James Randi Educational Foundation

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James Randi Educational Foundation
JREFLogo.png
Founded 1996
Founder James Randi
Type 501(c)(3)
Registration no. 65-0649443
Location
Key people James Randi, Chairman, Board of Directors and Acting President
Rick Adams, Secretary, Board of Directors
Daniel "Chip" Denman, Board of Directors
Barb Drescher, Educational Programs Consultant
Revenue

US $887,595 in 2013. Decrease Decrease[1] US $1,293,878 in 2012. Decrease[2] US $1,564,266 in 2011.[2]

US$852,445[3][4] (2009) Decrease 38% on 2008. Increase 17% on 2009.[5]
Employees 2
Volunteers 50
Slogan An Educational resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific, and the supernatural
Mission To promote Critical Thinking and Investigate Claims of the Paranormal
Website www.randi.org

The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 by magician and skeptic James Randi. The JREF's mission includes educating the public and the media on the dangers of accepting unproven claims, and to support research into paranormal claims in controlled scientific experimental conditions.

The organization administers the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, which offers a prize of one million U.S. dollars which it will pay out to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. The JREF also maintains a legal defense fund to assist persons who are attacked as a result of their investigations and criticism of people who make paranormal claims.[6]

The organization is funded through member contributions, grants, and conferences. The JREF website publishes a (nominally daily) blog at randi.org, Swift, which includes the latest JREF news and information, as well as exposés of paranormal claimants.[7]

History[edit]

The JREF officially came into existence on February 29, 1996, when it was registered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Delaware in the United States.[8] On April 3, 1996 Randi formally announced the creation of the JREF through his email hotline.[9] It is now headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia.[10]

THE FOUNDATION IS IN BUSINESS! It is my great pleasure to announce the creation of the James Randi Educational Foundation. This is a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational foundation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, incorporated in the State of Delaware. The Foundation is generously funded by a sponsor in Washington D.C. who wishes, at this point in time, to remain anonymous.

The Foundation, Randi Hotline, Wed, April 3, 1996

Randi says Johnny Carson was a major sponsor, giving several six-figure donations.[11]

The officers of the JREF are:[12]

  • Director, Chairman: James Randi, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Director, Secretary, Assistant Secretary: Richard L. Adams Jr., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Director, Secretary: Daniel Denman, Silver Spring, Maryland.

In 2008 the astronomer Philip Plait became the new president of the JREF and Randi its board chairman.[13] In December 2009 Plait left the JREF due to involvement in a television project, and D.J. Grothe assumed the position of president on January 1, 2010,[14] holding the position until his departure from the JREF was announced on September 1, 2014.[10]

The San Francisco newspaper SF Weekly reported on August 24, 2009 that Randi's annual salary is about $200,000.[15]

The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge[edit]

In 1964, Randi began offering a prize of $US1000 to anyone who could demonstrate a paranormal ability under agreed-upon testing conditions. This prize has since been increased to $US1 million in bonds and is now administered by the JREF as the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. Since its inception, more than 1000 people have applied to be tested. To date no one has either been able to demonstrate their claimed abilities under the testing conditions or have not fulfilled the foundation conditions for taking the test; the prize money still remains to be claimed.

The Amaz!ng Meeting[edit]

Main article: The Amaz!ng Meeting

Since 2003, the JREF has annually hosted The Amaz!ng Meeting, a gathering of scientists, skeptics, and atheists. Perennial speakers include Richard Dawkins, Penn & Teller, Phil Plait, Michael Shermer and Adam Savage.

Podcasts and videos[edit]

The foundation produced two audio podcasts, For Good Reason[16] and Consequence.[17] For Good Reason was an interview program hosted by D.J. Grothe, promoting critical thinking and skepticism about the central beliefs of society. It has not been active since December, 2011.[18] Consequence was a biweekly podcast hosted by former outreach coordinator Brian Thompson in which regular people shared their personal narratives about the negative impact a belief in pseudoscience, superstition, and the paranormal had had on their lives. It has not been active since May, 2013.

The JREF also produced a regular video cast and YouTube show, The Randi Show, in which former JREF outreach coordinator Brian Thompson interviewed Randi on a variety of skeptical topics, often with lighthearted or comedic commentary.[19] It has not been active since August, 2012.

The JREF posts many of its educational videos from The Amazing Meeting and other events online. There are free lectures by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Carol Tavris, Lawrence Krauss, live tests of the Million Dollar Challenge, workshops on cold reading by Ray Hyman, and panels featuring leading thinking on various topics related to JREF's educational mission.[20] JREF president D.J. Grothe has claimed that the JREF's YouTube channel was once the "10th most subscribed nonprofit channel of all time,[21] though its current status is 39th and most non-profits do not register for this status.[22]

The foundation produced its own "Internet Audio Show" which ran from January–December 2002 and was broadcast via a live stream. The archive can be found as mp3 files on their website[23] and as a podcast on iTunes.[24]

Forum and online community[edit]

As part of the JREF's goal of educating the general population about science and reason, people involved in their community actively run one of the most popular skeptic based online forums at http://forums.randi.org[25] with the overall goal of promoting "critical thinking and providing the public with the tools needed to reliably examine paranormal, supernatural, and pseudoscientific claims".[26]

On October 5, 2014, this online forum was divorced from the JREF and moved as its own entity to International Skeptics Forum.

Fellowships and scholarships[edit]

The JREF has named a number of fellows of the organization including Senior Fellow Steven Novella and Research Fellows Karen Stollznow, Tim Farley and Ray Hall.[27] Kyle Hill was added as a fellow November 2011,[28] and Leo Igwe was added October 2012.[29] Farley's position as a JREF Fellow ended in February 2014.[30]

JREF fellows Tim Farley, Karen Stollznow, Steven Novella and Ray Hall at The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 from Outer Space July 16, 2011

In 2007 the JREF announced it would resume awarding critical thinking scholarships to college students after a brief hiatus due to the lack of funding.[31]

The JREF has also helped to support local grassroot efforts and outreach endeavors, such as SkeptiCamp, Camp Inquiry[32] and various community-organized conferences.[33] However, according to their tax filing, they spend less than $2,000 a year on other organizations or individuals.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2013/650/649/2013-650649443-0a4828e8-9.pdf
  2. ^ a b http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2012/650/649/2012-650649443-0924dfee-9.pdf
  3. ^ "990 Form from 2008 for The James Randi Educational Foundation(cite line 12)". Foundation Center. 
  4. ^ "2009 Form 990". GuideStar. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Form 990 for 2010". GuideStar. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Prove Your Supernatural Power and Get Rich". Skeptoid.com. 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  7. ^ "JREF Swift Blog". Retrieved 2014-01-04.  JREF Swift Blog
  8. ^ "Department of State: Division of Corporations - Entity Details - The James Randi Educational Foundation". Retrieved 2012-03-03.  Delaware Dept. of State, Division of Corporations official website, Corporation Name Search: "The James Randi Educational Foundation. Incorporation Date / Formation Date: February 29, 1996. Entity Type: NON-PROFIT OR RELIGIOUS."
  9. ^ [1] The Randi Hotline — 1996 The Foundation.
  10. ^ a b "Los Angeles Office Closed". James Randi Educational Foundation. September 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  11. ^ James Randi. "A Good Friend Has Left Us". JREF. John was generous, kind, and caring. The JREF received several checks — 6-figure checks [dead link]
  12. ^ "filing with Florida State Department". Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Phil Plait — New JREF President". Retrieved August 8, 2008. 
  14. ^ James Randi. "Exciting Times at The JREF". JREF News. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  15. ^ "The Demystifying Adventures of the Amazing Randi". Retrieved September 5, 2009. SF Weekly, August 24, 2009, online version, page 2: "One of his friends, Internet pioneer Rick Adams, put up $1 million in 1996."
  16. ^ "For Good Reason podcast". Forgoodreason.org. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  17. ^ "Consequence Podcast". "Consequence Podcast". Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  18. ^ "For Good Reason podcast". 
  19. ^ "The Randi Show". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  20. ^ "JREF Video Channel on YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  21. ^ http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1531-enjoy-the-jref-on-youtube.html?fontstyle=f-smaller
  22. ^ http://vidstatsx.com/youtube-top-100-most-subscribed-nonprofit-activism-channels
  23. ^ "Internet Audio Show". The James Randi Educational Foundation. 3 January 2002. 
  24. ^ The James Randi Educational Foundation (3 January 2002). "Internet Audio Show". iTunes. 
  25. ^ "Forum Homepage". forums.randi.org/. Retrieved 2014-04-04. 
  26. ^ "Educational Programs". randi.org. Retrieved 2014-04-04. 
  27. ^ "Dr. Ray Hall Appointed as New JREF Research Fellow". JREF SWIFT blog. James Randi Educational Foundation. July 1, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Kyle Hill Appointed as JREF Research Fellow". JREF SWIFT blog. James Randi Educational Foundation. November 11, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Leo Igwe partners with JREF to respond to witchcraft problem in Africa". Doubtful News. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  30. ^ Farley, Tim (14 June 2014). "Online resources for The Amazing Meeting #TAM2014". Skeptical Software Tools. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "The James Randi Educational Foundation Scholarships". Randi.org. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  32. ^ http://CampInquiry.org
  33. ^ "JREF Offers a Number of Scholarships and Grants for Students, Educators and Local Skeptic Groups". Randi.org. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  34. ^ "JREF tax filing 2012". Guidestar.org. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°06′28″N 80°08′27″W / 26.107883°N 80.140859°W / 26.107883; -80.140859