Why the “Story Week” Literary Festival is Winning So Many Grants

Latino causes have been gaining a lot of steam with Chicago funders these days, especially causes that bridge gaps in English literacy and student performance. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that a Latino-targeted literary festival would be collecting grant money from a variety of sources.
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Historic $50 Million Gift to University of Michigan Creative Writing Program from Helen Zell

The largest gift in the history of the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts was recently donated by Helen Zell, wife of famous billionaire investor Sam Zell, and Executive Director of Zell Family Foundation. The $50 million gift was made through the foundation in support of the University's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, which it will permanently fund.
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Sherwood Anderson Foundation Awards $15,000 for Developing Writers

The Sherwood Anderson Foundation Grants are among the highest available for early-career professional fiction writers. They are available for authors with at least one but not more than two books of published fiction (non-self-published). In 2012 they awarded $15,000 to Katherine Min, also a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.

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Help for D.C. Writers from the Writer's Center

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.

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New York Foundation for the Arts Wants to Help NY Writers

The 94 fellowships that are given out each year to New York artists, writers, filmmakers, and others through the New York Foundation for the Arts' Artist Fellowship Program are only a fraction of the support the organization gives to New York-based creatives. In 2012, 18 of the $7,000 fellowships were granted to New York area writers alone. And what's great about these gifts is that they are given without restriction on what they're used for. But that's just a sample of what NYFA offers.

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On the Road with the Kerouac Project's Residency Program

Not many people are aware that famed author Jack Kerouac was living in a tiny cottage in Orlando, FL with his mother when On the Road was first published to worldwide acclaim. After an article appeared in the Orlando Sentinel in 1997 detailing this fact, a pair of local bookstore owners decided to purchase the house and start a nonprofit. Today the Kerouac Project offers four residencies and a small stipend each year in the house where Dharma Bums was also put to paper.

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There's More to the Poetry Foundation than the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

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.

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American Academy of Arts and Letters Has an Awards List as Long as Your Arm

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.

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The Elizabeth George Foundation Gives a Leg Up to Struggling Writers and Disadvantaged Youth

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.

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The Poetry Foundation's Under-the-Radar Gifts

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.

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Andy Warhol Foundation Supports Art Writers

The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts is clear in one of its many messages: "writers should be well paid." By writers, the foundation means all writers, both emerging and established, "whose work addresses contemporary visual art." Now, let's just pause to say the obvious: Not a lot of foundations out there are supporting art writers. The federal food stamps program probably provides more support to arts writers than the foundation sector.

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