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1996 Capital Fund Raising Reaches Almost $1.5 Million
Kurtz Gifts Total $600,000

The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 13, Number 1.

During 1996 donors gave or pledged almost $1.5 million to two capital fund drives benefiting The Center for Inquiry. The Fund for the Future campaign seeks to add $20 million to the endowments and program expansion funds of the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). This will support expanded operations at The Center for Inquiry - International (Amherst, N.Y.) and help the Council and CSICOP achieve their ten year development plans.

The Rallying Point campaign seeks to raise $1 million in less than two years to support development and operation of The Center for Inquiry - West, a fully-staffed branch office of the Council and CSICOP in the Los Angeles, California area.

"Donor participation in 1996 exceeded our expectations," said Anthony Battaglia, Development Officer of the Council and CSICOP. "In fact, 1996's almost $1.5 million pace exceeded the best twelve months of our previous Price of Reason campaign, which raised more than $4 million to construct and endow the Center for Inquiry - International."

Chief Development Officer James Kimberly, who coordinates the CFI-West Rallying Point drive, added, "Our previous Price of Reason capital drive was a building fund drive. Donors can immediately see the importance of bricks and mortar. Part of Rallying Point seeks building funds, but it also funds endowment and programs. Those can seem more abstract, though they're closer to the mission of our organizations. So we're delighted to see how strongly our early donors have responded."

Highlights of the campaign year include:

  • The James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust of San Diego, California provided a $275,000 matching grant. This grant toward construction of a Center for Inquiry - West in Los Angeles will be paid when new Rallying Point pledges and gifts totaling $275,000 are raised in 1997.
  • Dr. Leonardo Chait and his wife Virginia Li formed a $235,000 trust to benefit the CFI-West Rallying Point campaign.
  • Attendees of the World Skeptics Congress in June 1996 contributed a record $108,975 to the Fund for the Future campaign.
  • Reynold and Jennie Hyde established a $100,000 unitrust to benefit the Fund for the Future campaign.

The campaigns' largest single gift was announced in the closing weeks of 1996. Paul Kurtz, founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, formed two trust funds totaling $500,000. The trusts will benefit the Fund for the Future campaign. This half-million dollar gift marks the largest single contribution in the history of either organization. It will be held in trust and will pay interest during the lives of Dr. Kurtz and his wife, then be divided equally between the endowments of the Council for Secular Humanism and CSICOP.

Combined with gifts pledged earlier in the year, Dr. Kurtz - who serves without salary or compensation as chair of the Council - has committed some $600,000 toward the future of the organizations he founded.

Dr. Kurtz underwent heart surgery in December and is recuperating very well. He anticipates returning to work early in 1997.

"Many of the larger gifts in 1996 took the form of unitrusts and other trust funds," observed Anthony Battaglia. "Such arrangements can provide donors with lifetime income and significant tax advantages while powerfully helping to insure the future of the Council and CSICOP." Most support has come from individuals thus far, but foundation grants also played an important role in our 1996 success.

A variety of planned giving arrangements are available. The Development Office can also assist donors in structuring grants of cash, marketable assets, or multi-year pledges in order to provide maximum benefit to donor and beneficiary alike.

For information on the Fund for the Future campaign, write Development Office, Center for Inquiry - International, P.O. Box 664, Amherst NY 14226, telephone (716)636-7571. For information on the Rallying Point campaign, write Development Office, Center for Inquiry - West, 5521 Grosvenor Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90066, 310-306-2847. All requests will be handled in confidence.

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This page was last updated 12/04/2003

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