Foundation Beyond Belief is thrilled to announce the winners of our first-annual Heart of Humanism Awards. This year’s awards recognize the outstanding community service of local groups who participated in our Volunteers Beyond Belief (VBB) program in 2012, as well as individuals who made extraordinary contributions to compassionate humanism. Earlier this year, VBB became part of Beyond Belief Network, along with our Foundation Partners Program and Light The Night international team. In addition to recognition, winners receive grants they can direct to any 501(c)(3) organization they choose.
Volunteers Beyond Belief launched in 2011 with seven teams: Triangle Freethought Society, Fellowship of Freethought, Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, Harvard Humanists, Valley Skeptics in the Park, Humanity on Call, and Humanist Community of Central Ohio. As of this year, BBN has grown to more than 70 teams across the United States, with more than 4,000 volunteers and nearly 27,000 hours of community service to date. We are amazed by all the exciting service opportunities the BBN teams have planned so far in 2013, and we can’t wait to see who the 2013 award winners are!
2012 team winners are:
1. Humanism at Work Award for Most Volunteer Hours (total hours volunteered divided by the number of people in group) and $250 grant: Triangle Freethought Society
2. Eat. Sleep. Volunteer. Repeat. Award for Most Volunteer Events and $100 grant: Fellowship of Freethought Dallas
3. Rookie of the Year for Best Team Added in 2012 and $50 grant: Humanists of Rhode Island
4. Campus All-Star Award for Outstanding Student Team and $100 grant: SSA U Michigan
5. Humanist Communication Award for Best Event Reporting and $50 grant: Minnesota Atheists
6. Feed the Need for Outstanding Food-Related Volunteering and $50 grant: Fellowship of Freethought Dallas
7. Best Service Article or Video and $50 grant: Valley Skeptics in the Park
8. Best Photograph of Humanism at Work and $50 grant: Valley Skeptics in the Park
Light the Night Team Awards:
1. Shining Star Award for Outstanding Light The Night Team: Triangle Freethought Society
Special thanks to all of the 2012 VBB LTN teams: Harvard Humanists, HCCO, FoF Dallas, Valley Skeptics, Triangle Freethought Society, Cleveland Freethinkers, SSA U of Chicago, Minnesota Atheists, SSA U Michigan, Humanists of Rhode Island, New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, CSRA Non-Theists
Individual Award winners:
Our 2012 Most Valuable Volunteer and recipient of a $100 grant is Josh Nankivel of Siouxland Freethinkers. Josh has donated blood, school supplies, and toys, and helped with highway cleanup and kids’ science events. He raised $12,000 for Autism Speaks and was the top individual fundraiser in South Dakota in 2012!
The Humanist Visionary Award goes to Greg Epstein for his groundbreaking contributions to the development of humanist community nationwide through his writing, speaking, and work with the Humanist Community Project at Harvard University.
The Humanist Innovator Award goes to Carmen Zepp for the creation of Human Beans Together, a program that grew out of the simple desire to share food with those who are hungry in the Raleigh area. Since January 2012, Human Beans has operated a weekly open-air “soup kitchen” in the center of the city, feeding hundreds of people each week. Carmen is a member of the Triangle Freethought Society.
Finally, the Heart of Humanism Award goes to Todd Stiefel, founding executive director of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation and Team Captain of FBB’s Light The Night Team. He and his family matched Light The Night donations dollar for dollar, contributing more than $200,000 in 2012. SFF also provided thousands of dollars for Light The Night incentives to top fundraising teams.
But as game-changing as Todd’s financial support has been, his time and leadership have made at least as great an impact. He works tirelessly to support the humanist movement, from volunteering for Camp Quest, to speaking at conferences, to organizing humanist programs and leading our LTN International Team.
Please join us in congratulating all of our 2012 Heart of Humanism award winners on Facebook! Go to our page and leave them some love.
If your group would like to make charity a larger part of your identity, consider joining Beyond Belief Network. We welcome any groups with a public secular humanist or atheist identity, with all levels of experience. We provide our teams with how-to guides, tips, and assistance planning and promoting events. Additionally, we award our top teams with recognition, t-shirts, and the opportunity to apply for grants for service projects. To be eligible for the 2013 awards, you must report at least eight events prior to December 31, 2013. Teams may submit backdated reports for all of their 2013 events.