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White House Seeks out Secular Student Alliance

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WE are young people who ...

Talk about ideas seriously.


Live ethical & fulfilling lives without the supernatural.


Think it is more important that we can live together than that we all agree.


See democracy as an ideal worth living up to.


Believe science and reason lead to more reliable knowledge than faith.


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The Secular Student Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible in the U.S.

July 16, 2009

White HouseLast year I began an email to our supporters like this:

"It isn't often that a non-profit leader has the opportunity to report that his organization has grown more than 84% in a single year. But that's exactly what I have the pleasure of doing today.Since this time last year, the campus affiliate base of the Secular Student Alliance has increased 84%, from 70 active groups in 2007 to 129 groups as I write this e-mail."

Our growth continues and we're now up to 147 affiliate groups. But our growth aside, I have an even more spectacular piece of news to share with you today:

I recently had a one-on-one phone meeting with the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. He sought us out after learning about us via a meeting with the Secular Coalition for America. In specific, the White House has taken interest in the fact that secular students all over the country are getting organized. The White House is eager to see Secular Student Alliance affiliate groups play an active role in the push to get more Americans involved in public service. We will continue pursuing a relationship with the Obama administration -- and future administrations -- and make sure that they are aware of the amazing work that our student groups do.

You may be wondering what I talked about. I told them about our affiliate at the University of Illinois and how they have been traveling to New Orleans over the past two Spring Breaks, with a campus Christian group, to help restore and rebuild homes. I told them about our affiliate at The Ohio State University and how members helped clean up and improve a hiking trail in the Appalachian Mountains a few weeks ago. I told them about several other students who were making personal pushes to eradicate stigma about nontheism and let people know that you can be good without God.

Being directly in touch with the executive branch is an exciting development. As a founding member of the Secular Coalition for America, we have been working to let members of congress know about the concerns of secular students for years. We now have the ear of the White House.

We could not have come this far without help from donors like you. It is only with paid staff, money for travel grants, money for project grants, our web server, our literature, and so many other things that cost money that we've been able to create a movement and an organization that is gaining so much attention and respect.

Until August 1st, thanks to a generous matching offer from the Vital Spark foundation, all donations to the Secular Student Alliance will be matched up to a total of $20,000. So if you give $100, the Secular Student Alliance will get $200. The Secular Student Alliance is also a 501(c)(3) charity, so your gift is tax deductible.

At the Secular Student Alliance we run a very efficient shop. We are a quite small organization to be in direct dialog with the White House and every dollar we get makes a big difference. You have the opportunity to help us ensure that young, secular voices play a central role in the conversation about what it means to be American.

My deepest thanks to everyone who supports the work of the Secular Student Alliance.

Hemant Mehta
Chair
Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors

P.S. It was excellent to have the phone meeting with the White House, and we left open the possibility of meeting in person at some point. Every donation takes us closer to allowing us to fund work like this.
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