#1 Considerable IMPACT
"The Writer's Garret delivers more 'bang for the buck' than any arts organization we know."
-- Actual quote made to our board from an independent outside auditor that has worked with MANY nonprofits all over DFW
Since our founding we have put over 1000 writers and their works in touch with over 2 MILLION readers, audience members, educators, young people, and their families. We do this through innovative and meaningful educational projects and programs for children and youth, families, educators, readers, and writers.
#2 Many STORIES to TELL
Did you hear the one about about the lovely young Latina attending Woodrow Wilson High School who raised money to become the first in her family to attend college because our after-school program inspired her to want to become a writer? How about the one where a second grader recited all of his poems aloud because he didn't know how to read or write (and so two of our instructors stayed FOR FREE after school to tutor him--and a few of his friends who also came out of the woodwork once they saw how much he was learning)? Or how about any of these amazing young people we met living under Child Protective Services who adopted pseudonyms so that they could recite their stories and poems on-line (click here to listen to these amazing voices). These are just a few of our stories. Want more? Do you have all day? All week? SO MANY.
#3 RESILIENCE in Tough Times
Beginning in 1994 we penny and nickled our way along, until by 2008 we had 4 full-time staff, a diverse income base, and cash budget of almost $350,000, and directly serving--get this--over 6500 young people in SIX school districts (and we'd worked in more than half the schools in DISD). And then the economy tanked. We managed to stay afloat through the 2009 death of our co-founder, Jack Myers, and the 2012 near-fatal accident of our executive director; but by the middle 0f last year, for the first time in over a decade, we finished in the red, and our budget was a mere third of what it had been just four years earlier. We laid off everyone except for the E.D. and one part-time support staffer. BUT, through hard work, innovation, community commitment, and (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help now) your financial support, we are "back in black," thrusting forward with new, exciting projects that we expect to be fully sustainable in just a few years, and which will put us ahead of the curve.
#4 INTEGRITY with Honors
As supporters of LITERATURE (with a capital "L"), we are supporters of TRUTH. We are transparent, hard-working, and accessible. Our financials, programs, on-line presence, mission, and goals are open to the public for viewing. In our nearly 15 years of working with an outside independent auditor, we've never received a management letter advising us of problems, and, in fact, are always lauded for being so "clean." We have received 17 awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) --nearly one for every year of our existence (who else can make that claim?), and we were the ONLY arts agency in the entire Southwest profiled in the NEA's "Guide to the Arts in Education." Lastly, we have many wonderful and highly regarded partners who would not have worked with us all these years if we were anything less than what we claim.
#5 IMPORTANT & Essential Work
Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz declared that literature is as important as the water we drink and the bread we eat, which may also be why we tend to take it for granted. Humans are a language-bearing species. Birds fly. Fish swim. We speak, tell stories, write, and read. THIS is what defines us. What connects us. So, if that all seems a little fuzzy and too lofty, try these factoids on for size:
- Poor reading, writing, and communication skills have been the #1 expense for businesses in the U.S. for more than 10 years, costing the U.S. business sector BILLIONS each year.
- Poor reading and writing skills have been cited as the #1 cause for why kids drop out of school, as it negatively impacts all subjects (including math, according to a recent study); poor reading and writing have also been linked to self-esteem issues, impoverished leadership skills, juvenile crime, and an inability to think critically and strategically.
- People with serious health issues, including cancer, have shown significant improvements in clinical studies where creative / self-expressive writing has been used in treatment.
- People who read and write regularly, and skillfully, are more involved in civic projects, volunteerism, and philanthropy, and they are--across the board--more economically successful.
- The Writer's Garret's educational programs have shown "statistically significant" increases in grades and test scores as per a study by Shane Hall, Ph.D., former evaluator for DISD.
- A 2012 Emory College neurological study covered in The New York Times article, "Your Brain on Fiction," describes how literature / creative writing augments bad "real life" experiences with empathy and understanding, physiologically impacting brains and improving readers' minds, thinking strategies, and attitudes.
- And there's SO much more...!
Economy. Education. Health. Human services. What we do is NOT essential services? We beg to differ.
#6 SUPPORT of TEXAS Letters & Art
Since our inception in 1994, we have leveraged more than $1,000,000 in direct honoraria and promotional support of writers and their books. Our literary magazine (in partnership with the Today Foundation), TEX
, had the largest circulation in the entire U.S., spreading Texas writing and visual art to over a million readers in three states. We've also trained, promoted, and worked closely with numerous local writers who have gone on to cinch book deals (James Halperin, Cristina Henriquez, Drema Berkheimer, Bernestine Singley, Susannah Charleson, Julianne McCullagh, Charles Kesler, Michael Grabell, Patricia Falvey, Dallie Clark--just to name a few).
#7 UNIQUE, While Filling a Niche
There are more than 60 literary centers in the country (and three in Texas), but we are the only full service, year-round, open to the public, literary center serving North Texas, dedicated to the mission "to foster the education and development of readers, writers, and audiences by putting them in touch with quality literature, each other, and the communities in which they live and write."
#8 COMMUNITY-Based QUALITY
We are ALL about building a literary and literate community, whether in our neighborhoods, on-line, on the radio, inside libraries, in a school or community forum. Our Writers' Community and Mentorship Project (CAMP) brings writers together for this very purpose, to help one another, to reach out to readers, and to give back to the "communities in which they live and write." If these writers can't afford the classes, we help them develop a professional development track to provide services for kids and outreach into the neighborhoods to bring quality literary programming to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
Our programs rival the quality of more moneyed universities, having brought to Texas audiences Umberto Eco, Alice Walker, Junot Diaz, Barbara Kingsolver, Maxine Hong Kingston, Galway Kinnell, Julia Alvarez (three times), and MANY others.
#9 PIONEERING Field Leader
When we began back in 1994, Dallas-Fort Worth had almost no readings for local or touring writers; no writers teaching in schools; no creative writing for seniors, runaway teens, or folks facing serious health issues; no on-line publishing. There weren't even any nonprofits fully dedicated to the art of literature. The Texas Commission on the Arts famously said, "Literature stops in Austin." But then The Writer's Garret was born, and here we are in 2013, and all of these things are flourishing. It is now time to reinvent ourselves and again move ahead of the pack by integrating mentoring into creative writing programs, building up local publishing, serving as a fiscal sponsor and partner to developing literary projects, and finding the most effective use of changing technologies to spread the word to the greatest number of people.
#10 TIMELY Efforts
With the economy still blipping under the radar, an aging population,traditional family structures imploding, education on the skids, and technology speeding up our lives, literature keeps one finger on culture's pulse while another points the way for us to go. The Writer's Garret is Dallas's guardian of this most essential and visionary of art forms. Literature connects all of our stories through the miracle of language, gives meaning to almost indecipherable feelings, provides skills for social and economic improvement, makes education possible, and heals bodies and souls.
And we do all of this for SO VERY LITTLE. Operas, symphonies, even musicals need stages, sets, orchestras, and more just to reach a house audience. But literature, through a book, a story, a poem, a teleplay, a webcast can reach millions with a relatively small financial investment. One full season of the Writers Studio (and we've had five)--on an initial broadcast--reaches almost 90,000 listeners for less than 40 cents a person.
We also work DIRECTLY with kids a
nd families, runaway teens, folks whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer, seniors and their grandchildren--recording the human story for all of us living now and for those yet to come. No one else in Dallas serves the language arts with as much "bang for the buck."
PLEASE HELP US MAKE YOUR HARD-EARNED DOLLAR GO FAR. GET UP AND GIVE TO THE WRITER'S GARRET THROUGH NORTH TEXAS GIVING DAY-- RIGHT HERE, THIS
THURSDAY, TOMORROW FROM 6 a.m. - MIDNIGHT.
5 easy steps to donate:
1. Wake up Thursday, September 17th
2. Log on to your computer between 6 a.m. and midnight
4. Make a donation of at least $25 (NOTE: Memberships are only $45, good for a full year, and 100% tax-deductible as per our audit firm.)
5. Feel EXCELLENT about yourself! You DID GOOD!!!!
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!
Click to read
about the following: