What is UnitedCoR?
The United Coalition of Reason is a nonprofit national organization that helps local nontheistic groups work together to achieve higher visibility, gain more members, and have a greater impact in their local areas. We achieve this goal by assisting local groups in the "community of reason" to cooperate with each other.
("Community of reason" is a generic term that includes all self-identified nontheistic organizations, whether they call themselves atheist, agnostic, bright, Ethical Culture, freethought, humanist, Pastafarian, rationalist, realist, skeptic, secularist, Unitarian Universalist, or whatever else.)
How is cooperation achieved?
Group leaders in a given city or region are brought together for the purpose of establishing an informal coalition. This local coalition is then used to foster joint activities among the groups and raise the collective public profile of the local community of reason itself. Such coalitions across the country are then placed in communication with each other so they may share ideas and resources.
Most services are directed toward the formation of local coalitions. UnitedCoR does this in four ways:
- It lays the groundwork for the creation of a local CoR that can act as a forum for area group leaders and serve as a clearinghouse for public information on their groups.
- It offers free Web hosting and a website template for the local CoR website.
- It provides free public relations and media training of local group leaders so they may improve the public profile and outreach of their individual groups and the local CoR.
- It provides funding for a local ad campaign aimed at bringing traffic to the local CoR website.
And UnitedCoR charges nothing for these services. All are free. The only thing the organization asks in return is to be prominently identified on the local CoR website.
The nature and purpose of local ad campaigns
The ad campaigns usually take the form of prominent highway billboards or placards on the sides of buses or in subway stations. The wording of the ads is aimed toward getting the attention of those in the general public who are already nontheistic in their personal outlook but who may be unaware there are various types of groups available to serve them.
As expected, the local ad campaigns sponsored by UnitedCoR have been perceived by many as controversial, resulting in much publicity. But as the public considers the subject raised, two primary reactions emerge: "Where have you been all my life?" and "Free speech is what America is all about." In other words, the net reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
Other work of UnitedCoR
In addition to CoR development, UnitedCoR offers a variety of continuing services to local CoRs in the form of program ideas, technical advice, and opportunities to interact with other CoR leaders around the country. UnitedCoR also funds fair and festival booths for local CoRs and cosponsors regional conferences that function to promote wider cooperation. Where it isn't possible to develop a CoR because perhaps only one nontheistic group exists in a given area, UnitedCoR is nonetheless able to provide valuable assistance and advice.
When was UnitedCoR founded?
United Coalition of Reason Inc. was incorporated on February 13, 2009. A year earlier the leaders of all the local nontheistic groups in the greater Philadelphia area met and agreed to form a local coalition which they called the Greater Philadelphia Coalition of Reason, or PhillyCoR. The launch in May 2008 was accompanied by a high-profile billboard on Interstate 95 in Downtown Philadelphia. In the wake of the publicity that followed, some of those involved decided to "export their revolution" all across the United States through the formation of a national UnitedCoR. Fred Edwords was brought on board to head up the operation and UnitedCoR had its public launch on March 30, 2009.
How UnitedCoR is organized and funded
The organization is run by a self-perpetuating board of three directors: Jan Meshon, Steve Rade, and Roy Speckhardt. The daily operations are handled by Fred Edwords, national director (in Maryland), and Joseph McDaniel Stewart, webmaster (in North Carolina). Outside specialists in various locations are also used from time to time to provide graphic design, media research, and other services. UnitedCoR is officially headquartered in Washington DC.
As for volunteers, they are recruited at the local level. Local CoRs and the groups they serve need people to help with a wide range of tasks: from event organizing to publicity to website management. Interested individuals should contact the CoR in their area or an appropriate nontheistic group.
UnitedCoR is privately funded and therefore neither solicits nor accepts outside contributions. As a matter of policy, when others express a desire to contribute to UnitedCoR's efforts, they are directed toward appropriate groups in their local area.
Last updated December 8, 2010
© Copyright 2010 by the United Coalition of Reason Inc.
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