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What We Are

The Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York (HSMNY) is one of many local chapters of the American Humanist Association (AHA). The chapter, as it presently exists, was founded in 1974 by Jesse Gordon and Corliss Lamont. Warren Allen Smith organized a previous Humanist group in Manhattan in the 1950s. Warren, author of the book Who's Who in Hell: A Handbook and International Directory for Humanists, Freethinkers, Naturalists, Rationalists, and Non-Theists and founder of philosopedia.org, has been an active member of the current chapter.

The AHA enjoys a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status with the United Nations and members of the Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York, acting as representatives of the AHA, attend sessions weekly at the U.N. and present humanist viewpoints and concerns as they relate to matters of world interest.

The Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York is a Full Member of Reasonable New York.

Who We Are

The current Chapter President is Robert Cameron Heihn. The prior Chapter President was Dr. Thomas Riggins. Dave Buehrens, Beth K. Lamont, and Lila Smith have served as members of the Executive Board. The previous Chapter President was Dr. Julius Manson. In December 2013, Stephen James was appointed Executive Director of the HSMNY, Goldie James was made Secretary, Norman Roscoe assumed the duties of Program Coordinator, and Pamela Timmins joined the Board.

The group normally meets twice per month — generally on the evening of the second Thursday and the fourth Thursday, usually with a speaker followed by a discussion. All chapter meetings are announced in advance on this Web site, via our RSS feed, on Twitter, on our Facebook page, on our Meetup page, and via our Chapter Meeting Announcement Notices mailing list.

You can remain alerted to all changes made to this Web page by signing up for the free ChangeDetection e-mail notification service (see link to our ChangeDetection sign up below) or our RSS 2.0 / XML 1.0 syndication feed (see link to our RSS feed below). You can also follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook (see our Twitter and Facebook links below). We also announce all upcoming meetings on our Meetup page (see Meetup link below). If you wish to subscribe to our Chapter Meeting Announcement Notices e-mail list, please fill-out and submit the MailChimp subscription form below. Additionally, all of our past newsletters/meeting notices are available on this Web site for viewing (see link to our Newsletters page below).

We welcome your participation. You may wish to become a member of the local group ($25.00 annually for singles or $35.00 annually for couples) and/or of the American Humanist Association, which can be contacted toll-free at (800) 837-3792.

When We Meet

MEETING SCHEDULE FOR THE 2014 SEASON

Happy Humanist Second
Thursday
Fourth
Thursday
January (1) 23 (2)
February 13/20 (3) 27 (4)
March 13 (5) 27 (6)
April 10 (7) 24 (8)
Note: If you use Apple iCal/Calendar, an iPhone, Google Calendar, Mozilla Firefox Lightning Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook Calendar, we invite you to subscribe to the HSMNY calendar from our iCal feed. This will cause upcoming HSMNY meetings to automatically show up in your calendar along with all your other events.

If clicking the iCal feed link in your browser doesn't work, you may need to copy the link (URL) and paste it into the "Subscribe" link in your calendar program instead. Our calendar feed, like our RSS 2.0 feed below, includes all events for the current year.
Moonstruck East Restaurant, 449 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6026
Click for full-size image

(8) Thursday, April 24, 2014: We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the upstairs private room at the Moonstruck East Restaurant, located at 449 Third Avenue at the Southeast corner of East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016-6026. click here for map ].

The title of this event is "Humanism and Mental Health".

Our special guest speaker for the evening will be Robert Cameron Heihn, HSMNY Chapter President and a past Psychoanalytic Fellow (2011-2013) of the Contemporary Freudian Society in New York. Robert will facilitate a discussion on mental health.

Have you ever noticed that some of the American Humanist Association's most famous recipients of the Humanist of the Year award have been psychiatrists and psychologists? Schools of psychology from behaviorism (B.F. Skinner, 1972) to psychoanalysis (Erich Fromm, 1966) to Humanistic Psychology (Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, 1964 and 1967, respectively) are represented among those who've received the AHA's highest honor (and we should note that Corliss Lamont, after whom our chapter is named, was both Humanist of the Year of 1977 and President Emeritus of the AHA).

Please come join a lively discussion on mental health and its relation to Humanism. Humanists have powerfully influenced the discourse of what it means to be mentally healthy and to foster mental health, and some (Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Erich Fromm to name a few) have also been quite vocal in their championing of the Humanistic worldview. Whether you agree with 1973's Humanist of the Year Thomas Szasz that mental illness is a myth, with Albert Ellis (1971's Humanist of the Year) that a rationally understood and lived life leads to mental health, or with any of the aforementioned thinkers, please feel free to come discuss your ideas with others in a welcoming and open environment. This is a complex topic, and even many Humanists have disagreed with one another on the meaning of mental health!

Please note that because this meeting is being held in a restaurant, food and adult beverage of your choice will be available for purchase.

For questions, please call Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James.

Moonstruck East Restaurant, 449 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6026
Click for full-size image

(7) Thursday, April 10, 2014: We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the upstairs private room at the Moonstruck East Restaurant, located at 449 Third Avenue at the Southeast corner of East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016-6026. click here for map ].

The title of this event is "Ongoing Economic Crisis: Short and Long Term Prospects".

Photo of Richard Wolff.Our special guest speaker for the evening will be Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the graduate program in International Affairs at The New School for Public Engagement in New York. Wolff is the author of many books, including Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism, Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism, and Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He hosts the weekly hour-long radio program Economic Update on WBAI (Pacifica Radio) and writes regularly for The Guardian, Truth-out.org, and the MRZine. His appearances include the Charlie Rose Show, Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English, Thom Hartmann, RT-TV, and NPR. His personal work can be found at rdwolff.com. Wolff lives in New York with his wife and frequent collaborate, Dr. Harriet Fraad, a practicing psychotherapist.

Dr. Wolff is co-founder of Democracy at Work, a project, begun in 2010, that aims to build a social movement whose goal is to transition to a new society whose productive enterprises (offices, factories, and stores) will mostly be Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises in which all the workers who collaborate to produce its outputs also serve together, collectively as its board of directors, forming a true economic democracy.

Dr. Wolff is highly knowledgeable of his subject and is a dynamic and engaging speaker and this presentation should be quite educational for all who attend.

Please note that because this meeting is being held in a restaurant, food and adult beverage of your choice will be available for purchase.

For questions, please call Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James.

Moonstruck East Restaurant, 449 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6026
Click for full-size image

(6) Thursday, March 27, 2014: We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the upstairs private room at the Moonstruck East Restaurant, located at 449 Third Avenue at the Southeast corner of East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016-6026. click here for map ].

The title of this event is "U.S. support for the International Criminal Court".

Our special guest speaker for the evening will be John L. Washburn, a graduate of Harvard Law School, Convener for the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), and Co-Chair of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court (WICC).

The AMICC, founded in 2001, joined the Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) in November 2010 and advocates full U.S. support for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

122 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Out of them 34 are African States, 18 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are from Eastern Europe, 27 are from Latin American and Caribbean States, and 25 are from Western European and other States.

The United States has yet to become a State Party to the ICC.

This should prove to be a very timely, interesting, and informative meeting. Please attend.

Please note that because this meeting is being held in a restaurant, food and adult beverage of your choice will be available for purchase.

For questions, please call Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James.

(5) Thursday, March 13, 2014: New York Society for Ethical Culture logo.We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM downstairs in the Social Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (NYSEC), located at 2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, New York, NY 10023-7183 click here for map ].

The title of this event is "An evening with Ramsey Clark".

Photo of (William) Ramsey Clark.William Ramsey Clark is an American lawyer, activist and former public official. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included service as United States Attorney General from 1967 to 1969, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He supervised the drafting and played an important role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Since leaving public office, Mr. Clark has led many progressive activism campaigns, including opposition to the War on Terror, and was an opponent of both the 1991 and 2003 Persian Gulf Wars. As a lawyer, he has offered legal defense to controversial figures such as Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Lyndon LaRouche.

Mr. Clark testified recently at three trials against U.S. drone wars. He was quoted as saying, "These [drone attacks] are CIA summary executions. It's a violation of international law." He is the founder of the International Action Center (IAC), which helped found the protest organization A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

Mr. Clark is a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.

You're welcome to bring food items for sharing, but some snacks will be available. If you plan to attend, you may RSVP at Meetup.

For questions, please call Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James.

A small one-page PDF flyer is available for download via the link below. Please distribute widely.

Adobe Acrobat PDF file.  Humanist_Society_of_Metropolitan_New_York_2014-03-13.pdf  (44,299 bytes).

Moonstruck East Restaurant, 449 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6026
Click for full-size image

(4) Thursday, February 27, 2014: We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the upstairs private room at the Moonstruck East Restaurant, located at 449 Third Avenue at the Southeast corner of East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016-6026. click here for map ].

The title of this event is "Why is American Education Failing?".

Our special guest speaker for the evening will be Hugh McGuire, a public policy analyst who has worked with the Connecticut State Legislature.

According to a 2012 analysis by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA):

Among the 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the United States is ranked 26th in mathematics, 17th in reading, and 21st in science.

Mathematics scores for the top-performer, Shanghai-China, indicate a performance that is the equivalent of over two years of formal schooling ahead of those observed in Massachusetts, itself a strong-performing U.S. state.

While the U.S. spends more per student than most countries, this does not translate into better performance. For example, the Slovak Republic, which spends around USD $53,000 per student, performs at the same level as the United States, which spends over USD $115,000 per student.

Students in the United States have particular weaknesses in performing mathematics tasks with higher cognitive demands, such as taking real-world situations, translating them into mathematical terms, and interpreting mathematical aspects in real-world problems.

Please note that because this meeting is being held in a restaurant, food and adult beverage of your choice will be available for purchase.

For questions, please call Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James.

Hello Humanist Meeting would-be attendees! Because of the unreasonably stormy weather, this evening's Meeting for Thursday, February 13th, is "officially" postponed until next week: Thursday, February 20th, same time, same place, same speakers, when we'll get together to honor Charles Darwin! Stay warm!

However, if any of you have already gauged the depth of the snow and determined that you can DO IT...a few of us who live nearby will be there to greet you and applaud your bravery! We guarantee that we'll celebrate anyway, and have fun!

Moonstruck East Restaurant, 449 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6026
Click for full-size image

(3) Thursday, February 13/20, 2014: We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the upstairs private room at the Moonstruck East Restaurant, located at 449 Third Avenue at the Southeast corner of East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016-6026. click here for map ].

Come Celebrate Darwin Day with Us!
(rescheduled from February 13 due to weather)

Photo of Charles Darwin.Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born on in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin — the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.

We will have two speakers at the celebration, Student Alfred Kaminsky and Dr. Leonard Finkelman:

Student Alfred Kaminsky will speak on "The Antibiotic Arms Race, Natural selection up Close" and lead a discussion on the importance of Charles Darwin and the recognition of Darwin Day.

Second, Dr. Leonard Finkelman will speak on the subject of "De-extinction and Darwin".

In The Origin of Species, Darwin wrote that once a species goes extinct, "the same identical form never reappears". One hundred and fifty years later, scientists announced plans to resurrect the Woolly Mammoth through genetic engineering. Was Darwin wrong? The answer to that question depends on the philosophy one adopts. We will examine some of the philosophical views relevant to biologists' current pursuit of de-extinction and how those views relate to Darwin's original work.

Leonard Finkelman received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the City University of New York Graduate Center in 2013. His research focuses on issues in Philosophy in Biology and particularly those related to paleontology and classification. In addition to this research, he has written on topics in ethics, possible-world semantics, and human nature. He will also occasionally indulge interests in astronomy, prehistoric art, science fiction, and graphic novels.

We look for an exciting and informative evening!

Please note that because this meeting is being held in a restaurant, food and adult beverage of your choice will be available for purchase.

For questions, please call Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James.

Note: This event is listed on the International Darwin Day Foundation Web site at http://bit.ly/1ibQox1.

Moonstruck East Restaurant, 449 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6026
Click for full-size image

(2) Thursday, January 23, 2014: We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the upstairs private room at the Moonstruck East Restaurant, located at 449 Third Avenue at the Southeast corner of East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016-6026. click here for map ].

The title of this event is "Afraid of the Dark: Humanity at the Crossroads, by Dr. Sheldon Solomon".

Why does our society have the many problems that we currently are experiencing, particularly concerning the environment, violence, and inequality? Our special guest will help us understand these issues in terms of the psychology and human motivation behind them.

Photo of Sheldon Solomon.Sheldon Solomon, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Skidmore College. His current research in experimental social psychology is primarily concerned with the psychological functions of self-esteem and the effects of specific political and economic institutions on mental health. He is one of the foremost authorities on Terror Management Theory, a means of examining human response to mortality anxiety. He has published over one hundred social psychology papers and is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror. His presentation, Afraid of the Dark: Humanity at the Crossroads, will provide unique insight to contemporary issues and possible solutions that humanity desperately needs.

The first hour of the meeting will be devoted to socializing, catching up and announcements. Dr. Solomon will begin at 7:00 PM.

There will be books by Corliss Lamont available, and snacks provided. Food can be ordered from the restaurant as well. Please attend. We hope to see you at the meeting.

Please call Beth at 914-588-5284 for more information.

(1) Thursday, January 9, 2014: New York Society for Ethical Culture logo.We will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM downstairs in the Social Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, located at 2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, New York, NY 10023-7183 click here for map ].

The title of this event is "People's Right to Know, a presentation and discussion".

What would Corliss Lamont say about "The People's Right To Know?" He'd be speaking and writing about the dangers to our Civil Liberties, with U.S. Government secrecy, surveillance, use of targeted assassination, and punishing whistleblowers and journalists!

Basically, a democracy depends on an educated and informed public. We evaluate our education system as well as media. How well do these systems help us meet these objectives? We try to balance this off with the need for security. How well is this balance being negotiated?

The discussion will be led by Beth Lamont and Steve James. If you like, please bring your own information to share with other like-minded Freethinkers at the meeting.

You're welcome to bring food items for sharing, but some snacks are available. Also, there will be important books of Corliss Lamont, including The Philosophy of Humanism. Hoping to see you soon.

Please call Beth at 914-588-5284 for more information.

Programs for all other dates will be announced. Always consult this Web page for the latest and most up-to-date meeting schedule information. All programs are subject to change. All meetings are open to the general public, as well as members of the press — Chapter membership is not a requirement to attend. If you would like to attend a meeting, then just drop in — no prior arrangements are necessary.

View previous Meeting Schedules. Our 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, and 1998 Meeting Schedules have been archived.
Connect with Us!

Along with the iCal feed link given above, here are six more ways in which you can keep up-to-date with the activities of the HSMNY, including our chapter meeting schedule.

Sign up with the free ChangeDetection™ notification service to receive an e-mail message whenever this Web page is updated. This will ensure that you are alerted to all additions and changes made to the HSMNY meeting schedule. Simply fill-in your e-mail address and click the   OK   button to register for this free service.
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Another way to stay alerted to all additions and changes made to the HSMNY meeting schedule is to use your favorite RSS Feed Reader / News Aggregator program or Web-based service to subscribe to our syndicated RSS 2.0 feed.
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Follow us in feedly.
You can also follow us on Twitter @HSMNY.
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You can also find us on Facebook.
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Please join us on Meetup.
Join us on Meetup.
What is Humanism?
What is Humanism? If you're new to the subject of Humanism and would like to see a definition of it, please visit our What is Humanism? page.
Articles and Reports
Watch the videos. Michael Moore Videos, clips of three interviews conducted in March 2010 with Michael Moore discussing the issues surrounding health care reform legislation, plus the trailer for his 2009 movie, Capitalism: A Love Story.
View the photos. Thomas Paine Bicentennial, photos and other materials related to the celebrations held at Thomas Paine Park at Foley Square in New York on June 8, 2009.
Read the essay. Evolution and Ethics, Comments on the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Debates, an essay by Beth K. Lamont.
Read the review. The New Mandate For United Nations Peacekeeping, a review of the Brahimi Report by Beth K. Lamont.
Read the article. Why Humanists Should Reject The "Social Contract", an article by Thomas Riggins.
Read Comments on the Presidential Scandal. A Report and A Suggestion on the meeting of August 22, 1998, Sex, Lies, and Leadership, concerning the Clinton Presidential scandal, by Beth K. Lamont.
Read about the Siloists. The Other Humanists, a report on the Siloists, by Beth K. Lamont. Includes comments submitted to us by visitors to this Web site.
Read a report on the ICC. Comments on the ICC, an article about the United Nations Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of a Permanent International Criminal Court, held at Rome, Italy, during June and July 1998, by Beth K. Lamont. Originally published in 1998.
Read a follow-up report on the ICC. Comments on the ICC - Part II, a follow-up article about the current status of the International Criminal Court, by Beth K. Lamont. Originally published in 2003.
   Humanists Support the United Nations.
Read the brochure. A brochure comparing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the Humanist Manifesto and describing efforts of humanists to support the United Nations is available for on-screen viewing. A second version, designed especially for printing, can be downloaded for use by Humanist Chapters to promote Humanism and the U.N.
Newsletters and Meeting Notices
Read Chapter Newsletters and Meeting Notices. Copies of old HSMNY Chapter Newsletters in the form of Adobe® Acrobat® PDF (Portable Document Format) files are available for downloading/viewing/printing on our Newsletters page.
Equal Time for Freethought Radio Show
Listen to the show. We are pleased to host a streaming audio archive of older Equal Time for Freethought (ETFF) radio shows on our Archive page. Hosted by local humanists and atheists, the show includes news, interviews, and commentary, and airs live on WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York City each Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM Eastern Time.
Additional Information & Third-Party Links
Although as our name implies, we welcome visitors and members from the entire New York metropolitan area, if you're in Northern New Jersey and cannot travel into the city to attend our meetings, you may wish to visit the Humanists of North Jersey, which holds monthly meetings in Fair Lawn. Additionally, the New Jersey Humanist Network in Somerville holds frequent meetings and social events. If you're in Monmouth County, you can connect with the Red Bank Humanists, or if you're in Camden County, you can join with the Camden County Humanists in Blackwood.
Visit the Freethought Directory. If you would like to see a list of Humanist, Freethought, Skeptical, Atheist and other similar organizations from around the world, take a look at the Freethought Directory, maintained by the Atheist Alliance International.
Read the 'Rant & Reason' blog. The Rant & Reason blog, sponsored by The Humanist magazine, is recommended reading.
Read the 'Human Values Weblog'. The Human Values Weblog (blog), sponsored by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc., is also recommended reading. RSS 0.92, RSS 2.0, and Atom 0.3 syndication feeds are available.
Visit the Humanists for Social and Environmental Action. For our Canadian visitors, we recommend the Humanists for Social and Environmental Action, a blog maintained by Mary Beaty.
Visit the IHEU. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world union of more than one-hundred Humanist, rationalist, laïque (lay, or of the people), ethical culture, atheist and freethought organizations in over 40 countries, with a stated mission to represent and support the worldwide Humanist movement.
Visit the EHF. The European Humanist Federation (EHF) is the largest umbrella organization of humanist associations in Europe, promoting a secular Europe, defending equal treatment of everyone regardless of religion or belief, fighting religious conservatism and privilege in Europe and at the EU level.

The American Humanist Association (AHA) 73rd Annual Conference will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 5 thru 8, 2014. The event will feature informative lectures, book signings, celebrity guests, networking opportunities, child care, fun activities and more!

World Humanist Congress 2014

The World Humanist Congress 2014 will be held in Oxford, U.K., August 8 thru 10, 2014. It will be run for the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) by the British Humanist Association (BHA). The BHA and the IHEU will offer grants to help low-funded organisations send well qualified delegates to the congress.

Blue Ribbon Campaign.We support the Blue Ribbon Campaign for online freedom of speech, press and association. Please visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation for additional information on free speech and civil rights in the on-line world.

Copyright © 1997-2014 by Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York. All rights reserved.

Contact Information:
Telephone Beth Lamont at 914-588-5284 or e-mail us at info.hsmny@corliss-lamont.org.

Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York (HSMNY)
Half-Moon Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 1080
Ossining, NY 10562-0995

Contributions/Donations and Annual Dues Payments:

You can make a contribution to the Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York (HSMNY) or to Half-Moon Foundation, Inc. to help sustain this Web site and the Chapter. Donations in any amount are gratefully appreciated.

Contributions to the HSMNY can be made in the form of a check or money order payable to Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York and sent to the postal mailing address given above.

Contributions to Half-Moon Foundation, Inc. can be made quickly, easily, safely, and securely with your American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa card, or an existing or new PayPal account, by clicking on the PayPal button below. Note that if you intend to donate using a credit or debit card, there's no need to have, or to set up (create), a PayPal account.

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Contributions made to Half-Moon Foundation, Inc. by U.S. citizens are fully tax deductible. Half-Moon Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. We are offering information only and are not providing goods or services in exchange for your contribution.

Please be aware that contributions, including payment of annual chapter membership dues, made directly to the Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York, are currently not tax deductible.

Thank you!


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This page last revised:  April 17, 2014.

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