A Vision for Quakers in the 21st Century


Imagine a world where people log onto the internet seeking spiritual refreshment and deep connection, and they find it.

Dear Friends,

I’m inviting you to help launch a groundbreaking new online venture: Thee Quaker Project.

The 21st century has brought challenges and opportunities for the Religious Society of Friends that our spiritual ancestors couldn’t have imagined. Let’s now look to the next generation of Friends, innovate the way we tell our stories, and ensure that the torchlight of the Religious Society of Friends stays strong and visible, even and especially through times of upheaval.

Imagine the fire of fearlessly faithful Friends spreading through modern media technology and sparking a revolution of inward listening.

Thee Quaker Project builds on my 15 years of experience lifting up the stories of Friends as the founding director of the QuakerSpeak video project and as a touring Quaker songwriter. During that time, I’ve watched over 4 million new eyes discover the Religious Society of Friends. I’ve observed a broad hunger for the unique stories Quakers have to tell and the profoundly memorable way we tell them.

At its most fundamental level, this project is an opportunity for us to stand back and recognize that we’re living in a new era–one in which the public dialogue has moved online, for better or worse. As Friends have done many times in the past, we are invited to ask ourselves: what does the world need from us right now? What seeds will we plant to call forth the next generation of faithful, courageous seekers?

What happens when stories of spiritual conviction–shared from a deeply inspired place–catch fire and get shared around the world?

First, we need to invest. We are living through a revolution in communication technology. Revolutions are times of tremendous upheaval, and tremendous opportunity. It is past time for a 21st century Quaker organization with the skills and strategies required to address the challenges and opportunities of the modern world; an organization which is responsive to the ever-changing world of digital communications.

Second, we need to innovate. As the project reaches hundreds of thousands of new people, we are in a unique position to build a broad base of support and establish a new approach to funding our Quaker organizations. This new funding model is well established in the world of online content creators, and only requires the seed capital to set it on the path to sustainability.

What happens when we empower the next generation of spiritual seekers to sink into that clarifying silence and emerge, raising their voices with the conviction of what’s possible?

It’s a bold new idea, and one that I can’t do alone. That’s why I’m inviting you to join the growing coalition of Friends supporting this dream. Together we contribute our time, our financial resources, our expertise, and our spiritual energy to building a new future–for the Religious Society of Friends, and for all of us.

in peace
Jon Watts

P.S. Thanks to the generosity of several major granting organizations and private donors, we have already raised $75k! Will you help us raise the last $50k and reach our startup goal of $125k by the end of the year?

Jon Watts

Jon Watts, Executive Director

After years of traveling among Friends as a singer-songwriter, Jon Watts followed a leading in 2013 to start a Quaker YouTube channel. For 6 years, he interviewed Quakers and released a video every week, answering some of the hardest questions about our faith. To date the project has 4.6 million views (that’s 11 times the number of Quakers globally!)

Now Jon has another big dream.