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Secular Student Alliance

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Education, Minority Rights

Mission: The mission of the Secular Student Alliance is to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics. We envision a future in which nontheistic students are respected voices in public discourse and vital partners in the secular movement's charge against irrationality and dogma. The Secular Student Alliance is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit. We work to organize and empower nonreligious students around the country. Our primary goal is to foster successful grassroots campus groups which provide a welcoming community for secular students to discuss their views and promote their secular values.

Results: The Secular Student Alliance has almost 400 affiliate groups, with 49 located on high school campuses.

Target demographics: secular students and student communities

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: supplying literature and outreach supplies, group-running guides, hands-on assistance, discounted access to prominent speakers, and monetary project grants to secular students and their communities.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Since learning about SSA about 3-4 years ago, I’ve been donating time and money to help the organization. It has a vital mission and everyone I’ve met associated with SSA is very passionate about achieving SSA’s goals. It’s a small and not widely known organization, but it’s having a huge impact on the lives of many high school and college students across the nation.

SSA helps students with secular ideals to grow and connect with other like-minded students locally and across the nation. It helps protect them from discrimination and feeling alone in school. It strives to help students become citizens and leaders in their communities who promote the separation of church and state and the creation of governmental policies and laws that reflect intelligence, rationality, science, civility, and compassion for all.

SSA partners with other national, secular organizations. However, it is unique among them because it's focus is on helping high school and college students achieve their secular ideals. Please consider contributing. Various religious organizations are spending a total of $1 billion a year to proselytize students starting with grade school. SSA is tiny in comparison with less than $1 million, but it does a great job leveraging what it has to maximize the help it can provide to secular students.

Review from Guidestar

mardiente

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Secular Student Alliance is the premiere organization for atheist, humanist, and secular youth in the United States. College campus freethought groups need a national organization like SSA to provide resources and help promote non-religious students. The nontheist community needs a strong countering organization to groups like Campus Crusade for Christ, and the SSA serves that purpose. I will always be grateful to the SSA for connecting me to my eventual career as a nonprofit manager for another national humanist organization!

Review from Guidestar

Roy_5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As someone who has watched, interacted with and supported the Secular Student Alliance almost since its founding, I have great appreciation for its efficacy. It's one of the most efficient and impacting nonprofit organizations I've ever crossed paths with and I'm pleased to see it growing so fast in recent years that it's been able to extend its reach considerably, and therefore reach more and more lives in a positive and meaningful way.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I first donated to Secular Student Alliance in 2009 through my foundation. My experience with them has been fantastic. They are smart, energetic and driven. They have excellent leadership and management. The biggest compliment I can give, though, is that they get things done. If you bring them an idea and the money to fund it, they make it happen effectively, efficiently and quickly. I love working with SSA. Our relationship has grown and now I am both a donor and advisor. It has been wonderful watching them grow and seeing my donations payoff. The world is a happier, less discriminatory place because SSA is flourishing.

Review from Guidestar

Advisor

Rating: 5

Although an ideologically- based organization, in practice, it supports and affirms young people. It is not easy for a young person, who's belief systems are not only outside of the societal mainstream, but are anathema to much of that society. The Secular Student Alliance provides an intellectual and social structure for these kids to blossom ... and it fights like crazy, on their behalf, when they are beleaguered.

The staff is skilled, committed, and operates with integrity. The ethic of the organization is respect for its mission, its staff, its affiliates, and its donors. Not so incidentally, it also preaches (sic) tolerance for divergent points of view.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a speaker on the Secular Student Alliance speaker's bureau for close to four years, and I can passionately attest to the extraordinary work they do. I've visited dozens of student organizations supported by the SSA, and the support these groups get from the national organization is powerful, both in terms of long-term vision and day-to-day hands-on help. Supporting them is an excellent way to support the growing secular community and to strengthen its future.

Review from Guidestar

Advisor

Rating: 5

I've worked with the Secular Student Alliance since its inception and continue to be amazed by its growth, progress, and innovative programming. This organization has succeeded in a difficult endeavor, that of keeping student freethought organizations thriving on campuses all over the United States. Beyond that, it has risen to become a leader among the leading organizations in the larger movement.

From where I sit I can see that contributions to the SSA are ethically handled and well spent. This is a well-managed organization deserving the trust of any donor.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have spoken for the SSA and completely support them in their efforts to spread reason and science to the youth where it is needed in order to produce the next generation of critical thinkers. The SSA is growing and becoming a vital force for change in our society. In short, don't be skeptical of this fine organization.
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist Scientific American

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I am happy and proud to donate every month to the Secular Student Alliance. SSA supports atheists and freethinkers on high school and college campuses. I'm excited about how it has grown over the years, overcoming numerous setbacks and obstacles. I have nothing but respect for its leadership and I'm confident in SSA's future.

Review from Guidestar

1 Hemant M.

Advisor

Rating: 5

The Secular Student Alliance is a fantastic, important, and efficient organization. The work they do has impacted me as an activist and is now helping thousands of young atheists every year. More importantly, from a financial standpoint, they take good care to make the most of every dollar donated. As a former board member and current advisory board chair, I know how meticulously they budget their income with a firm goal of helping students. When their budget was smaller, this was necessary, but even with more donors today, they have not lost their frugality -- never at the expense of the students they help, though -- and I appreciate that. It's the reason I'm proud to give to them every month and why I believe this is one of the most important non-profits in the country right now, serving the ever-growing demographic of religious "Nones."

Review from Guidestar

1 Kelley F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There was a Secular Student Alliance affiliate at my university that I became an exec board member of after my freshman year and then I went on to become president my junior year. My college years would have been a lot different without this organization! I can say from first hand experience that these are some of the most thoughtful, helpful, and wonderful people I have ever come to know. They genuinely care for their affiliate leaders and do a lot of good work on a tight budget.

I've since graduated and while I am no longer involved with my own student group, I have stayed on as a volunteer helping other affiliates with any questions they may have and I help run an (unofficial) advice series.

Some of the staff have become very good friends of mine. It's been wonderful seeing the organization grow and change over the last few years and I hope it continues over the next few!

1 Evan5

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became a member of this organization in 2008 when I was founding my Secular Student Alliance affiliate at California Lutheran University as a freshmen in college. What I thought would be a little club with a few of my close friends, turned into my defining college experience. I found my best friends, I met my mentors, and I joined a national movement committed to community, hope, and reason.

In 2011, then chair of the national SSA Board of Directors, Joe Folley, (a former secular student leader at Standford University) asked me to run for the board...and the rest is history.

Since joining the organization, I've had the pleasure to work with some of the most competent and passionate leaders in the secular movement. Their impact as a grassroots organization is unparalleled, and their support for secular students is in some cases is saving lives.

Secular students receive opposition from administrations, attacks from the media and the community, loss of friends and family, and even death threats. Because of the Secular Student Alliance and their network of 400+ groups students know they're not alone. They're apart of something larger and they're changing american culture along the way.

I give my time, money, and passion to this organization as often as possible because I believe the long term impact it is making on society is undeniable. If we want a more rational, accepting, and equal society we have to support the work of the Secular Student Alliance.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

I was employed by this organization for two years, and during this time I witnessed numerous instances of managers abusing their power, unaddressed violations of policy, and general lack of oversight into management practices. I ended my employment with the organization when an employee was involuntarily terminated on the basis of their disability, in my opinion, and no investigation was undertaken (to my knowledge). This organization's leadership is demonstrably disinterested in the well being of their staff, in my opinion, and this leads me to question their adherence to human-based ethics throughout their practices.

Review from Guidestar