Silicon Valley Couple Offers $500,000 Challenge Grant for Secular Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Secular Coalition for America today announced a matching gift challenge of up to $500,000 from philanthropists Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss. Jeff is the mobile computing entrepreneur who invented the PalmPilot and the Treo, and is now known for his work in brain theory at Numenta Inc., a company he co-founded in 2005.
“Our government was founded on the principles of separation of church and state,” said Jeff.  “It is vital to protect those principles for the benefit of all Americans.”  Added Janet, “We hope to attract new donors and raise major gifts, so that the Secular Coalition for America will become an even more vital and effective voice in our country.”

“This challenge grant from Janet and Jeff will spark innovation in our movement, empowering Secular Coalition for America to vigorously execute “Our Secular Decade" strategic plan. We intend to create a secular coalition affiliate in every state, each advocating for the secular government as the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, intended,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America.
“We’re excited about the first challenge grant and the opportunity to expand our lobbying and coalition-building efforts.  This is a true leadership gift, one we hope will be followed by others,” said Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America.  "This challenge grant gives people an opportunity to double their contribution to our movement."

Go to or contact Caroline Slobodzian, development manager, to donate a Society gift of $10,000 or more. For each new (or upgraded) Society gift to Secular Coalition for America, Jeff and Janet will match dollar for dollar to the Secular Coalition for America Education Fund.  Those who already participate at the Secular Society level can upgrade to a higher Society and their gift will be matched as well.
Secular Coalition for America is a non-profit corporation focusing on lobbying for the separation of church and state and greater prominence of and acceptance for Secular Americans.  Contributions to the Secular Coalition for America are not tax deductible.  To find out more about the Secular Coalition for America, please visit

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