Future of Ethical Societies (FES) closed 2014 with our inaugural service trip sending nine members down to New Orleans. We worked on composting and harvested 98 pounds of arugula that was sold to restaurants around New Orleans and fetched nearly $700 for Our School at Blair’s Grocery. We worked alongside four members of the community who joined us both in the field and back at the house for “Hip Hop Sanctuaries,” colloquies focused on how our location affects who we are, how relationships shape us, and on food justice.
Inspired by the success of the New Orleans trip, the FES Steering Committee held a retreat in Philadelphia January 10-11th. Representatives from the Societies of New York, Brooklyn, Bergen, Long Island, St. Louis, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, reviewed the FES by-laws, reconsidered our relation within the Ethical Humanism Movement nationally and internationally, and worked to develop a fundraising calendar for 2015. Here are the important updates:
- FES as AEU affiliate: Anya Overmann and Xavier Mack represented FES at the AEU Board Meeting in New York City on January 10th. The Steering Committee decided that FES will remain as an affiliate, rather than become a program of the AEU. As an affiliate organization, we maintain self-governance and financial control, while benefiting from the AEU’s reputation, legal standing, and ongoing support. FES has by-laws, but at present no mission statement. The committee moved to add a succinct mission statement during the FES Conference in Washington D.C. May 22-25.
- Growing FES membership: It was moved to extend the age range for members to 18-35 years. All FES members will be required to pay $20 annual dues, which will be due by April 1st, and perform five or more service hours to FES during the calendar year. Members are invited to FES events and conferences, may apply for financial aid for events, are allowed to vote and hold office, and also receive membership from the AEU and IHEYO (once our application is accepted). For those that cannot afford the dues or time commitment but would like to connect with FES, there is an option to become a “Friend” of FES. Friends will not enjoy the benefits of member status or financial aid but are still welcome at all FES events and conferences. If you or friends of yours are interested in joining FES, we are excited to have you, especially FES alumni. Fill out FES Membership Form here.
- Updating FES officer roles: The Steering Committee agreed to expand our leadership roles to include a Treasurer (Dan Harding); a Fundraising Chair (Will Abbot); an IHEYO representative (Xavier Mack); and a Secretary (Dan Harding, interim). They will join our Internal Communications Officer (ICO) Lauren Strong, Member Outreach Coordinator (MOO) Kaitlin Wright, AEU Board Liaison Xavier Mack, with Lauren Strong as alternate liaison, and Web Manager Emily Newman.
- FES reaches out internationally: FES is joining the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation (IHEYO)! We are very excited to be the first American (North, South, and Central) branch. As members of IHEYO, we will pay dues as an organization and do outreach to other Humanist and Secular societies to increase communication throughout the hemisphere. Officers are working on our application now.
- Raising money for FES: FES has a fundraising goal of $5,000 this year to be achieved with FES platforms and split collections, university campus fundraising, grant applications, open mic coffee houses, and mentoring/tutoring services (such as technology education programs for the elderly). Funds will be used for service trips, conference scholarships (i.e. FES Conference May 22-25 , AEU 100th Assembly June 25-28, World Humanist Congress in 2016), and FES projects. To get involved in our fundraising efforts, please contact Will Abbot at email@example.com.
- Organizing more FES service trips: The New Orleans trip was highly successful and we look forward to making service trips an annual event. In addition, there have been discussions about year round service within our communities. Members from the Philadelphia Society have discussed an urban farm project, which you can get involved in by contacting David McDevitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.