In March of this year, the members and supporters of Foundation Beyond Belief responded with compassion and speed to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, raising over $20,600 in just three weeks. We said at the time that a permanent disaster response program was in the works. That third and final element of the FBB structure is now in place.
THE HUMANIST CRISIS RESPONSE PROGRAM serves as a focal point for the humanist response to major humanitarian crises. Our purpose is twofold: to bring resources to those in desperate need, and to raise awareness of that need in the humanist community and beyond.
Foundation Beyond Belief will respond to major humanitarian crises on this page within 48-72 hours, providing information about the event and a donation portal to a selected secular organization responding directly to the crisis.
FIRST PROJECT: The Horn of Africa Crisis
Our first focus is the ongoing catastrophe in the Horn of Africa. The most severe drought in 60 years has created what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has called the “worst humanitarian crisis” on Earth. The UN has made a formal declaration of famine for Southern Somalia, the first such UN declaration in 20 years. Tens of thousands have died, and over 11 million people are currently at risk of starvation.
Foundation Beyond Belief has been invited to work in partnership with USAID to raise awareness among humanists of this crisis and to mobilize our community to give generously to save lives and mitigate suffering.
The Foundation has selected International Rescue Committee as our focus beneficiary for this crisis. One of the most powerful and effective disaster response organizations in the world, IRC is deeply involved in saving lives in the Horn, providing food, water, shelter, and key services both in the refugee camps and for the hundreds of thousands of Somalis and others currently making the dangerous trek to those camps.
Each crisis project will begin with a call for donations but continue with an awareness campaign for each crisis. Watch for an in-depth conversation across the humanist blogosphere about the causes of humanitarian crises, ethics and best practices in giving, and how to ensure the greatest happiness and well-being for the greatest number of our fellow beings. We’ll also bring you resources for family engagement around these powerful issues.
As this program develops, we will feature as many as three ongoing crisis events at a time. Because we live in a predictably unpredictable world, it will not be possible to feature every crisis that deserves attention. The Foundation will refine its decision process in this regard over the first year of this program. Thank you for your patience, and please share your own ideas about how we might improve this effort.