Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science to Merge with Center for Inquiry

Jan 21, 2016

Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director – 207-358-9785

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science to Merge with Center for Inquiry

Robyn Blumner to Become President and CEO of Center for Inquiry

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and the Center for Inquiry, two of the world’s most respected freethought institutions, have announced their intent to merge. The new organization, which will be the largest secularist organization in the United States, will bear the name of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (RDFRS) becoming a division of CFI.

Robyn Blumner, currently president & CEO of RDFRS, will become CEO of the combined entity on January 25. Ronald A. Lindsay, currently president & CEO of CFI, will retain the title of president until the merger is complete, and will work closely with Blumner during the transition period. Previous to leading RDFRS, Blumner was a syndicated columnist for the Tampa Bay Times and led two statewide affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Richard Dawkins, founder and chair of RDFRS, will become a member of the CFI board of directors along with the other directors of RDFRS once the merger is complete.

CFI and RDFRS plan to begin unified operations immediately, although the merger will not become final until later this spring, after necessary legal filings and regulatory approval.

The merged organization will be the largest in the United States with a mission of promoting secularism and science, with an annual budget in excess of $6 million and a staff of about 45 employees.

“I am absolutely delighted that I’m closing out my tenure at CFI by helping to bring about a merger between RDFRS and CFI,” said Ronald Lindsay. “Both organizations share a vital common mission, and together we can accomplish much more. And, of course, CFI looks forward to the benefit of close collaboration with Richard Dawkins, indisputably one of the preeminent public intellectuals of our time.”

Robyn Blumner observed, “Secularism is on the ascendency in the United States and beyond. Science has proven to be the engine of human progress. Bringing more resources and ambition to promoting these forces of reason is what this merger is about. I am thrilled to be tapped to lead this joint effort and expand on what Ron Lindsay has built.”

“I am very pleased that my foundation is about to join forces with the Center for Inquiry,” said Richard Dawkins. “CFI is the biggest player in the secular / non-religious / skeptical world, and I like to hope that RDFRS will have something to add to its already flourishing enterprise. In turn, among our projects which will benefit from a larger team of professionals are Openly Secular and the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES). I look forward to adding my voice to CFI’s focus on promoting secular humanism and fighting the proliferation of pseudoscience. I am also especially delighted that Robyn Blumner, the present CEO of RDFRS, is to become the President and CEO of the whole organisation. Ron Lindsay is truly (forgive the cliché) a hard act to follow. If anyone can do it, Robyn can.”

Both CFI and RDFRS have offices in Washington, D.C., and these offices will now be combined. CFI will maintain its headquarters building in Amherst, New York, as well as branches in Los Angeles and other cities in the United States.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is

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9 comments on “Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science to Merge with Center for Inquiry

  • Perhaps herding cats is not impossible.

    It’s good to see people joining together to make a single, stronger, voice for secularism.

    Congratulations to the leadership of both teams. Cutting overheads and focussing staff on one set of goals can only make them more effective.

    It also answers a question I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while: Succession. Ron Lindsay is correct, one name is a hostage to fortune.


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  • First congratulations to Robin Blumner. She will do a fine job. It serves us particularly well to have a women at the helm of this bigger ship not least because religion serves women ill and that case needs be made in every illustrative way possible. It may also help refresh the number and profile of contributors here.

    Personally, I am unnerved at the prospect of acquiring the possible badge of humanist. I may currently be a de facto humanist in many matters but it is never a term I use about myself. It is an assumtion made of me which can lead people astray.

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  • Not a very pleasant news for me in a way. Such a big name like RD shouldn’t have buried a level down in another brand. May be good strategic step in terms of funds and scope, but certainly not a wise step in terms of branding, recognition and ambassadorship.

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  • 7
    nash984954 says:

    I thinks it’s great, however could it be the CFI site with the higher number of congratulatory comments? Now, just heard RD had a stroke last month. bummer. Get well RD. And Congrats to you Robyn

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  • I see that the new organization is humanist in addition to atheist. I’ve always liked RDFRS because of the twin focus on atheism and science. Humanism, however, is to me too narrow of a world-view, focusing implicitly on homo sapiens and not the various other creatures that inhabit this planet, many of which share most of our key cognitive traits. We need a more inclusive philosophy, particularly in these current times of global environmental crisis.

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  • Paul

    I see your point about the humanists and I can’t say that Humanism is a perfect fit for me either, but there is a large overlap in the atheist and humanist groups and I don’t see how we atheists could organize around this. They bring plenty to the table as far as general ethics though, don’t they? I feel that I fit better with the Naturalism worldview bunch and I hope that we can balance off any excessive glorification and special privilege of our own species when the occasion arises.

    If we want to make progressive change we need to form a formidable coalition with like minded groups. Let’s be pragmatic.

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