The first Ethical Society was founded in New York City in 1876, and from there spread across the United States. The Ethical Culture Society of Westchester was founded in 1921 and became a member of the American Ethical Union in 1929. Originally located in New Rochelle, the society moved to its present site in White Plains in 1963.

Members of our Society founded:

  • The Ethical Culture Society of Westchester Nursery School
  • The Guidance Center of Westchester (a behavioral healthcare organization)
  • Futura House (now Human Development Services of Westchester)

Other notable events:

  • In 1964 the first public meeting on the topic of legalizing abortion was held at the Meeting House with the urging of member Sylvia Bloom and the Women’s Conference.
  • Hosted Encampment for Citizenship
  • Hosted the first and the tenth Humanist Weekend events were held there
  • Joined other religious organizations offering shelter to the homeless as part of SHORE (Sheltering the Homeless is Our Responsibility)


Ethical Humanism in Action

We aim to inspire a positive approach to life and we encourage people to act in support of initiatives that will better the lives of everyone. Often we do this through partnerships with other groups who share our values and interests, sometimes we strike out on our own. As outreach to the wider community is at the heart of our mission we also strive to integrate the preparation, planning and celebration of these efforts into other aspects of our programs.


Recent outreach to the wider community includes:

  • A forum on Hydrofracking in New York
  • Public awareness meeting on Islamophobia
  • A “Pop Up Playground” event for children
  • An Environmental Fair featuring Colin Beavan (aka “No Impact Man”)