Giving Tuesday: Speculative Literature Foundation
Why support a non-profit arts organization for science fiction and fantasy literature?
1. Arts organizations give grants and other support to help writers create the best writing possible, without having to consider the desires of the marketplace. Publishers often hesitate to publish writing when:
a) the work is innovative or unusual
b) it is hard to categorize in terms of genre
c) its author comes from an underrepresented and/or underprivileged group (and therefore faces additional barriers to publication)
d) it may not have mass market appeal (but still be brilliant and awesome)
2. Arts organizations overall have been hard hit by the recession and austerity measures; art is often seen as a luxury, and artist support as something that can be dispensed with in tough times. Yet art is often what sustains us in times of trouble; it is crucial to support great literature, which offers insight into our contemporary lives, visions of other ways of living, and hope for our possible futures.
3. The SLF supports SF/F literature specifically, because it is still often difficult for genre writers to be taken seriously in mainstream / literary fiction circles. We feel that there are many genre writers doing excellent work deserving of support, and we want to try to keep them from falling through the cracks of the literary arts world.
ABOUT THE SLF:
We support writers directly and substantially; we offer two grants currently (an $800 travel research grant and a $750 older writers' grant), and will be launching two new grants (a $750 class grant and a $500 diversity grant) in the next few months.
Since we launched in 2004, the SLF has distributed over $20,000 in grants and awards directly to writers. We've also served as fiscal agent for various genre arts organizations, such as the Odyssey Writing Workshops and FogCon, making donations to them tax-deductible as well.
We also offer a comprehensive resource website, with a wide range of information for writers, readers, editors, and academics -- everything from the basics of book and magazine production to listings of conventions and magazines, to syllabi for teaching SF/F, to grant listings and much more. Other programs we've offered in the past include the small press co-operative and our new writer mentorship program.
The SLF is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your donation is entirely tax-deductible. Our staff has been volunteer so far, although we do reserve the right to possibly hire people in the future, to support larger projects we may develop. But at the moment, 95% of funds donated are direct grants to writers. (The remaining percentage covers website hosting costs, tax filing costs, incorporation costs, etc.)
WAYS TO SUPPORT OUR WORK:
If you're interested in supporting the SLF's projects, there are a few different ways you can do so:
a) Donate (http://www.speculativeliterature.org/About/donations.php) directly to our general operating funds. Any amount is welcome! This type of donation is simplest for us, and frees us to develop future programs. (We've been talking about adding a young writers' grant, for example.) Donate $50 or more, and you become a member of the SLF for 2014, and will receive, if you desire, a spiffy enameled blue and white SLF pin, suitable for pinning to your tie or convention badge.
b) Donate to support a specific grant we currently offer; if your heart lies with the travel grant, for example, you can have us earmark your funds to support that grant.
c) Donate to develop a new grant. For this option, you'd need to talk to me in more detail to discuss what grant you'd be interested in having us offer; we would ask for at least a $1500 initial commitment, so that we could offer at least three years of $500 grants minimum, and of course, the grant would need to be something we felt would be appropriate to the SLF's mission and goals.
d) Volunteer with the SLF. We have a variety of projects currently running, and more we hope to develop. If you're interested in volunteering with us, please drop me a line with a brief paragraph about you and your particular interests. We have a core of committed volunteers who keep our projects running, but more hands make light work, and are very welcome.
To donate to the general fund, go here: http://www.speculativeliterature.org/About/donations.php For more information, to donate more specifically, or to volunteer, please contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking the time to read this; I know at this time of year, there are a lot of organizations asking for your help, and I hope you'll consider supporting the Speculative Literature Foundation.
Mary Anne Mohanraj
Executive Director, SLF