Highlights 4 carefully vetted charities per quarter in the areas of Poverty and Health, Education, Human Rights, and Natural World.
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Service Corps volunteers save lives and fight for gender equality by supporting local human rights organizations in Ghana’s Northern Region.
Our Beyond Belief Network is a collective of organizations putting compassionate humanism into action through community volunteering and charitable fundraising.
The hosts of our official podcast travel the country telling stories of life-changing events, expanding our horizons and our compassion.
Foundation Beyond Belief is a humanist charity that promotes secular volunteering and responsible charitable giving. Guided by the principles of secular humanism, our mission is to:
Unite the humanist community in volunteering and charitable efforts.
Advocate for compassionate action throughout the world.
24 May 2018
05 May 2018
Bridging the gap between rigorously tested poverty interventions and programs that have an impact at scale seems like a straightforward concept. Once something is found to work, can’t you apply that same solution anywhere a particular problem is found? The answer is much more complex - turns out that in most cases, adaptations and permutations are required to ensure that the same result can be replicated. And in some cases, contexts are just too different - what worked in a small, controlled setting may yield very different results at scale, and at times with unintended consequences. It is this complexity that leads few organizations to consciously and intentionally attempt to bridge the gap.
At Evidence Action, we span the continuum from incubation of promising interventions through to scaled implementation. We partner with the researchers who developed the evidence for what works throughout the scale-up process, working to distill an intervention to the core components that result in the demonstrated impact. Our teams are skilled in implementation - we understand delivery systems and how to leverage existing infrastructure and partners to bring solutions to the people in need. By incorporating the whole process within Evidence Action, we accelerate the learning cycle and more cost-effectively alleviate the burden of poverty at a mass scale.
Evidence Action’s Beta incubator takes ideas that have proven successful in tightly controlled research environments and translates them into measurably impactful, cost-effective programs that can be delivered, at scale, in the ‘real world’. This scale up occurs through a rigorous process of designing, prototyping, testing, and finally delivering measurably impactful, cost-effective programs that are ready for implementation by Evidence Action and our partners. No Lean Season, our micro-financing intervention currently testing to scale in Bangladesh, is an example of a program in the final stages of Beta’s pipeline and was recognized by GiveWell in 2017 as a Top Charity.
The Beta process is key to ensuring program impact at scale, as we want to make certain that what works at the trial stage for a smaller population is still going to work at scale. The Beta team carefully analyzes the interventions at every step, examining along four key criteria to determine whether they should advance through the pipeline or be exited. We apply the criteria throughout our process, giving greater or lesser emphasis to certain criteria depending on what is appropriate at each phase. Our filtering criteria include:
Impact: We begin with ideas that are backed by research. As we use these ideas to build testable prototypes, we consider impact more comprehensively: does the initial impact registered in research hold in the real world? In a new context and over time? When implemented at scale: how does an idea impact economic markets (general equilibrium effects) or third parties (externalities) measure against its impact on beneficiaries?
Cost-effectiveness: We strive to find solutions that have the maximum impact for every dollar spent. Cost-effective programs have high value for money and are better than alternative solutions at achieving a measurable outcome. We use cost-effectiveness analysis to provide insight on the relative costs and effects of different interventions, which ultimately inform potential program impact. We also use cost-effectiveness analysis to provide general comparability of alternative interventions, and help inform priorities for resource allocation.
Scalability: We only invest in delivering services that have the potential to reach millions of people. Interventions that are intrinsically impossible to scale or that do meet a real need faced by millions of people do not make the cut. If, for any reason, we find we (or our implementing partners) cannot deliver a particular intervention at scale, we exit it from our pipeline.
Strategic fit: We recognize that some projects are better suited for our organization than others. We account for our strengths and limitations when deciding whether to pursue an idea, and we prioritize projects that align with our organizational strategy and infrastructural capacity, including those that have the potential to maximize the impact of our existing programs, or which leverage our existing program delivery platforms.
Our flagship programs illustrate the work we do once programs are fully scaled, including regular and robust monitoring and evaluation to ensure that intended impacts are achieved, and constant iteration to incrementally improve the program model and cost-effectiveness. Nor do we stop once programs exit the Beta pipeline--for example, each year our Deworm the World Initiative has grown exponentially, from reaching 35 million children in 2014 to over 280 million in 2017. The school-based deworming program partners with governments in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Vietnam to support delivery of regular deworming treatments to school-age and preschool-age children at risk of worm infection.
Our Dispensers for Safe Water program reaches around 4 million people across Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi, ensuring safe water access for families year round. The program installs chlorine dispensers near community water points, allowing families to add a pre-measured amount of chlorine into their water containers, keeping their water safe for 2-3 days. The program helps avert health impacts stemming from chronic diarrhea, cholera, and other waterborne diseases.
Organization-wide, we impacted over 285 million individuals in 2017. Our dispenser program has averted over 1.3 million cases of diarrhea in children under the age of five, and has prevented over 1,000 deaths of children in the same age group in Uganda. Our deworming program supported treatment of over 280 million children in 2017 at an incredible cost of less than $0.50 per treatment per child on average across all geographies.
Evidence Action’s key strength is in our ability to encompass the continuum from evidence to real, measurable impact. We work hard to identify promising interventions and work harder still to ensure those interventions can reach the hundreds of millions in need. With support from partners, funders, individual supporters, and a staff of over 300 operating in 10 countries, Evidence Action’s impact reaches worldwide.
Evidence Action is Foundation Beyond Belief's current Poverty and Health beneficiary. To be a donor to our Humanist Grants program, visit our website. You can be humanism at work.By Evidence Action, FBB Poverty & Health Beneficiary
Foundation Beyond Belief is so proud of the many individuals and local groups who made extraordinary contributions to compassionate humanism in 2017. Through our work, we are honored to partner with these individuals and organizations in order to improve the lives of so many communities throughout the world. Our Heart of Humanism awards recognizes some of these dedicated volunteers, and we were so thrilled to announce the 2017 winners in our newsletter a few weeks ago. We're happy to share this news here on our blog now, as we also remind folks that this is your last chance to register for the American Humanist Association Conference in Vegas. Award winners in attendance will be presented with their awards. We'll also have a table set up at the conference, so if you're planning to be there, please come say hello. We'd love to get to know you.
Our Humanism at Work award goes to the team with the most volunteer hours. This year our winner is Austin Humanists at Work with an incredible 5,156 total hours. Their team will receive a grant of $250.00. Our Eat. Sleep. Volunteer. Repeat. award goes to the team with the most events in 2017. This year we're proud to honor STAR, South Texas Atheists for Reason, who had more than double the number of events of the next active team, with an amazing 104 events! This award brings the team a grant of $100.00.
This year's Rookie of the Year award goes to Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless. They may have been new to our Beyond Belief Network, but they came in ready to work. They will receive a grant of $50.00. The Campus All-Star award recognizes an outstanding student team, and this year our winner is the Secular Student Alliance at Ohio State University. These bright students will receive a grant of $100.00.
The Gimme Food and Shelter award, which recognizes the team with outstanding contributions to causes related to homelessness and food insecurity, goes to Minnesota Atheists. Their monthly events include sitting down and eating with the people experiencing homelessness that they are serving. We know they will put their award grant of $100.00 to good use.
Our Best Photo award goes to Long Island Atheists. This photo was taken during their first trail and highway clean up event at their adopted area near Little League of the Islips. They had a great turnout with more volunteers than expected and even got support from others in the area who were playing sports or fishing.
The Backbone Volunteers award goes to the team that played a consistent and reliable role in a local organization. This year our winner is BeOrlando, who hosted a monthly meal serve at SafeHouse of Seminole with monthly themes like Fiesta, Food from the Heart, or Super Spooky Supper. Just a couple days before their scheduled event in September, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and the shelter was in the midst of being evacuated. The shelter didn't have dinner or clean water for their residents, so BeOrlando took them cases of water and pizza. The team will receive a grant of $100.00.
Now that we've acknowledged our team recipients, we are so excited to announce our individual Heart of Humanism awards.
Most Valuable Volunteer, awarded to the most dedicated team member across all BBN teams (as nominated by team leaders) is Jamie del Rosario Martinez of HAPI. Jamie has been a volunteer with HAPI since 2014. Her primary involvement began with feeding 200 children in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Philippines each month. She is also active in administrative duties, serving as group Secretary, taking charge of the HAPI merchandise like shirts, hats, scarves, and the book, "From Superstition to Reason" printed in Manila, Philippines. She was an active 'behind the scenes' coordinator of the Asian Humanist Convention in June 2017.
Our Outstanding Leader award recognizes an outstanding Beyond Belief Network team leader, and this year we are proud to award this honor to Victoria Gettman of South Texas Atheists for Reason (STAR). Vicki is the founder and force behind STAR, a group that had so many different service events in 2017 that they won our Eat. Sleep. Volunteer. Repeat. award for most events! STAR hosts a weekly meeting at Lackland Air Force Base as an alternative to mandatory religious services and regularly hosts over 20% of the BMT trainees at their meeting.
The Heart of Humanism, our highest award, for outstanding contributions to compassionate humanism, goes to David Tamayo of Hispanic American Freethinkers (HAFree). As President of HAFree, David (while working a full-time job) coordinated with HAFree groups in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. David communicated closely with them in order to understand their situation and their needs, and then collected donations of water filters, solar ovens and cookers, and much more, and shipped seven containers of desperately needed items which arrived less than two months after Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. David's dedication and contributions have made a huge difference to many people in Puerto Rico, and FBB was proud to designate a $5,000 grant to HAFree in support of their hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
The Heart of Humanism awards will be presented in person to the awardees who are present at the American Humanist Association's 77th Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV on the weekend of May 18th.
Thank you to all of our outstanding teams and leaders. We can't wait to see what you accomplish this year!By FBB
In the early parts of any new year, many people make resolutions. Our Beyond Belief Network (BBN) teams were already amazing in 2017, but it seems they've resolved to do even more good work in 2018. Let's take a look at how they've already made a big difference in their communities this first quarter of 2018.
The Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) and the Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) teamed up as the Columbus Coalition of Reason (CoR) once again to work at the Community Shelter Board (CSB,) volunteering over 50 combined hours in January, February and March! The Community Shelter Board provides housing and meals to homeless families and individual men and women in Central Ohio. Some volunteers serve dinners while others wash dishes, mop floors, file forms and clean tables. To date, Columbus CoR volunteers have worked 831 hours in 39 events with the CSB to date. Volunteers wear COUNT/HCCO branded name tags to raise awareness that they are non-theists doing charity.
COUNT volunteers also worked as Housewarmers at the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in January, February, and March. RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with our guests to provide a home-like environment - greet, assist with family needs, answer phones, give tours, assist with checkin/checkout, prepare guest rooms after checkout, clean facility, laundry, restock supplies and staff the front desk. COUNT volunteers have contributed over 50 hours since January and over 1143 hours from the start of their involvement with RMH in 2013 through the end of March 2018.
CoR also sponsored a Charity Fundraiser Happy Hour at Land Grant Brewing Company in the Franklinton area of downtown Columbus to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Volunteers from multiple Columbus CoR groups showed up to support the local charity and raised over $50 while collecting an estimated 72 pounds of food. This fun event again paired great conversations with some of the best local craft beer in Central Ohio. COUNT members arranged the event for Columbus CoR and various member groups advertised it building on the annual Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) Benefit Dinner’s success in helping the foodbank. Columbus CoR has now raised $14,197.22 and collected 1,846 lbs of food for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank since 2012. Great work, teams!
Ohio volunteers held their Eighth Columbus CoR Bleed-N-Feed since the Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) helped to expand the longstanding Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) event. Volunteers donated 10 hours of their time, giving a total of 10 units at the Carriage Place Red Cross Donor Center in Columbus, Ohio. Some donors make appointments and give 1 unit of whole blood while others do apheresis donating up to 3 units of platelets or 2 units of red blood cells. Donors become diners as they head to a nearby restaurant after to replenish. Columbus CoR members spent 56 hours donating 49 units for Bleed-N-Feed events since January 2017.
Down in Florida, BBN team Brevard Area Atheists also kicked off the year in high gear. They held a road cleanup in January during which they picked up 11 bags of trash totaling 83 pounds. It was very cold, but they had enough energy to make it manageable and covered a lot of ground. In February, they were able to pick up 12 bags of trash totaling over 60 pounds!
Over in Texas, the Austin Humanists at Work had a meeting of their Gettin' Knotty guild. Members meet to knit and crochet hats and scarves, which they hand out in cold-weather months. They also make cotton washcloths, which are handed out year-round.
Austin Humanists at Work also held donation drives and giveaways this quarter. They gathered under a bridge in downtown Austin to hand out basic living items to those in need our community. We had a long line of tables and plenty of donations to put on them. They were able to serve over 290 people. They also hosted a book drive and put together first aid kits this quarter. This Austin BBN team is always busy doing good!
South Texas Atheists for Reason (STAR) teamed up with Habitat for Humanity this quarter, assisting with house building duties as assigned, using power tools to help homeowners in the program complete their homes. They installed closet bracings, cabinets, siding, window frames, and J-channels for the soffits. STAR also continued their Gardening for Good program with the San Antonio Food Bank, planting gardens that help local citizens who need fresh vegetables.
STAR also continues providing a Humanist Chaplain at Lackland Airforce base. They generally have between 800 and 950 attendees and discuss various topics, such as: Humanism as an introductory course, Grief & Stress, and Separation of Church and State.
The Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry picked up 375 pounds of litter along their designated highway with the South Carolina Adopt-a-Highway program, despite the cold temperatures!
The Humanist Alliance of the Phillipines, International (HAPI) held an event called Kids NutriCamp this quarter. It's their feeding program with the school and out-of-school kids of Ilaya Street in Muntinlupa City as regular beneficiaries. The program began with some storytelling and values education by parent volunteers, followed by dance numbers and a musical recital prepared by the kids and dinner made with vegetables and herbs. This feeding program was organized in preparation for the involvement of a nutritionist from the city health office going forward.
Sandhills Secular Society held their first street clean up. They had to get a few of the logistics worked out deciding how best to split up, but they cleaned a 2-mile stretch of road and had a great turnout! They're ready for their event to be flawless! Good start, Sandhills, and welcome to the team! (Featured Image)
The Humanists Doing Good crew of Grand Junction, Colorado volunteeed at Eureka! McConnell Science Museum during their grand opening. Volunteers carried out a variety of tasks ranging from directing traffic to moving construction equipment. The grand opening was a big success and the new museum will be a great opportunity for children's education in the community. Everyone had a great time, and volunteers were able to see all the exhibits. They built some new connections in the community, too.
BBN team Springfield Skeptics cleaned up their stretch of adopted highway cramming several dozen pounds of trash into 7 trash bags and for MODOT to pick up. It went off without a hitch, as always. Good work, y'all!
Foundation Beyond Belief is so proud of our many BBN teams and all the good you do. Thanks for being humanism at work!By FBB