14 Jul 2019
Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size.
What were our BBN Teams up to in June? Let’s find out!
We have a new team joining us in June, Community of Reason in Cincinnati, Ohio! Welcome to the Network, COR!
Austin Humanists at Work held a donation drive for their June Giveaway. ATXHAW volunteers solicited donations via word of mouth, on neighborhood listservs, and social media, and were able to collect 2,346 items to distribute! Also in June, members of ATXHAW’s knit and crochet group, Gettin’ Knotty, met in the cafe of a local bookstore, creating washcloths to also be distributed at the giveaway - this month they created seven to hand out! On the morning of June 16, thirty ATXHAW volunteers gathered under a bridge in downtown Austin to hand out basic living items to those in need in their community. They were able to serve 209 fellow humans! Thanks to the Ethical Society of Austin for bringing coolers & ice to chill donated water.
The Family & Friends Humanist Crew in Mundelein, IL participated in a 5K called Hustle for Health which raised money for the Kenneth Young Center. This organization helps older adults safely live independently and provides behavioral health services to children, adults, and families. It was held at the beautiful Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove, IL. This team loves to run! One of our international teams, Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI), collected clothing, snacks and medicine to distribute to indigenous people in their area. This visit, they were able to provide vitamin drops for 36 children!
Volunteers from Humanists Doing Good in Grand Junction, Colorado, assisted the Special Olympics of Colorado's State Summer Games. Volunteers helped 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. The team received late notice that the Special Olympics needed additional help and were able to provide six volunteers!
Freethought Dayton in Dayton, OH, held a highway cleanup event, picking up litter from the I-675 and OH-48 interchanges. Five members participated and were able to gather about eight bags of trash!
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) volunteers worked as Housewarmers at the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House again this month, and then partnered again with the Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) volunteering as servers at the Community Shelter Board (CSB) facility on Van Buren Drive in Columbus, Ohio. COUNT also sent volunteers to a number of 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. (In June, it was more kayaking and cycling, not so much skiiing!) In the photo below, COUNT member Andrew (rear of tandem) shares a tandem kayak with a student participant.
The Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Community Service Committee in Lincolnshire, IL, volunteered at St. James Soup Kitchen in Highwood, IL. Volunteers provided food, prepared and served, and cleaned up afterward. Full service volunteering!
If you are a member of a secular humanist or atheist group and would like to participate in community service projects under the national umbrella of Foundation Beyond Belief, join Beyond Belief Network. We welcome all atheist groups interested in service, from groups with extensive volunteer experience to newly formed groups new to secular service. By aggregating our efforts, we demonstrate that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.By FBB
Foundation Beyond Belief usually chooses four beneficiaries to receive grants each quarter in the categories of Poverty & Health, Human Rights, Education, and the Natural World. However, one quarter per year we instead have an open, competitive process to award one innovative organization with the game-changing Compassionate Impact Grant. This grant is given to organizations whose programs are demonstrably innovative, evidence-based, and solve community problems.
This year, we are thrilled to announce that 2019's Compassionate Impact Grant will be awarded to Pueblo a Pueblo to expand its innovative, data-driven, and culturally appropriate programs targeting locally-defined problems in the Lake Atitlán region of Guatemala.
Specifically, this year's grant will support the Beekeeping project within Pueblo a Pueblo’s Sustainable Livelihoods program, targeting coffee farming communities with a focus on women and indigenous Mayan farmers. Coffee farming does not provide a stable income and is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change. For these coffee farmers, adding beekeeping helps provide year-round stable income though honey sales, and the bees help increase coffee income by increasing the coffee yield. Beekeeping has been a Mayan enterprise for centuries, making it a culturally appropriate addition for indigenous coffee farmers in the region.
In the Lake Atitlán region, over 80% of the population lives in poverty, of which 40% face extreme poverty and live on less than $2 USD a day. Among individuals who self-identify as indigenous in Guatemala, 79% live in poverty (1.7 times higher than the general population). Coffee farmers are subject to volatile market prices, insufficient income for proper nutrition until harvest months, and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Pueblo a Pueblo has designed the program to be sustainable without their support after three years. Pueblo a Pueblo installs locally-constructed beehive frames then collaborates with the group to expand their apiary and to gradually transfer ownership to them. The project model features in-depth workshops on all phases of apiary management, financial literacy, group dynamics, business skills, and marketing. In the third year of the project cycle and beyond, Pueblo a Pueblo remains a source of logistical support for the groups. Data from the most recent Beekeeping group to finish its three-year project cycle suggests a 44 percent increase in participants’ incomes from baseline data.
Pueblo a Pueblo’s values and project design align with FBB’s very closely. Their project is designed to counteract the effects of colonialism with a culturally appropriate intervention that targets women and indiginous farmers who are living in poverty. Their project is holistic and designed from the beginning with community-led interventions and for control to be completely transferred to the beneficiaries after three years. Their initial program design is based on international evidence of the effectiveness of beekeeping as an effective intervention to address poverty and climate change. Pueblo a Pueblo’s own data has shown significant income increases for the participants that have already completed the three year program cycle. FBB is proud to support this innovative, effective, sustainable, culturally-effective project!By FBB
04 Jul 2019
26 Jun 2019
GlobeMed, a nonprofit founded by students in 2006, supports 56 partnerships between university chapters and grassroots organizations throughout the world. With the goal of strengthening the movement for global health equity, each chapter is paired with a community-based organization to develop a long-term relationship. Partners work in various domains related to community health, including food and nutrition, income generation, and youth empowerment. As grassroots organizations are supported to advance their community impact, a generation of young people is simultaneously equipped with the skills, experiences, and values needed to transform the world.
“You came in and said to us: ‘We’re asking you what you need.’ Do you know how fresh that was?” said Lisa de Santiago, addressing students during a GlobeMed at Loyola weekly chapter meeting. Lisa, director of the youth program at Centro Romero, frequently expressed how refreshing it was to partner with the GlobeMed at Loyola chapter. When a group of Loyola University students approached Lisa in 2017 with the proposition of establishing a long-term partnership centering on mutual listening and learning, she was taken by surprise. Up until that point, Lisa’s experience with partners involved writing grants and personally searching for donors. With GlobeMed, Centro Romero was invited into a model of partnership centered on long-lasting, empowering relationships in which Lisa’s voice as a community leader was heard, respected, and uplifted.
Before their partnership with Centro Romero began in 2017, GlobeMed at Loyola was partnered with a health clinic in Ecuador. However, their chapter was shut down by Loyola administration in 2016 due to restrictions on international travel. Rather than let the student organization they knew and loved disband, a group of student leaders spent the next year digging deep and searching for possibilities. After extensive deliberation and self-reflection, they decided that as global health equity is just as relevant locally as it is internationally, relaunching the student organization with a local partnership instead of an international partnership would allow them to continue to do they work they longed for while also adhering to university guidelines. It was then that Loyola began its now two-year strong partnership with the community organization Centro Romero.
For over 35 years, Centro has worked towards its mission of helping the primarily Latinx immigrant and refugee community on the northeast side of Chicago achieve self-sufficiency. The GlobeMed at Loyola team works specifically to support Centro’s BRAVE program which serves middle and high school students in an effort to combat typical stereotypes for Latinx youth, like violent engagement and delinquency, by building a supportive community, engaging the group in various after school activities, and believing in their full potential. Each week, a team of Loyola students makes the short walk to Centro to support the academic, social, and physical learning of the teens. Some days they involve the teens in healthy eating seminars, other days they lead interactive yoga sessions, but most days, they simply focus on building their relationships with the teens.
Sarah Alharsha, Loyola student and former co-president of the GlobeMed at Loyola chapter, explained that when their partnership with Centro launched, it took a lot of patience. When the students first began working with the teens, many participants questioned their intentions. “As first-generation Americans and as students of color, the kids are constantly faced with assumptions and prejudice,” said Sarah. “Society expects them to fail and in many cases, the odds are stacked against them.” In the beginning, Centro’s teens thought GlobeMed at Loyola was just another group of college students looking to get their community engagement hours completed. It wasn’t until a few months into the partnership that the teens began to realize that GlobeMed was in it for the long run.
Soon enough, steady relationships developed between Loyola students and the teens in the youth program. In the process of truly listening to the teens and meeting them where they were, GlobeMed at Loyola members began to see their mentees leaning into the support they offered. The relationships established also enabled chapter members to grasp the connection between the hands-on work they were doing and the conversations around social justice and global health they had during their weekly chapter meetings.
Over the past year, Sarah has often heard Lisa remind the teens in her program, “You give what you get.” In the Loyola chapter, members have experienced the truth of this statement through the transformative power of the relationships they’ve built. While the teens have benefitted from the steady mentorship of the Loyola students, the students have likewise been greatly impacted by the love, trust, and resilience of the teens. More than anything, GlobeMed at Loyola members appreciate the opportunity to walk alongside Lisa and the Centro Romero youth, learning from one another and working together to create lasting change.
As the fall semester approaches, GlobeMed at Loyola leaders have begun envisioning their third year of partnership. Due to the nature of the constantly shifting student body of universities, they are currently working towards an approach that is more sustainable, while continuing to center the importance of one-on-one relationships. Being the first GlobeMed chapter to solely focus on a local partnership has not come without its hardships, but all in all, their journey the past two years has served as an inspiration not only to the chapter’s current members, but to the GlobeMed network as a whole. GlobeMed at Loyola has reminded students, alumni, staff, and board members alike of the power that partnerships hold. Whether partnered locally or internationally, each of the 56 GlobeMed chapters have made one thing clear over the years: authentic, sustained relationships are the heart and soul of the GlobeMed movement for health equity.
You may contribute to our Humanist Grants program here.By by Miriam Pierce, GlobeMed Senior Fellow