metanexusinstitute: annual reports

FY 2011-2012 Annual Report

In November 2011, Metanexus launched its new website rebuilt from the bottom up in Drupal. This was the culmination of twelve months work. In January 2012 we began publishing a weekly e-newsletter under the tagline “Exploring Big History, Solving Big Problems, Debating Big Questions.” There are approximately 9000 subscribers to the e-newsletter.

The website and newsletter features original essays, books, aggregated content, and digital art exhibitions. During this time frame, Metanexus also began actively using social media—Facebook, Twitter, and Google+—where we have a growing readership. The website received 229,049 unique visitors and 438,716 during FY 2011-2012.

Metanexus hosted several living room salons in New York City for Ursula Goodenough, V.V. Raman, and George Ellis.

Our major activity was planning for “One Day Universe: Visualizing Big History: A Celebration of Science from the Big Bang to the 21st Century.” The inaugural event will be held on September 21, 2013 at Liberty Science Center in New Jersey and is designed to be replicated at colleges and universities. See OneDayUniverse.org for more information.

FY 2010-2011 Annual Report

In FY 2010-2011, Metanexus Institute continued to publish its online journal, even as we began a lengthy process of redesigning and porting the website into Drupal in order to upgrade the content management system and reduce the carrying costs.

During this period, we also completed the process of moving all of our operations into the Internet Cloud, reducing costs and improving services. See http://philanthropy.com/article/How-a-Small-Group-Saved/126404/

In October of 2010, we hosted David Christian from Macquarie University in Sidney, Australia for a series of lectures on Big History at the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and Villanova University.

In November 2010, William Grassie’s book, The New Sciences of Religion, was published by Palgrave Macmillan to critical acclaim.

In February 2011, Metanexus published a collection of sixteen essays entitled H+/- Transhumanism and Its Critics.

Over the spring and summer, we were also busy editing and producing a book by Metanexus Senior Fellow, V.V. Raman, entitled Indic Visions in an Age of Science, which appeared in print in October 2011.

In May 2011 we hosted a living room salon in New York City with Evan Hadingham, Senior Science Editor for NOVA.

Metanexus continued a process of reorganization. The board deliberated on the future of the organization, its mission, and its means. New board members were elected, a number of board members stepped down, the bylaws were revised, and the official name of the organization was shortened to simply “Metanexus Institute.”  A new mission statement was adopted:

Metanexus promotes scientifically rigorous and philosophically open-ended explorations of foundational questions. Metanexus publishes an online journal and hosts events designed to promote the exchange of innovative and transformational ideas. Metanexus believes that this integrative and exploratory approach is vital to our future wellbeing at this unique moment in the natural history of our planet and the cultural evolution of our species.

The board of Metanexus also decided to grant 20 percent of our cash assets to Chestnut Hill College, where former board member Kathleen Duffy will set up the Institute on Religion and Science at Chestnut Hill College to continue the Philadelphia regional work pioneered by Metanexus. A celebratory event was held in May 2011 at Chestnut Hill College to mark this occasion.

In anticipation of closing our Philadelphia offices and operating henceforth out of New York City, Metanexus also registered as a non-profit in New York State. In order to further reduce expenses, we closed the Philadelphia office in June 2011 and sadly laid off the remaining staff -- Elizabeth Kenny, Joe Monaco, and Erica Vinskie.

Throughout this period, Metanexus continued to publish its online journal, even as we made plans to completely overhaul the website, rebuilding it in Drupal, as a step in reducing the carrying costs and improving the product. In the FY 2010-2011, our website had 219,589 visitors from 209 countries for a total of 370,717 page views.

With the help of contributing editors Marc Kaufman and Heather Wax in Boston, web designer Stephen Hopkins in Long Island, and the Drupal development team at Zivtech in Philadelphia, we worked throughout the spring and summer in redesigning and rebuilding the institute’s website, set to launch in November 2011. Former employee Julia Loving from Pennsylvania has also returned as a contributing editor for the new publication which operates under the banner BIG History | BIG Problems | BIG Questions.

We have great hopes for the new website and ambitious plans for the future. Our unofficial motto is taken from Walt Kelly’s cartoon character Pogo, who pronounced that “we are faced with insurmountable opportunities.”

FY 2009-2010 Annual Report

In 2009, Metanexus published ten issues of its online journal. The website had 264,533 visits (average of 730 per day) from 212 countries totaling 557,838 page views (average of 1541 per day). 65 percent of our visits resulted from Internet searches. 18 percent from direct access and 15 percent from referring sites.

The Metanexus 2009 Conference was held July 18 – 21 at the Mission Palms Hotel on the campus of the Arizona State University. Two hundred people attended, including two-dozen international participants. The theme of this year’s conference was “Cosmos, Nature, and Culture.” In addition to a dozen keynote speakers and panels, Metanexus hosted a call-for-papers resulting in one hundred fifty proposals from which forty were selected by anonymous peer review. For details, go to http://www.metanexus.net/conference2009.

The 2009-2010 Metanexus Senior Fellow is Philip Clayton, a world-renowned philosopher from the Claremont School of Theology. Clayton gave his first series of lectures in Phoenix, AZ in October. In May 2010, he gave a series of lectures in Philadelphia. Metanexus also hosted a lecture series by members of its Board at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.

In the fall of 2009 lectures were given by Ed Devinney and David Hufford. In 2010 as part of this series “Science and Spirit,” lectures were given by William Grassie, Peter Dodson, and Kathleen Duffy.

The John Templeton Foundation decision to terminate the MGNI program resulted in a significant loss of revenue for Metanexus and necessitated a reorganization. In November 2009, the Board appointed William Grassie as “Acting Executive Director” and elected Eric Weislogel, President of the Board, replacing Ed Devinney, who was on leave during the spring semester.

Grassie, the founder and previous executive director, set about a process of reducing expenses, preserving and repurposing assets, and promoting a new initiative on “Big History.” A number of staff were laid off or left of their own accord. Metanexus also cancelled its 2010 annual conference. We moved all of its operations into the Internet cloud, resulting in further reductions in expenses. In July 2010, we also relocated from Bryn Mawr to Center City Philadelphia.

In July 2010, Eric Weislogel resigned as president of the Board and Ed Devinney returned to take on those duties.

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