In the meantime, here is the third organization we are considering donating our anthology proceeds to: The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund, or WEAF. I had the honor of interviewing Lisa Collier Cool to find out more about this great organization.
LL: Can you tell us about the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund? What is your mission, and how did you get started?
LCC: The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund (WEAF) is a registered 501(c)(3) charity run by American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). Its mission is to help established freelance nonfiction writers who face financial hardship due to illness, disability, old age, natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis. Writers need not be members of ASJA to qualify for grants. WEAF doesn't fund writing projects of any kind.
WEAF was launched in 1982 with donations from members of ASJA, plus matching funds from Readers Digest. We're writers helping writers, with small grants that can make a big difference, as the thank-you notes we receive attest. One grant recipient wrote, "When I applied, I faced literally being on the streets. Whew! I'd better get back to work to make sure that eventuality doesn't recur. Thanks!"
LL: With the economic downturn, a fund like yours seem to be more important than ever. Has the number of applicants increased since the recession began?
LCC: Applications have soared by 500%, compared to previous years. As a result, we're giving out considerably more money in grants than we are receiving in donations--a trend we can't sustain for long. Other writers' funds are also hard hit: We've heard that two have temporarily stopped giving grants because their budgets are exhausted.
That's why WEAF urgently needs your help. Consider sharing a bit of your better luck by making a tax-deductible donation at http://www.weaf.
org. We also accept monthly pledges, charged to your credit card over the coming year. As little as $5 or $10 a month can help preserve this crucial safety net for needy professional writers. For many applicants, the Fund is their last hope for help.
LL: Can you tell us about some of your success stories?
A young essayist, a double amputee, once nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, had poorly fitting artificial legs, making movement painful and damaging to his health. Our assistance literally got him back on his feet, with new prosthetic limbs, so he could get on with the business of his life--writing.
A 72-year-old leukemia survivor, a writer with 33 books to his credit, faced eviction after months of medical problems and delayed book royalties left him virtually destitute. Our grant lifted the threat of homelessness.
A single mom, a widely published magazine writer, feared foreclosure and cutoff of her utilities after her son's potentially life-threatening illness exhausted her savings. Our grant helped keep the lights on and the little boy in his home during his recovery, easing the mom's financial stress until she was able to resume writing.
LL: Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about your group?
To learn more about the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund, make a donation, or download a grant application, go to http://www.weaf.org.
And consider joining our fundraising blogathon, to spread the word about WEAF, as bestselling author Alisa Bowman does here: http://www.
projecthappilyeverafter.com/. Send the URL of your blog post to WEAFHelp@gmail.com, and we'll post it on our site. Thanks for anything you can do to help keep WEAF strong and compassionate during tough times for writers! 2009/12/help-a-needy-writer/