On December 15, 2008, Project Reality closed its doors and merged with the Abstinence and Education Marriage Partnership, combining the people and resources of two abstinence-only-until-marriage industry leaders. Scott Phelps, the founder of A & E Marriage Partnership and co-author of three of the most popular abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, A.C. Green’s Game Plan, Aspire: Live your life. Be free. and Navigator. will run the new operation.
Project Reality, based in Glenview, was one of the oldest abstinence-only-until-marriage industry leaders nationwide, distributing some of the earliest fear-based abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula such as Facing Reality as well as some of the more recently popular curricula such as Phelps’s Game Plan and Navigator.
Most of Project Reality’s funding came from state and federal government grants such as $1 million dollars of direct state revenues. In fact, in 2007 99 percent of the organization’s funding came from the state and federal government.[i] In 2008, Project Reality received $81,560 in Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage sub-grant funding from Illinois. In the same year, Project Reality’s Community- Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grant ended, eliminating 38 percent of the organization’s funding.[ii]
Phelps got his start in Chicagoland crisis pregnancy centers. After authoring abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula for Project Reality, he became a nationally recognized speaker on the subject and created the A&M Education Partnership.
Phelps also helped to created the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA), the lobbying arm of the abstinence-only-until-marriage industry. Among other activities, the NAEA creates misinformation campaigns about the content and effectiveness of comprehensive sexuality education programs.[iii]
The A & M Education Partnership will continue to distribute all three abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, which are used in at least 15 states.
“The merger of these two purveyors of failed programs shows the marketplace has shrunk. It is clear that abstinence-only-until-marriage industry leaders see the writing on the wall and realize that the future federal funding is increasingly questionable,” said William Smith, the vice president for public policy at SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. “We look forward to working with Congress and the incoming Obama Administration to bring an end to government funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and to begin to fund evidenced-based prevention programs that will really work.”
[i] Project Reality, IRS 990 Form, Fiscal Year 2007, p.1.
[ii] Project Reality doing business as Committee on the Status of Women, IRS 990 Form, Fiscal Year 2007, page 1.