Felix Adler, the founder of Ethical Culture, created the first Ethical Society in New York City in 1876. Over the next 13 years, societies were formed in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Chicago. In 1889, these four societies cooperated to form the American Ethical Union.
What is our relationship to the AEU?
We are a member of the American Ethical Union, our federating organization. They are responsible for training our Ethical Culture Leaders. All Ethical Societies, including the PES, are required to donate financially to keep the AEU going.
What does the AEU do?
- Ensures that any group using the names “Ethical Culture”, “Ethical Humanism,” or “Ethical Society” are not misrepresenting those terms.
- Trains and certifies our Ethical Culture Leaders. Regarding branding and training, the AEU is in charge. Beyond that, however, the PES has considerable leeway to make its own decisions.
- Hosts an annual meeting of Ethical Societies across the country, to which the PES sends representatives. At this meeting we discuss AEU business (budget, agenda, planning), social justice issues, organizational growth tools and strategy, and other items depending on the year’s particular circumstances.
- Coordinates three national conferences: the YES for youth, the FES for young adults, and another for ethical education.
- Coordinates nationwide efforts to contribute to society at large.
- Maintains an Ethical Humanist presence in social media.
- Represents Ethical Humanism on the boards of the Humanist Institute, Institute for Humanist Studies, the Secular Coalition for America, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.