The merger of Richard Dawkins Foundation and Center for Inquiry makes the largest secularist organization in the United States.
The new organization, bearing the name of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), will be headed by Robyn Blumner, current president of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science. Center for Inquiry’s current president and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay will retain his title until the merger is complete and work closely with Blumner during the transition.
According to Center for Inquiry’s press release, the new organization will begin operations immediately. The merger, however, becomes final later this spring once required legal filings are done and regulatory approval is cleared. The merged entity will have an annual budget of over $6 million and a staff of about 45 employees.
Robyn Blumner said in her statement that “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.”
Richard Dawkins, a 74-year-old British evolutionary biologist viewed as a superstar by many Atheists for his best-selling books on atheism and science and his outspoken talks against religion, will become a member of the new organization’s board of directors.
Some are questioning why Dawkins is taking his celebrity and fortune to the new Center for Inquiry instead of some prominent Atheist organizations that have praised him in the past. Ryan Cragun, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tampa, told Religion News that the new organization will have resources in place to support Dawkins’ interest in science and reason. “It makes sense to go with the CFI,” he said.
The merged organization will have its headquarters in Amherst, New York, where the current Center for Inquiry is located. There will be branches in Los Angeles and other cities in the United States.