Our History

▪Atheist Alliance of America “AAoA” was officially incorporated in San Mateo, California, as Atheist Alliance, Inc., “AA” on August 25, 1992, as a 501c3, by John B. Massen and several affiliated organizations who would serve as AA’s decision-making body.

▪ In the second half of 1994, AA began publishing its magazine, Secular Nation.

▪ In 1995, AA began hosting US conventions, with the first one held in Los Angeles, California. Our website went online in 1997.

▪ By 2001, the organization had a half-dozen affiliates outside the US, and so changed its name from Atheist Alliance, Inc. to Atheist Alliance International “AAI.”

▪ In 2003 our organization started to present the Richard Dawkins Award. It is named after Richard Dawkins, an English evolutionary biologist who was named the world's top thinker in 2013. This award now continues to be presented by the Atheist Alliance of America.

▪ In 2006, we held our first international conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.

▪ In 2010, we began our current program of co-hosting conventions with Affiliate Members, starting with the extremely successful 2010 Global Atheist convention held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

▪ In 2011, our organization which was then named "Atheist Alliance International" changed its name to "Atheist Alliance of America," ("AAoA"). We retained our initial Federal ID number, and we started to focus our activities only in the United States.

We then formed a new and separate organization and gave it the previous name, "Atheist Alliance International," or “AAI." In 2013, this new AAI organization was granted special consultative status by the United Nations and now functions as a separate organization.

▪ In 2016, Mark W. Gura, Sr. board member Dustin Kemper, and others determined that Atheist Alliance of America could more effectively pursue its goals if decisions were made by its board of directors rather than its affiliates and AAoA sought and achieved autonomy from the decision-making Affiliate Council.

▪ That year, AAoA also adopted a new logo designed by Mark W. Gura and narrowed its scope as an incubator for secular activists and community organizations. Subsequently, Gura designed a new “committee model” platform for AAoA that allows AAoA incubate atheists and atheist organizations to cultivate their talents, passions, and goals in service of secular causes.

▪ In 2017, with the help of board member Derek Colanduno, AAoA started to hold its annual convention at DragonCon.com in conjunction with Skeptrack (www.skeptics.dragoncon.org). Dragon*Con usually draws more than 80,000 participants over Labor Day weekend and is held in Atlanta every year.

▪ In 2017, CW Brown and Mark W. Gura incorporated CW Brown’s social media assets (Philosophical Atheism, Thinking Rationally and Heathens Hangout, and others with AAoA Nation) and launched a social media platform that receives more than 1,000,000 million views per week and more than 10,000,000 when a post goes viral. This happens periodically.

▪ In 2017, with the help of Shane Hammac, CW Brown and Mark W. Gura, Atheist Alliance of America launched its Atheist Alliance Helping the Homeless program in 11 states via 14 chapters.

▪ In 2018, Mark W. Gura suggested that Atheist Alliance of America and Atheist Alliance International strengthened their affiliation and dissolve all past agreements and restrictions which had previously limited their operations to traditional geographic zones. Being on the board of both organizations, CW Brown mediated these needs for both organizations. Both organizations are now able to concentrate their efforts all over the world.

That same year, AAI also decided that it could more effectively pursue its goals if decisions were made by its board of directors rather than its affiliates and AAI achieved autonomy from its Affiliate Council.

In 2018, the Atheist Alliance is helping to formulate a plan to better unite the atheist community under a single banner.

Making the most of its opportunities, AAoA has assembled a powerhouse team of secular activists, authors, educators, journalists, producers, and artists including president Mark W. Gura, social media and executive director CW Brown; John Loftus, Derek Colanduno, Dustin Kemper, Kelli Cooke, Shane Hammac, and Tina Hamilton, as board members. The AAoA team totals more than 600 volunteers in more than 15 states.

The Alliance is also supported by Assistant to the president Nina Rose Marina, acting treasurer Daniel Maffucci, advisers Herb Silverman, Ian Harris, Andy Thomson, Stephen Law, Candace Gorham, Bill Flavell, Buck Bowen, David Hancock, Micael Langer, John Richards and Christopher DiCarlo, Angelos Sofocleous, Gary Laun, Artur Perez-Cruz, Seweryn Wysokinski, Sara Al Iraqiya, Matt Jackson, and Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, PhD., and by key contributors Steve Miller, Nicky Steel and Ryan Spurlock.

Secular Nation Blog is run by director Sarah Mills; Secular Nation Magazine by director Angelos Sofocleous, and Secular Nation podcast is run by DonnaMarie Swafford and Gary Oscar Laun. Lexi Whittenberg and Brian Sipsy host the Scenic City Skeptic, and the podcast iSecularBuddhist is also powered by AAoA. Its hosts are CW Brown and Mark W. Gura.

You can find out about key contributors, advisers, and Board of Directors here.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:
Atheist Alliance of America
P.O. Box 190
Wilder, VT 05088

Legal Address:
Atheist Alliance of America
1267 Willis Street, Suite 200
Redding, CA 96001


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