Washington, D.C. based Writer's Center has been in operation since 1976 with a goal of cultivating "the creation, publication, presentation, and dissemination of literary work" with the belief that "the craft of writing is open to people of all backgrounds and ages." They are an independent 501 (c) (3) nonprofit with global connections that offer an assortment of fellowships, scholarships, and prizes to writers living in the D.C. area and beyond.
If you're a poet, the Holy Grail of poetry prizes and grants is of course the prestigious $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, administered by the historically renowned, Chicago-based Poetry Foundation. However, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize isn't the only cookie in the Poetry Foundation's cookie jar.
A quick perusal of the list of awards the American Academy of Arts and Letters bestows and one realizes they give recognition for more achievement than one may have realized. Currently they list 31 awards ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 with distinguished names like E.M. Forster, Thorton Wilder, and John Updike attached to each prize.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Award winning mystery writer and Northwest denizen Elizabeth George knows this, which is why she created the Elizabeth George Foundation to help unpublished and emerging fiction writers, poets, and playwrights and give them a leg up in the beginning stages of their careers. She also has a particular soft spot for organizations assisting disadvantaged youth in these areas, owing in part to her 13-year background in education.
The Poetry Foundation is by far one of the largest supporters of the art that gives it its name, but in addition to the marquee awards and prizes like the coveted Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lily Poetry Fellowships, and the Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain Awards, there are a number of other, under-the-radar gifts the organization gives that you may not have known about.