Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Saving the World!

I’ve stumbled into a pretty fortunate position. Earlier this year, while organizing Skepchicamp here in Chicago, we ran into the unbelievable situation of having raised so much money, we had to register with the state as a nonprofit organization. So I asked my fellow organizers what they wanted to do. We could keep things the way they were and keep doing a Skepchicamp. Or we could use this opportunity to keep doing Skepchicamp, but also form a 501c3 and save the fucking world. By now, you know what we chose.

And now, saving the world is catching on. It’s not just the Skepchicks who are doing it. We’re getting emails daily asking us how people can start their own vaccine clinic where they are. One guy has already gotten the ball rolling at his school. The Hug Me campaign is off to an amazing start and it hasn’t even launched yet! The website isn’t even up. Half our materials are still at the printer. And the vaccines are the newest and hottest meme going! It feels good.

Behind the scenes, the Skepchicks are bursting with pride. And Maria and I, along with our graphic design goddess Beth, are stressed out but in the awesomest way possible. (But seriously, that Beth hasn’t punched me in the face with bears over this project is proof that she is the girl-Job of skepticism.)

If you found yourself suddenly and unexpectedly founding and running a nonprofit, and you had the funds, what would you do to save the world?

Also: Don’t forget to get your TDaP at Dragon*Con! It’s FREE!

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I would start with eradicating polio and then work on stamping out the stupid female circumcision idea. Then start on clean water for the world! Hey, why think small!

  2. There are so many things that can be done, but one thing I might consider is starting a “science” lobby that would work to combat the influence of pseudoscience in government and to increase funding for science education, research and supporting the establishment clause of the first amendment.

  3. I do volunteer work with addicts living on the street (intermittently – too depressing to do that all the time). So, I would build a residential facility for them with social and mental health care available in house.

    Relying on the criminal justice system to take care the problems of drug abuse has been a costly and dismal failure. Its another form of woo.

  4. I would try to support science education as much as possible. I don’t know exactly what I would do, but I would certainly hire people who knows their stuff.

  5. I would work to make birth control free and available to anyone in the world who wants it. The world is drowning in people. If we don’t get a handle on population growth anything else we do to improve the people’s lives will be swamped by our breeding rate.

  6. I would gather together a band of hard knocks skeptics with nothing to lose. A pilot, a tough guy, a brain and a shooter. We would travel the world until the money ran out and the good times eneded. Wherever woo had taken control, whereever ghost whispers found haven, wherever numerologists influnced school boards we would be there. GO TEAM SKEPTIC!

  7. Anti-facism. Yesterday in Bradford (a city in the north of the UK with large Muslim/Jewish/African population) there was a frightening large rally/demo of the “English Defense League” (the EDL) a street-fighting off shoot of the British National Party (BNP). A group that did not exsist three years ago, but has grown out of the BNP’s electoral defeats (they’re switching their tactics to street violence and direct intimidation as a result) and the depression. They’re the SA to the BNP’s Nazi Party.

    Right now, after the counter demonstration turning into a running battle, I’m sporting a rather purple “black eye”. So right now, defeating fascism is more urgent than stopping CofE schools.

  8. Small-scale, eco-designed, affordable supported living for homeless and at-risk in my own community, designed so at to generate a surplus to roll over into medical, clean water and education in the third world.

  9. I actually DID start a non-profit about three months ago called The Great Experiment Scholarship, Inc. I was running an experiment on my blog, Fledgeling Skeptic (.com) and Myk Dowling of Australia told me, “You know other people are going to have to do your experiment too in order to back up your findings, right?”. At that moment, the metaphorical light bulb came on and the GES was born.
    We don’t *exactly* save the world, but we DO give small grants of $10 – $40 to people of any age who are not professional scientists who want to run their own science experiments at home or in the classroom.
    The goal is to improve critical thinking and logic through the use of the scientific method.
    Check us out at

  10. I volunteer at my local Crisis Center/ Food Bank so my organization would have a department for fundraising money for them to buy food. It would have a department dedicated to lobbying for gay rights, women’s’ rights and the rights of racial and religious minorities. It would lobby for science education and produce awesome pro-science shows similar to Star Trek and Bullshit. There would also be a department that would do research into steam cell therapy, alternative energy sconces and cost efficient ways of space exploration. It would also have it’s own political party, made up of it’s members, candidates are approved by myself of course.

    The list of things my organization would do is reaching epic proportions. It would probably be better to have it just be and fundraising organization. I could then give money to other organizations that do some of this stuff. I still like the idea of a political party with candidates all approved by me. It probably wouldn’t be a very successful party, however. I’m way too forward thinking for most peoples’ tastes.

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