Freethought Today · May 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Amazing couple seed student award, legal fellowships

A Washington State couple, who prefer anonymity, this spring gifted more than $250,000 (one share of Berkshire Hathaway stock) to FFRF.

They have approved $150,000 to be held in reserve for the Thomas Jefferson Student (or Youth) Activist Awards, and the rest to create the Robert G. Ingersoll Legal Fellowship for two years. The FFRF Board has recently created two legal fellowships, which are one- to two-year positions to be filled by new law school graduates. The fellowships supplement the work of FFRF's current five staff attorneys. The first Robert G. Ingersoll Legal Fellowship will begin this year.

The couple, who are Lifetime Members of FFRF, have funded a $1,000-a-year Thomas Jefferson Student Activist Award for more than a decade, and indicated they wish to ensure the award continues. The scholarships will be $1,000 to $2,000, and will be awarded at least annually.

The 2017 Thomas Jefferson Student Activist Award has gone to Nicole Niebler. See her write-up about her activism on this page.

"We are so tremendously grateful to our two members, who live a modest lifestyle, for their incredible generosity," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "They will make it possible for FFRF to continue to recognize and reward activist students, and to retain eager and dedicated law school graduates to enhance FFRF's legal department."

Gaylor notes it was "terribly exciting" to oversee a gift of stock from Warren Buffett's famed Berkshire Hathaway. "I'm a big fan," she says. Buffett is an agnostic whose earnings now underwrite many valuable charities as established by himself or family members, including funding of abortions for indigent women in the many states that deny Medicaid recipients abortion services on religious grounds.

"This couple has been so supportive on so many fronts," adds FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. "On behalf of the many young people who will benefit from this major gift, thank you to you-know-who-you-are!"

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