Monday, January 4, 2010

Writers Emergency Assistance Fund

Happy New Year everyone! Over the last few weeks, Michelle, Scott, and I have been deliberating over the Genre Wars contest entries. We have several very strong entries, and as of yet we haven't been able to agree on the Grand Prize Winner. We'll be announcing the winners, along with several other anthology selections on our 1 yr anniversary, January 7th. So, I hope you'll stop by and congratulate everyone.

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 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

And consider joining our fundraising blogathon, to spread the word about WEAF, as bestselling author Alisa Bowman does here: Send the URL of your blog post to, 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!


  1. What a great organization! Thank you for spreading the word.

  2. Davin, thanks for posting this. This one strikes me as a great place we could send proceeds.

  3. T. Anne, Michelle was actually the one to dig up WEAF, so we should thank her! They've been very kind in their correspondence.

    Michelle, I do think this is a great organization. :)

  4. Applications have soared 500%! Wow. Another great organization.

  5. I also think that WEAF is a wonderful organization. People who make their livings by writing are often in precarious financial situations. The arts in general is a hard way to live, so I'm glad there are groups like this.

  6. Truly a worthy organization. Good choice, guys.

  7. I have never heard of the organization. Thanks for the info!

  8. Yat-Yee, Yes, that's a pretty sad increas, isn't it? I'm sure they are having trouble keeping up.

    Scott, I was glad Michelle found this. I had actually considered organizing something like this a couple of years ago. It was going to be called the Granum fund, and of course it would include fiction writers too. Maybe we can still do that sometime down the road.

    Thanks, Tricia!

    Faith Imagined, You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Davin, this is a wonderful group. I would love to make a donation myself. I have copied down the URL.

    And of course I'll help with the spreading of the word. Thank you Davin. What a heartwarming post. :0)

  10. Robyn,
    I'm sure they would really appreciation! That's very kind of you!

  11. This sounds like a great choice. It's nearly impossible to make a living solely as a writer nowadays which is a very sad thing. How do we ever reach our full potential if we can't devote ourselves full time to our passion?

    And with that in mind, thanks for all you do and for bringing this to our attention.

    And . . . can't wait for the 7th!

  12. It sounds like a worthy place to send funds.

  13. Davin, Robyn sent me here. I'll go to the next site and check it out!


  14. Thanks for sharing this Davin. I was touched by their generosity.


  15. Yvonne, it does seem impossible sometimes, doesn't it? We have to be our best without being able to give writing the majority of our time. It can be frustrating.

    Lois, I think this group seems very organized and hard-working indeed.

    Patti, thanks a lot for stopping by!

    Donna, I'm glad you like WEAF. It seems like a great organization. :)

  16. This is such a great organization. I'm so glad you found something charity based that also targetted writers. It really hits home. Thanks for sharing this!

  17. I just tweeted your post. Great organization. Hope the anthology does well.

  18. Likewise - I've just reTweeted (I guess that's to be considered a verb, nowdays, right?) your piece.

    Good luck with it!

    Great site here and a worthwhile idea to boot!

    All the best,



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