden Planetarium, New York City
  • Indre Viskontas: Cognitive neuroscientist, TV and podcast host, opera singer
  • Marilyn vos Savant: Parade magazine contributing editor
  • Stuart Vyse: Psychologist, professor, author
  • Steven Weinberg: Professor of physics and astronomy, University of Texas at Austin; Nobel laureate
  • O. Wilson: University professor emeritus, organismic and evolutionary biology, Harvard University
  • Richard Wiseman: Psychologist, University of Hertfordshire, England
  • Benjamin Wolozin: Professor, department of pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine

* denotes member of CSI Executive Council

Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Scientific and Technical Consultants

  • George Agogino
  • Gary Bauslaugh
  • Richard E. Berendzen
  • Martin Bridgstock
  • Richard Busch
  • Shawn Carlson
  • Charles J. Cazeau
  • Ronald J. Crowley
  • Roger Culver
  • J. Dath
  • Felix Ares de Blas
  • Michael R. Dennett
  • Sid Deutsch
  • J. Dommanget
  • Nahum Duker
  • Taner Edis
  • Barbara Eisenstadt
  • William Evans
  • Bryan Farha
  • John F. Fischer
  • Frederic Friedel
  • Robert E. Funk
  • Eileen Gambrill
  • Luis Alfonso Gamez
  • Sylvio Garattini
  • Susan Gerbic
  • Laurie Godfrey
  • Gerald Goldin
  • Donald Goldsmith
  • Norman Guttman
  • Alan Hale
  • Clyde Herreid
  • Sharon A. Hill
  • Gábor Hraskó
  • Michael Hutchinson
  • Philip A. Ianna
  • William Jarvis
  • W. Kelly
  • Richard H. Lange
  • Gerald A. Larue
  • Bernard J. Leikind
  • William M. London
  • Rebecca Long
  • John Mashey
  • Thomas R. McDonough
  • James E. McGaha
  • Joel A. Moskowitz
  • Matthew C. Nisbet
  • William A. Nolen
  • Julia Offe
  • John W. Patterson
  • James R. Pomerantz
  • Gary P. Posner
  • Tim Printy
  • Daisie Radner
  • Robert H. Romer
  • Milton A. Rothman
  • 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
  • Ernest H. Taves
  • Richard S. Thill
  • Sarah G. Thomason
  • Tim Trachet
  • David Willey
When they deny science, enforce dogma, reject reason, fabricate facts, and suppress dissent, we will be ready. Join us. CFI - Center for Inquiry

Powered By Your Passion

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.

In 2016, CFI made becoming a part of this vital movement easier and better than ever with its revamped membership program. The new program has upgraded its member benefits and made them apply everywhere CFI is. Membership levels are cosmically improved, with options for Planet, Star, Galaxy, and Universe-level status in the Center for Inquiry firmament. Monthly membership options were added to the existing yearly memberships as well.

To stand up for reason, to defend science from deniers, to protect the secular character of government, to advance free expression and belief around the world in 2017, become a member of the Center for Inquiry right now.


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.

We take accountability seriously. When you give to the Center for Inquiry and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, you trust us to use your funds diligently to advance our shared mission. This trust is crucial, and we are dedicated to stewarding your investment with the utmost diligence.

In 2016, we raised a total of $5,599,930, 88 percent of which came from donors and event attendees. As you know, we receive no government funding and very few grants. So individuals are crucial to our success.

Private donations: $3,454,373; Events: $1,472,013; Other: $673,544

When we spend our funds, we are keenly aware of the responsibility we have to our donors. Our program expenses reflect that commitment to accountability.

Programs and publications: $4,850,212; Management and general: $721,556; Fundraising: $663,051

2016 Major Donors to the Center for Inquiry and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science

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

$100,000 +

  • Louis Appignani
  • Charles Burnett III
  • Estate of Ruben Carrillo
  • Stiefel Freethought Foundation
  • Eddie Tabash

$50,000 - $99,999

  • Craigslist Charitable Fund
  • James Hervey Johnson Charitable Trust
  • Estate of Fred Kohler
  • Estate of Henry Messer

$25,000 – $49,999

  • Allen Family Trust
  • Carl Bajema
  • John & Mary Frantz
  • Robert Goodrich
  • Sam Harris
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Leonard Tramiel
  • Homer Wadsworth & Sherry Sheng

$10,000 - $24,999

  • Robert H. Dickerson
  • John Estes III & Norma Horner
  • Julian Haydon
  • John Hussey
  • Thomas & Patsy Inglet
  • Everett Jones
  • Bernard Katz Trust
  • Douglas Kinney & Lyliane Van Gijseghem
  • Stephen & Julie Maas Foundation
  • MacDonald-Peterson Foundation
  • Bill Maher
  • Maurice Meslans
  • Richard Smith
  • Warren & Michelle Stine
  • Estate of Sam Whittington

$5,000 - $9,999

  • James Alexander
  • Ralph Anavy
  • Aubrey Ayash
  • Edward Brown
  • Sorelle Cook
  • Brian Engler
  • Sally Epstein
  • Peter Freyd Family Charitable Fund
  • Sylvia Gallagher
  • Jeff Hawkins & Janet Strauss
  • Richard Hermsen
  • Baris Karadogan
  • Kevin Kelly
  • Jean & Aaron Martin Charitable Fund
  • Richard Norton
  • William Nye
  • Geoff Ralston
  • Frederic Rich
  • Harold Saferstein
  • Greg Stikeleather
  • Jamie Sypulski
  • Ashu Tyagi
  • Warren Whitaker
  • Reba Boyd Wooden

$1,000 - $4,999

  • David Adler
  • Roger Allec
  • Daniel Alston
  • Andrew Armstrong
  • Peter Armstrong
  • Katia Aryeh
  • Mark Asplund
  • Kenneth Averill
  • Robert Balles
  • Richard Barbieri
  • Mark Barnes
  • Matthew Barron
  • Benevity Community Impact Fund
  • Alice Bennett
  • Victor Benson
  • Larry Berkbigler
  • John Berry
  • Lyle Black
  • Craig Bohren
  • Brian Bolton
  • Keith Bookbinder
  • Gary Boone
  • Brent Bowen
  • Peter Boyer
  • Richard Brandshaft
  • Michael Brodie
  • Marcus Brookes
  • Harold Brown
  • Bruce Burton
  • Ray Burton
  • Gregory Campbell
  • Robert Carl III
  • George Carnahan
  • Casten Family Fund
  • James Chambers
  • Gordon Clark
  • J. W. Clayborne
  • Coastal Community Foundation
  • Robert Collins
  • Donald Collins
  • Muriel Connerton
  • George Cooper
  • Edwin Cox
  • Kimberly Coy
  • Cull Group, Inc.
  • Linda Dallasta
  • Jeanine DeNoma
  • Thomas DiPalma
  • Doug Dodd
  • Frank Dowding
  • Arno Driedger
  • Nicole Sheena Duquette
  • Elizabeth Ehrenfeld
  • Jan Eisler
  • Winfred Emmons
  • David Esopi
  • James Ewing
  • James Eyman
  • Martina Fern
  • Colin Flannery
  • Robert Foley
  • Susan Marie Frame
  • Sharon Fratepietro & Herb Silverman
  • Kendrick & Ruth Frazier
  • Paul Freeman
  • Glenn Gaunt
  • Daniel Gibbs
  • Elizabeth Goff
  • Dave & Sheila Gold
  • David Gorski
  • Jean Graham
  • George Gray
  • Estate of Jerome Green
  • Brent Gregory
  • Anna & James Griffin
  • Melissa Haney
  • Daniel Hare
  • Kenneth Harris
  • Glen Harris, Jr.
  • Jon Hauxwell
  • William Hawley
  • Paul & Mary Hazelton
  • David Heinrich
  • Neil Hemphill
  • David Henehan
  • Harrie Hess
  • Donald Heyneman
  • Justin Hinckley
  • Stephanie Hodges
  • Dennis Hoofnagle
  • Pamela House
  • Brooke Hunter
  • Institute for Experimental Psychiatry, Inc.
  • Ron Johnson
  • Warford Johnson II
  • Bruce Johnson
  • Courtney Jones
  • Richard & Cassandra Junk
  • Gary Kaplan
  • Veronika Keller
  • Eric Kemmler
  • Susan Kennedy
  • Fred Khoroushi
  • Clayton Killpack
  • Amy King & Trey Wood
  • Jeff King
  • Richard Kinsey
  • Marco Klein
  • Claire Klingenberg
  • Gail Knapp
  • Frank Knight
  • The Kodosky Foundation
  • Artem Koren
  • Stanley Korwin
  • Barry Kosmin
  • John Krasney
  • Bob Kresek
  • Cynthia Krieg
  • Tim Kubes
  • Philip Lawson
  • Stephen Layfield
  • Richard Lenski
  • Thomas Leonard
  • Mateo Lettunich
  • Andrew Lin
  • Mark Lloyd
  • James Loss
  • Ty Lundell
  • Stuart Macguire
  • Hayley MacPhee
  • Fred Mandelkorn
  • Jonathan Marcus
  • Rajeev Maria
  • Peter Marineau
  • Lembrau Marius
  • George Martin
  • Aaron Martin
  • Herb Masters III
  • William Mastrocola & Earl Marble
  • Chris McCain
  • Judith McDonough
  • Graham McIntosh
  • John Menninger
  • Phil Mercer
  • Kevin Miller
  • John Milligan
  • Andrew Milman
  • Francisco Miranda
  • Rud Moe
  • Scot Morris
  • David Morrison
  • John Mosley
  • Anna-Maria Mueller
  • Matthew Mulkeen
  • Phillip Mullen
  • Fred Muna
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Leigh Murray
  • John Nedby
  • Richard Nesbit
  • Estate of Wesley Nichols
  • Jeffrey Nitka
  • Ronald Nordgren
  • Mark & Gloria Nudelman
  • Sean & Diana O’Brien
  • David O’Brien
  • Idris Ocal
  • Paul Offit
  • Robert Orendain
  • John Osberg
  • Gerrie Paino
  • Alan Palmer
  • Catherine Patterson
  • Paul Pellarini
  • Henry Pena
  • Joseph Perez
  • Kenneth Peters
  • Michael Philips
  • Charles Pickelhaupt
  • Harold Pike, Jr.
  • Thomas Platt
  • Fred Pollack
  • Ken Powell
  • David Powell
  • Elizabeth Reeb
  • Glenn Reynolds
  • Monette Richards & Steven Schlosnagle
  • William Richardson
  • Wolf Roder
  • Scott Romanowski
  • James Rupke
  • Robert Rush
  • Patrick Russell
  • Richard Sackler
  • James Sanford
  • Amy Santoya
  • Steven Schmitt
  • Scholly Memorial Fund
  • Daniel Schultheisz
  • Jerald Schwarz
  • Thomas Scruggs
  • Justin Seamons
  • Alexander Seliutin
  • Mark Shaffer
  • Shawn Shih
  • Wanda Shirk
  • Marc Sigle
  • Nuala Sinisi
  • Barry Skeist
  • Snyder White Oaks of Delaware Foundation
  • Robert Stahl
  • Douglas Stein
  • Max Stolz, Jr.
  • Jason Strauss
  • Larry Stuhl
  • Harry Sutton
  • Eliza Sutton
  • Anthony Sutton
  • Winnie Sulit Swalley
  • Allen Szczepek
  • Deirdre Tarr
  • David Terret
  • James Thompson
  • Warren & Jane Tisdale
  • John To
  • Lacey Tygenhof
  • Theodore Tyler
  • United Health Group
  • Jonathan Valkanet
  • Bruce Van Natta
  • Bayard Vanhecke Jr.
  • Albert VanPelt
  • Thomson Von Stein
  • Janet Wages
  • Judith Walker & George Hallenbeck
  • Greg Wallington
  • Ryan Wank
  • Douglas Weaver
  • David Weldon
  • Sheldon Wilde
  • Harry Willett Foundation
  • Frederic Winsser & Cynthia Lowry
  • Kenneth Wolverton & Waleed Doany
  • Jeff Young
  • Jingjin Zhang

Please note: we endeavor to issue a complete and correct list of donors, and we want to respect all donor’s wishes for acknowledgment. If you notice an incorrect entry, please contact Martina Fern at 1-800-818-7071 ext. 426 or mfern@centerforinquiry.net.