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The Charities We Support

This week’s Reader’s Mailbag is not about a specific question I have been asked once but about a general question I get asked a lot.  People have indicated several times they would like to have more information about the charities we support on the blog, and so I thought it was time to explain that again (I’ve done it only a couple of times over the years.)

So when I started the blog in 2012, I set up a non-profit foundation, The Bart Ehrman Foundation, whose sole purpose is to collect the moneys raised by the blog and distribute the moneys to charity.   Any donations to the blog are fully tax deductible.   When I set the Foundation up, I expected we would raise something like $20,000 a year.  Woops.  Bad estimate.   To date we have distributed $339,000 in funds to charities.  Each year (until, alas, this one it appears!  L) we have raised significantly more than the year previous.  Last year (my fiscal year runs April 1-March 31, because of when I started the blog) we raised $170,000.  Amazing.  But, of course, I always want to do better.  I’m just that kind of guy….

The big issue people want to know about is what charities we support and what it is they do.  And so here is what I have said before about that on the blog (I’ve lifted the post from one over a year ago).  I think in the future (not right away: most of this blog is to be about the literature and history of early Christianity!) I’ll have some guest posts by people representing these charities to give us some more information.  But here is the nuts and bolts, as found in that earlier post.


This post is about the blog itself, dealing with the question of which charities it supports (in reply to numerous requests) mentioning several of improvements we have made in response to requests that I have received.

First, philanthropy.   As I think everyone on the blog knows, all the member fees and all the donations (which you should feel free to begin or continue to make!) go to charity.  I don’t keep a dime for myself and I pay for the upkeep, maintenance, and support for the blog (it’s not as cheap as one might imagine….) (or at least as I did) out of my own pocket.  But I’m happy to do it – it’s a fantastic cause.

Several people have pointed out to me that my *explanation* about the charity aspect of the blog on the Philanthropy page on is fairly pathetic.  It doesn’t even indicate which charities the blog supports.   That’s a problem.   And so it’s time to rectify it.

All the moneys collected by the blog go into the Bart Ehrman Foundation, and all that money goes out to support the following charities.  Two are local to my community, and two are international

  • The Urban Ministries of Durham, This is the one nearest and dearest to my heart.   It is the agency that deals with hunger and homelessness in my own locale.   It is an absolutely amazing “ministry” (it is not religious in anyway; the term is used in the secular sense).  Among other things instead of (or rather in addition to) putting a band aid on the problems  through their homeless shelter and community kitchen and food pantry and clothing pantry,  Urban Ministries actually work to get people off homelessness and into permanent jobs and permanent housing.  Last year they ended homelessness for 287 people.  Anyone interested in seeing what a local organization can do, and do brilliantly, should check out their work at http://umdurham.org/.
  • Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. This too is a terrific agency that deals with food distribution to the needy throughout my part of the state.   The quantity of food they collect from all kinds of sources and the complex distribution process they undertake are logistically mind boggling.  They literally keep people from starving.   You can see what they are about at http://www.foodbankcenc.org

The other two agencies that the Blog supports are internationally well known and do not need much comment from me.  I have supported their work for years and am a true believer in what they do.

  • CARE. Care is an international relief agency that works in nearly 90 countries.  As they say:  “implementing long-term programs to fight poverty, responding to humanitarian emergencies, and advocating for policy change to improve the lives of the poorest people.”   They deal with heart-rending problems with dignity and integrity: http://www.care.org/

  • Doctors without Borders.  This is one of the truly great humanitarian charities in the world, without a question, a bright light shining in our universe.   By their own summary:  “Doctors Without Borders provides medical care to people in nearly 70 countries worldwide, saving lives threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. As a humanitarian organization, we treat people in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.:  http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

I will have these charities listed now on the Philanthropy page.


IF YOU DON”T BELONG TO THE BLOG YET, now is your big chance!  You can see it does great things for needy people.  Most important, by joining you give yourself a great benefit — access to masses of information about the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the history of early Christianity.  So JOIN!!!


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  1. ronaldus67
    ronaldus67  September 9, 2016

    Fantastic! Just great!

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    Eric  September 9, 2016

    Just paypalled $50, challenge fellow readers to similarly turn that company name into a verb (each to his or her budgetary comfort level)

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    rivercrowman  September 9, 2016

    Bart, thanks for sharing in earlier posts that earning a PhD is not an easy slam-dunk matter. … Recently, I employed brief segments of two of your books to respond knowledgeably to a strong Catholic reader on a Facebook page. He had criticized you as having your PhD in “Presupposition.” … The more I read Catholic apologists, the more I believe they could claim a corner on presupposition.

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    trudy  September 9, 2016

    Thanks so much for the info on your charities – I had not seen that before. Unfortunately, I don’t get to read your terrific Blog every day, but I keep trying. One problem is that once I start reading, it’s hard to tear myself away!

    Thanks for all your caring charity work, and for all the work you do on this blog for all your fans! My “tiny” brain needs all the enlightenment it can get 🙂

    Doctors without Borders is one of my favorites … Trudy

  5. talmoore
    talmoore  September 9, 2016

    Dr. Ehrman, I often get asked if I’m a Jewish atheist, then why am I so interested in Jesus. I usually reply that it’s not so much Jesus, specifically, that I find fascinating, but how everyone has come to see Jesus differently through their own theological lens (i.e. Christian think he’s God; Muslims think he’s a Muslim prophet; Jews think he was a false prophet; and I think he was just a cult leader). That is, I’m fascinated by how the typically flawed human Jesus is made into someone more than human, simply out of our fragile human need to do so. And then I might point out that “Bart Ehrman is no longer a Christian, but not only is he still one of the preeminent Jesus scholars in the world, he even still acts more like a charitable Christian than even some self-proclaimed Christians!” And for that I have to commend you for being an exemplar for us fellow non-believers, that we can all be charitable and altruistic human beings without having to be commanded to be by a “higher power”, but simply out of the goodness of our innate human nature. Bravo!

  6. Josephsluna
    Josephsluna  September 9, 2016

    Bart.. what does history say when the son of the father looked at someone…
    What if he looked at you? You would know it was him…

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    falter  September 9, 2016

    Hello Dr. Ehrman:

    Great job!

    Without trying to sound political, Donald Trump [and others] could learn from your actions… You actually try to improve the world because that is the right thing to do… Not for a reward [tax deduction], not to enhance your ego, and not to publicize yourself.

    Thank you.

    Michael Alter

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    Rwpostle6844  September 9, 2016

    Would you consider adding a few more charities and then letting members direct their giving to a particular charity(s)? Maybe this could be for any additional giving above the membership fee. In my opinion, your charities should be well recognized, broad based and non-denominational.

    • Bart
      Bart  September 11, 2016

      I’ve very much tried to hold the line on the numbers of charities we support, because by adding others we would dilute the support of the ones we already give to. On the other hand, it’s an interesting idea: maybe I could set a donation amount that, if made, I would donate then to the charity of choice, while not altering the amounts I give to those we already support. Is that what you’re suggesting?

      • Avatar
        Rwpostle6844  September 11, 2016

        Yes, That would work for me. I detect you area little tight with where the money goes. But then maybe that’s why it is called the Bart Ehrman Foundation.

        • Bart
          Bart  September 12, 2016

          It’s always a matter of preferences, but if I (speaking personally) have a thousand dollars to give, I’d rather give $500 to two charities than $1 to a thousand charities.

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    Pattycake1974  September 9, 2016

    I don’t know how much money it takes to run a charitable organization, but I appreciate this blog very much. The charities you’ve chosen are great. I especially like Durham’s accessibility and caring attitude toward those less fortunate.

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    RonaldTaska  September 10, 2016

    Good work. Straight out of Matthew chapter 25 about the parable of the sheep and the goats.

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    FocusMyView  September 10, 2016

    These charities are very much needed today.
    At the same time, I heard recently on the news that 70% of people who go to the food bank qualify for food stamps. What on earth kind of program is food stamps if it is not serving the very people it is designed to serve? This was said by one of the leaders of the Food Bank on 91.5 FM.
    I have to wonder about the reasons why people will not get government assistance. No hidden meaning there. Just open wondering about a need and a resource so disconnected.

    • Avatar
      Pattycake1974  September 11, 2016

      It takes time to sign up for food stamps and in the meantime, there’s no food. Some people don’t qualify for food stamps even though they really need them. There’s also the Meals on Wheels Program that may use food banks to cook meals for the handicapped and elderly who can’t do so for themselves. You’d be surprised how many elderly people would literally starve without that program.

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    Wilusa  September 10, 2016

    Just out of curiosity: How is the money divided among the charities? Is it an equal four-way split, or do you give more to either the local or the international ones?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 11, 2016

      We give more to Urban Ministries of Durham, since that is the one that I am myself most keen on, among all these very fine charities.

  13. tasteslikecorn
    tasteslikecorn  September 10, 2016

    Fantastic charities, one and all, Dr. Ehrman. Doctors Without Borders has been receiving my “tithe” for my past several years as a heathen. Thank you for your hardwork and making this world a better place. Your blog undertaking is a force for good in a world that is sorely in need of all the help it can get. The fact that you are so generous with your time, talents and wallet stand as a perplexing oxymoron to Fundamentalist Christians everywhere. Please “keep the faith” and carry on. As an aside, I teach U.S. Government and Contemporary World Problems and would love a post/tirade regarding how it’s possible that The Donald could be being seriously considered as the next leader of the free world?.

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    Samuel Riad  September 11, 2016

    One off topic question. A bit elaborate but please bear with me.
    Mark 3 basically says that Jesus’ mother and brothers thought that he was crazy and set off to seize him. He responds by saying “Who are my mother and my brothers… Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
    For some reason, I think this story has a political dimension. After the death of Jesus, the major leaders in Jerusalem were John, Peter and James, the brother of Jesus. While Peter and John did probably merit, James seemed to inherit. This possibly infuriated other followers of Jesus who watched James climb the ranks simply for being the brother of Jesus. Is it possible that James and Mary didn’t think much of Jesus during his lifetime (they did indeed think he was wasting his time with religious hogwash, the infancy stories all being fancies) and that someone was humiliating James by reminding him of the way he acted when his brother was alive? Notice Jesus’ answer “Who are my mother and my brothers… Here are my mother and my brothers!” Did that angry follower of Jesus put these words in Jesus’ mouth to remind James that, by following Jesus, he was more meriting of the title brother? Maybe that’s how it originated then the writer of Mark just included it in his Gospel? I have been thinking of this for the last year so your insight would really be appreciated. Even if you can’t tell for sure at least let me know if you feel this was the case. Thanks!

    • Bart
      Bart  September 11, 2016

      Interesting idea. Some scholars have argued that Mark’s goal was to delegitimize all the disciples. I’ve never really bought that. My sense is that if it wanted to trash James in particular (or Mary) it would have been more explicit about it. But maybe not.

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    gabilaranjeira  September 16, 2016

    Awesome! Thanks for making it possible for us to participate!

    Btw, I am so totally fine with this being a Bartocracy. It would be very unproductive if we all felt entitled to choose which charity should get the donations.

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