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Building Local Communities

by Matt Cherry

Building local secular humanist groups will be a central activity for the Council for Secular Humanism in 1998. The Council is therefore pleased to start the year with two new initiatives to help local secular humanist groups: tax-exempt status for local groups under the umbrella of the Council for Secular Humanism, and a manual on how to start and nurture a flourising local humanist community.

Tax exemption will be extended to groups that become "affiliated groups" of the Council for Secular Humanism. Affiliated groups will not be required to make a separate application to the Internal Revenue Service for recognition of their tax exempt status, and the process of filing annual returns will be simplified for them. For more information about this and other benefits available to affiliated groups, please write to Tim Madigan at the Council for Secular Humanism, PO Box 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0664.

"Running a Secular Humanist Group" is designed to meet the needs of all types of local activists, whether they are thinking of starting a small discussion group or running a major regional organization that sponsors several events a week. It provides detailed guidance on setting up a group, preparing a program, publicizing events, financial administration, and meeting the needs of nonreligious people in the local area. The manual also includes many appendices that provide examples of material that can be used by local groups. In total the manual includes nearly 100 pages of suggestions, ideas, and materials for building local humanist communities.

The manual is available to all existing Alliance of Secular Humanist Society groups and to Associate Members of the Council interested in starting a group. To receive a copy of "Running a Secular Humanist Group" please write to me at the address given below. Please include details of your local group or of your plans to start a group. There is a charge of $12.95 to cover costs.

As the author of the manual, I would like to thank the many local activists who helped me in producing it. Support and feedback from local activists and members is essential in shaping and developing our work.

Matt Cherry is Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism. He may be reached at FICherry@aol.com.

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This page was last updated 12/04/2003

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