10 in 10 Challenge

FBB is turning 10! Let's celebrate. For 10 months in 2019, FBB is challenging 10 humanists to become monthly givers. Help make the world a better place and help FBB grow for 10 more years!

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  • Highlights 4 carefully vetted charities per quarter in the areas of Poverty and Health, Education, Human Rights, and Natural World.

  • Sign up here to be considered for our next volunteer deployment.

  • 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.

We are Humanism at Work

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.

We forward our mission through our programs: Grants, Disaster Recovery, Service Corps, and Volunteer Network.

Inside FBB: Latest News

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July BBN roundup

14 Aug 2019

A new group registered as a BBN Team this month: the Atheist Community of Polk County, and they’ve already held their first event! Volunteers came out to clean up the two mile roadway the team has adopted through Keep Polk County Beautiful. Eight volunteers collected thirteen bags of trash from the roadside in three hours! Great turnout for their first event! 

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Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) volunteer worked for seven hours at a soft drink booth at the July 3rd Red, White and Boom fireworks display to benefit the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House, and four volunteers worked as Housewarmers for a total of over twenty-six hours a few days later. COUNT members volunteered again this month with Adaptive Sports Connection (ASC) events, helping Central Ohio veterans, children, and adults who need adaptive equipment or instruction to participate in various sports including skiing, kayaking, and cycling. Ten COUNT members have participated in thirty-two ASC Cycling, Winter Sports, Kayaking, and/or Sailing events, contributing 204.5 hours since they started working with ASC in August 2018. Way to go COUNT on breaking 200 hours volunteered with ASC in your first year working together!

COUNT and Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) partnered up again this month, volunteering as servers at the Community Shelter Board (CSB) facility on Van Buren Drive in Columbus, Ohio. The teams also held their regular Bleed-N-Feed event at the Carriage Place Red Cross Donor Center, giving a total of eleven units of whole blood and platelets before heading over a nearby restaurant to replenish.  

Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI), held a Nutritioncamp, a collaborative effort with NUGEN Entrepreneurs— a group of entrepreneurs who want to participate in community development events— to feed the poor and underweight children of Alabang, Muntinlupa City in the Philippines. These children belong to HAPI’s adopted community, where they usually hold their community events. The team distributed assorted school supplies in loot bags to students with individually packed food supplements to help curb the incidence of malnutrition in the community.  It was the team’s first time collaborating with NUGEN and the program went well. 

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BE Orlando held a Recovering from Religion Peer Discussion Group, providing humanist community support for those doubting or questioning beliefs, facing challenges related to secular identity or supporting secular people in their lives. Eleven members attended. 

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The Family & Friends Humanist Crew in Mundelein, IL volunteered at Bernie's Book Bank in Lake Bluff. Bernie's Book Bank collects donated books to distribute to underprivileged children. The team sorted through books to categorize them for which age group they'd be best. Some members couldn't make it due to schedule conflicts, but they had new people join and the event went great! Everyone had a lot of fun volunteering at Bernie's Book Bank again!

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We’re really excited for the great work the teams are doing! Keep it up!

By FBB

2019-july-whistle

June 30th was National Whistleblower Appreciation Day in the United States, marked by a unanimous Senate resolution to commemorate the sacrifices whistleblowers have sustained to protect the public interest.

The day falls on the anniversary of the passage of the world's first whisteblower law to allow dispensation for individuals to expose injustices, the passage of which was prompted by a misconduct scandal involving the highest-ranking US naval official in 1777.

Whistleblowing isn't an act exclusive to massive government scandals like Watergate or the Edward Snowden leaks. It involves tenacious, everyday members of the public standing up against discrimination, harassment (sexual or otherwise), negative work environments, financial waste, safety hazards and more.  Whistleblowers can come from a variety of fields including government, media, blue collar industry, entertainment, finance, and education

The ethics of whistleblowing—when and how to raise alarm about a perceived injustice—can be subject to some debate among humanists. The whistleblower arguably plays a pivotal role in our struggle toward creating an equitable society. However, the argument exists that there are occasions when whistleblowing may be the wrong choice. How can we make sure we are not motivated by spite or personal grievance, or are seeking publicity a preconceived viewpoint?

Perhaps we only see the tip of an iceberg-sized complex issue, and may not be making a fully informed decision. Perhaps our action may indadvantly create a more dangerous or unethical situation.

On the other hand, one can make the case that any action is most often preferable to inaction. Complicity can be a crime. Under this reasoning, do we ignore individual motives to focus on the majority's benefit? There are times when the consequences of a moral act may not be obvious in the short term, perhaps not in our lifetime. A news interview today may snowball into a massive political shift tomorrow. If the public reaps the benefits, does it matter whether a movement starts as an act of self-seeking? Are we better to err on the side of the freest possible flow of information, and leave the consequences up to time?

Upon consideration of this dilemma, we ultimately return to the need for vigilant self-reflection before taking any action. Should we find ourselves wondering whether to shine light on our perception of an issue, perhaps the best we can do is check our own motivations, check our understanding of the situation, and make the most informed decision possible based on the facts at hand. 

This article is part of a series written by guest contributors exploring how to incorporate humanist values into their everyday lives. The opinions expressed in this article may not necessarily express those of Foundation Beyond Belief, its staff, or donors. 

By Eric Zaklukiewicz, Staff Contributor

June’s Beyond Belief Network Team of the Month, Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Community Service Committee members volunteered to prepare food at St. James, a Catholic soup kitchen, in Highwood, IL. For their event Kol Hadash provided food, prepared it, served it, and cleaned up after. Great event Kol Hadash!

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The Picture of the Month comes from Grand Junction, CO  team Humanists Doing Good’s day assisting the Special Olympics of Colorado's State Summer Games. Volunteers answered the last minute call and showed up to help track and field athletes to their events and ceremonies and also aided with the necessary paperwork for the events. There were plenty of heartwarming moments and big smiles throughout the day. Way to go Humanists Doing Good!

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Our BBN teams are just one of many examples of the work our humanist community does to make a positive impact on the world. We can't do it without your support. Please consider a donation to our 10-in-10 Anniversary campaign today.

By FBB

“This is the most cohesive group we’ve partnered with,” says Genaro Simalaj, Pueblo a Pueblo’s Senior Beekeeping Project Technician. “They work very well together, and they are well-organized—and as a result, their hives are more stable and more successful than we’ve seen from any other partner group at this stage in the project.”

Group members suit up to check on their hives

They are Batz’ib’al Juyu’, a group of beekeepers-in-training based in San Pablo La Laguna, Guatemala. They are about to wrap up their first year as Pueblo a Pueblo Beekeeping project partners. Genaro has mentored each of Pueblo a Pueblo’s beekeeping partner groups, but he sees something special in the way the San Pablo beekeepers learn and work together.

What makes these beekeepers-in-training such an effective team? It is their shared commitment to their families, their community, and the earth. A web of personal relationships, common values, and shared identities connects the San Pablo group, and it has set them up for success in their endeavors as beekeepers, honey producers, and entrepreneurs.

Perhaps the most powerful force uniting this group of beekeepers is their desire to build a brighter future for their families. Farming families like the San Pablo beekeepers’ can increase their economic stability by diversifying their sources of income through activities like beekeeping. Keeping bees is an opportune way for families to earn extra income because it requires few additional hours of labor per week, especially when tasks and responsibilities are shared among members of a collective like Batz’ib’al Juyu’.

Ana Maribel Quicain Ajpan, president of Batz'ib'al Juyu'Ana Maribel Quicain Ajpan (left) is the group’s president and the single mother of a 13-year-old son. Although she works as a weaver and harvests coffee on a seasonal basis, she worries about making ends meet. “I can see that what I earn isn’t enough,” she says. “That’s why I am always thinking about how I need to find another job, that I need to find alternatives—like this beekeeping project.” Maribel is optimistic that beekeeping will provide her with the extra income she needs to provide a more secure life for her son.

Maribel and the other beekeepers were born and raised in San Pablo La Laguna, a small town on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala’s western highlands. In San Pablo, the vast majority of residents—our beekeeping partners included—identify as indigenous Maya Tz’utujil. The ten beekeepers meet each week to discuss everything from hive maintenance to business planning, and every two weeks a team of four group members makes the hour-long trek to the apiary to check on their hives. “These beekeepers are committed to making time for their work as a group,” says Genaro. “This level of organization makes them unique, and it will help them in the long term.”The name they chose for their group reflects their shared value of environmentalism. Batz’ib’al Juyu’ is a phrase in Tz’utujil, the local Mayan language spoken in San Pablo. While it cannot be translated directly, the phrase combines the words “batz’” (thread), “bal” (machinery), and “juyu’” (volcano), to describe the living, breathing ecological fabric of the beekeepers’ lakeside home and their role as stewards of its native biodiversity. The group’s logo shows the Maya god of maize face-to-face with a honey bee, both contemplating a young corn plant. Every jar of honey produced by Batz’ib’al Juyu’ carries this logo, an homage to the group’s common values and worldview. 

 

Beekeeping is important to the San Pablo group as a way to conserve local bee populations and the health of their entire ecosystem. “The native bees and native plants in this region are like an inheritance given to us by our ancestors, and we must take care of them,” says Maribel. “I want to be a messenger to my community regarding the importance of bees to our natural world.” 

Maribel and her team have a vision of a brighter future. Now Pueblo a Pueblo is equipping them with the tools they need to turn their plans into reality. We provide each Beekeeping partner group with an initial donation of materials—bees, hives, smokers and protective gear—followed by training and mentorship in beekeeping techniques and business skills, courtesy of Genaro. By the end of the project’s three-year timeline, the beekeepers of Batz’ib’al Juyu’ will be ready to operate as a fully independent beekeeping collective and honey enterprise!

When the San Pablo beekeepers look toward the future, they see a world of opportunity to share the benefits of the project with other members of their community. “I would like to teach my son and my siblings what I have learned so that they can become part of this project,” says Maribel. “I want to share my knowledge of both the theoretical and practical aspects of beekeeping with my family and my community.”

Maribel and her team have already carried out one spectacular harvest, yielding over 200 pounds of beautiful golden honey. “This was an extremely impressive first harvest,” Genaro notes. “I’m proud of the group’s progress so far and I look forward to seeing what they continue to accomplish.”

Pueblo a Pueblo beekeeping

The group’s next step is adding native stingless bees to their apiary. Wherever the future takes them, Batz’ib’al Juyu’ will go there together. Maribel believes that there is much she and her team can achieve through beekeeping. “And,” she says, “I have the energy, I have the will to see it done.” The San Pablo beekeepers’ passion, together with Genaro’s expertise and Pueblo a Pueblo’s support, makes them a powerful force for change in their communities and in their future of their families. We are proud to be part of their journey.

As the beekeepers of Batz’ib’al Juyu’ move into the second phase of their training, our team is gearing up to welcome a new partner group to the Beekeeping project. With your support, we can equip a new group of beekeepers-in-training with the tools they need to succeed—together.


Learn more about Pueblo a Pueblo's beekeeping project at www.puebloapueblo.org/beekeeping.html

 
Pueblo a Pueblo is a recipient of Foundation Beyond Belief's Humanist Grants Program, specifically its competitive Compassionate Impact Grant.
 
 

By Pueblo a Pueblo, FBB Beneficiary

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