When talk is not enough, it is time to build.
This month with the Claremont Conference on Contemporary Paganism and PantheaCon, I’m taking the month off from my regular blog post to announce the formation of a new Pagan service organization: the Pantheon Foundation.
We are a California non-profit religious corporation applying for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Our mission is to provide IRS group exemptions for Pagan organizations through fiscal sponsorship, develop Pagan ministry, study the history, promote the culture, and advance the social welfare of Pagans and the Pagan community.
At PantheaCon this year we launched the Pantheon Foundation to a packed crowd with high hopes. We are humbled by the trust invested in us by the community and pledge ourselves to be worthy of that trust and to earn it every day. Below is more about our plans. Please visit our website and be in touch. Any support you offer will be gratefully received.
The Pantheon Foundation will provide fiscal sponsorship for Pagan organizations, enabling them to have bank accounts, lease meeting space, procure insurance, and receive bequests and donations, as well as have access to legal and accounting services.
The Pantheon Foundation will advance the study of Pagan history, culture and religious practice, through funding and administering scholarships and research grants, sponsoring conferences and creating educational facilities. For example we plan to offer scholarships to 2nd year or later Master of Divinity students at accredited seminaries awarded on the basis of an essay on the nature of Paganism and Pagan ministry. We will offer research grants to scholars to produce works on Pagan religion, culture, and policy. Also, the Pantheon Foundation sponsors conferences of religious, scholarly, and cultural leaders to share their work, their art and to worship. Likewise we will create educational facilities to advance Pagan religion, scholarship and culture.
The Pantheon Foundation will establish new and support existing Pagan media outlets. We will assist them with fundraising campaigns, developing organizational capacity, and see to their accounting and legal needs. We will also seek to advance Pagan journalistic quality. One such important Pagan media outlet which we plan to support is The Wild Hunt news blog. The Foundation will also publish works generated by grant-receiving scholars and other supported research projects or other documents of interest to the Pagan community, such as the many ancient untranslated Pagan texts.
In addition to educational conferences, the Pantheon Foundation will sponsor religious observances and cultural festivals, and such other events as support of the Foundation’s religious, educational, cultural, and social welfare mission.
Social Justice Advocacy
The Pantheon Foundation will engage in social justice advocacy similar to the Lady Liberty Headstone Project which lobbied the Veterans Administration so that Pagan Military Dead could be buried with headstones marked with Pagan religious symbols. The Foundation will also provide relief and legal services to Pagans facing discrimination by the State and in the Justice system. One example of this kind of work is the case of the Maetreum of Cybele, a monastic Pagan community in Catskill, New York, that was seeking religious property tax exemptions and faced discrimination.
The Pantheon Foundation will support the social welfare needs of Pagans by establishing resources and facilities to care for Pagan ill and elderly. One such planned project of the Foundation is the Tara Webster Memorial Hospice & Care Fund, which will collect and provide funding to caregivers serving the invalid and dying in the Pagan community in need of hospice care or in home support due to medical needs.
The work is just beginning.