Catholic School Atheist Raises Over $11,000 for Responsible Charity March 11, 2012

Catholic School Atheist Raises Over $11,000 for Responsible Charity

On February 22nd, Daniel, the Catholic School Atheist, began his fundraiser for Responsible Charity.

We here at Friendly Atheist felt so inspired by Daniel’s story that we decided to post about it.

Originally, Daniel’s goal was to double his Catholic High School’s fundraising goal — they are raising money to build a fence for an orphanage in Africa.

His original goal, $1,200, was reached and surpassed quickly. In fact, over the course of 14 days (through March 7th), Responsible Charity, received $11,184.12 worth of donations from 516 people worldwide thanks to Daniel’s support.

Daniel is beyond pleased with the response:

Thanks to each one of you, a school will be built in Kolkata — a secular school where kids can learn without the baggage of religion. We have literally changed the lives of many kids forever. I am so happy right now! I can’t wait to get the official letter from Responsible Charity stating what we have raised so I can show it to my parents and my school. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on how it goes. YOU GUYS ROCK! Thank you so much!

I have had the pleasure of short email exchanges with Daniel. And it turns out he recently came out as an atheist to his parents:

[My parents] called me downstairs and asked about some of the posts I’ve had on facebook about reading Hitchens or Bible quotes. I just told them then that I was an Atheist. My mom seemed ok with it and told me just to not be to cocky around other people but my dad wasn’t very happy. He seemed ok once I told him about the page. I’m extremely happy with the results that I’ve gotten and actually I just found out that after 2 weeks my school has gotten $63.25.

Yes, you read that correctly.

In two weeks, Daniel, the Catholic School Atheist, raised over $11,000 to help build a school for kids in the slums of India… while his Catholic School raised just over $63.

Quite the difference.

And on top of that, he has the courage to come out as an atheist to his parents. Brave kiddo.

Truly, the outpouring of support for this new, small charity is remarkable.

The Catholic School Atheist plans to keep his Facebook page open indefinitely to continue helping Responsible Charity.

Meanwhile Responsible Charity had this to say:

GOAL ACCOMPLISHED! — 25K Raised, it took us a while, then a great big push from a brave 14 year old young man over a week ago and we got there! (more about him here: — There were many fundraisers, small and large donations from supporters since day ONE, as well as folks from around the world who learned about our efforts over the last year. The time has come to now build our first secular school for children living in slums. More to come, stay tuned!

Hemley Gonzalez, founder of Responsible Charity, described the school goal on his personal facebook page nearly a year ago:

We need to open a school to eliminate many of the challenges we currently face in the slums. As of today (April 11, 2011) we’ve been able to place 11 children in two schools in the area but it has not been without difficulties and many rejections. We now need to take control of the situation and give more children a place where they are welcome regardless of their caste and can prepare them to enter higher education schools…

The cost of establishing a new school and maintaining it for the first year will run in the neighborhood of $23,000-$25,000USD, this includes deposits, monthly rent, commissions and small to medium repairs if necessary as well as the cost of salaries for teachers, caretakers, uniforms, books, medicines, kitchen, nutritional program and other supplies will have to be calculated in the future as we start to take kids off the streets and into a place that will positively change their lives forever.

Daniel and Hemley have been exceptional examples of not just atheism but of good human beings who want to help the world because it’s the right thing to do.


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  • Anonymous

    Of course Daniel was able to raise more than his catholic school. He doesn’t have to pay protection money to the Don at the Vatican. 

  • Anonymous-Sam

    There would be a joke in this, but I can’t think of a good way to turn Tiny into a collar-wearing reverend threatening to break your faith. XD

  • ragarth

    Has there been a response from his school? Afterall, after his principal made proclemations of how atheists don’t give to charity, I’d be amused seeing the blithering idiot eat crow.

  • Massive congratulations to Daniel and all of our fellow atheists who supported him. Thanks also to Shannon Burgdorf for posting these important stories, and to Hemant for consistently supporting young atheist activists. As we start to see the age-level getting lower and lower at which atheism/free-thought becomes well-enough understood to see that it’s worth fighting for, we should feel heartened that this is a sure sign that religious dogma is losing its grip on the population.

    The fever is breaking. The delusional ranting will subside. Our critical-thinking immune system is kicking in. The rational anti-bodies are working. We just have to keep it up; keep ourselves well-hydrated, well-nourished, and well-rested with social support for one another. If we are lucky, we’ll manage to avoid any complications or secondary infections, and before you know it, our society will have overcome one of the worst chronic illnesses in its lifetime.

  • Mairianna

    I hate to be an Eyeore about this but…..I wonder if the school is going to try to “use” Daniel’s donations to make themselves look better.  $10,063. 25 sounds much better than $63.25.  I wouldn’t put it past them.  

  • Frank Rapp53

    During my senior year of high school, at Benet Acadmey–a Catholic high school just down the road from where Hemant teaches now, I was Human Relations Committee chairman. This was during the 1970-1971 school year. The school had (and still does) a Christmas Drive in which money was raised to buy meals and gifts for a sister parish in Chicago’s inner-city. The drive always consisted of contests and privileges that students paid for (there was a beard growing contest, a pie eating contest, a “slop” day when students could pay for the privilege of not dressing in the school uniform, and such). Because I had always been disgusted by the attitude behind the giving,  I ran the drive by cancelling such contests and exhorting the (mostly affluent) students to give because it is a worthy cause, not because they got some fun and games in return. It flopped horribly. As near as I can tell, they still get students to contribute by amusing them in return. Giving for the sake of giving is an idea that still does not penetrate the minds of this “upstanding” Catholic institution. 

  • Richard Smith

    Amazing what doing good just for the sake of doing good, yields!

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